Thursday, 31 March 2011

Thursday photos


Not long until the end of daylight savings - then I'll have a month or so of riding with a bit of light in the morning. Not sure what the above photo is supposed to be of - might be an accidental shot.

Our $175 million white elephant bridge, nicely lit up in the pre-dawn light.

The state election was last weekend - the Liberals (conservatives) won with a massive landslide. The socialist Labor party were totally destroyed. The local Labor candidate thought he was going to win - he ended up with 33% of the two party vote vs 66% for the Liberal. The swing was monstrous - 24%. And the Labor candidate was supposed to be the good candidate, after the sitting member got the boot for stuffing up some paperwork. If she'd stuck around, she might not have made it into double digits with the vote.

There are now plenty of people claiming that the proposed carbon tax had nothing to do with the vote. Well, I spent part of the day hobbling around the poorer end of our electorate (did my back in the day before voting) and the snippets of gossip that I picked up whilst standing in queues (in agony) indicated that it did have an impact on voting intentions - just not as big an impact as all the problems with Labor corruption, stupidity and wastefulness. It's like saying that the deep stab wounds in the body were less of a problem than the missing head.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Wednesday photos


I'm not getting up an earlier - the sun is getting up later and later. It's been a wee bit chilly before dawn this week - time to haul the undershirt out of the cupboard and give it a pre-winter wash. Nowhere near cold enough to need a second layer yet, but it's getting there.

The Sydney weather has been fickle of late - I'll start out dry, and then the rain will kick in about 10 minutes later. I'll arrive at work sodden, expecting a soaking trip home that afternoon only to face brilliant sunshine. The hairs on the legs do strange things in the rain - they don't flatten out. Rather, they stand up and then get windblown sideways - looking like some sort of weird blow dried semi-mullet. Enough of that.


I almost came to grief again this morning - this time it was a ninja cyclist riding in the poor light without benefit of lights or bright clothing. They assume that just because they can see the road, everyone else can see them. A head-on prang was narrowly avoided. Moronic cyclists are just as bad and dangerous as moronic motorists.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Getting angry with doors

video

Came within a whisker of being wiped out by a car door last week. Although the bloke had opened it a bit as I approached (and after reviewing the video, I thought I would have spotted that), he chucked it open just as I went level with his car. I had no time to react - brake or swerve. Either I was going to hit the door, or I wasn't.

I chucked a U-turn straight away and went back and had words with the driver. He claimed he'd looked "a second before", but that was complete rubbish. I think he cracked his door open, searched around for and then lit up a smoke, and then pushed the door open once it was alight. He didn't look.

I wasn't very happy with him. I called him a few rude names. Smashing into his door at 40km/h would not have been pleasant.

After the adrenaline wore off, I felt sick to the stomach - the shock kicking in I guess. It took a while before that feeling passed.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Fuss and bother

Better version of this here.


There was a bit of fuss last week about comments that some soldiers put up on Facebook.

I didn't see what the fuss was all about - they were the sort of things that we used to say when I was running around in a green suit. Some soldiers even manage to be a bit artistic about these things in this day and age:



From here and here.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Friday photos


To start with, two pretty pictures of The Bay at sunrise. Are you getting sick of these? I'm not. Before long, it will be cold and wet when I leave for work (rather than coolish and pleasantly dry), so I am making the most of it. I like how the water on the far side of the mud bank is almost perfectly, glassily still.


There's two pelicans in the water searching for breakfast.


I noted a few days ago that Verity Firth appears to have next to no support from individual householders in her electorate - there are plenty of signs up on power poles, but precious few in front yards. Scrap precious few - I have only seen two. This one in Lilyfield and another in Glebe. There are sure to be more out there (I haven't covered that much of her electorate), but the difference in the number of Labor signs in front yards between Balmain and Drummoyne is immense.


Speaking of which, here are two versions of Angelo's sign. The first is a recycled one from an earlier mayoral campaign (he's been mayor now for 8 years). The "Drummoyne" bit is actually a big sticker that's stuck over some other slogan - probably something about electing him as mayor. He certainly looks a lot younger in that photo. The "Labor" logo is part of the original poster though - even back then, he wasn't into advertising his affiliation with that party.

And here is the modern version - a bit more grey, a few more wrinkles (I know how that feels). If he fails to get up this weekend (the election is tomorrow), I wonder if he'll have another crack in four years time?

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Candidate actively avoids Labor brand

I always get a chuckle when I see Angelo's signs - especially since one of his main campaigners had a torrid time with ICAC last year. When his supporters claim that he is "one of us", what exactly do they mean? Which "us" is he linked with? The type of "us" that end up being grilled by ICAC investigators?

One thing Angelo doesn't want to be known as is the Labor candidate. Spotted these two posters outside a house on a major intersection. Some kind soul has come along and stuck a much bigger "Labor" sticker over the tiny little Labor logo. By the look of the stickers, panic has ensued and the householder has done their best to erase all linkages with Labor.


I think he has a reasonable chance in this area. Whilst Labor are on the nose, he's a fresh candidate with a great local profile. If anyone can win the seat, it's him. It will be interesting to see if his profile is enough to overcome the local Labor stench.

There's a stark difference between our electorate and Balmain when it comes to candidate's signage out the front of private houses. In our area, a lot of people support Angelo enough to have his mug in their front yard. I took a trip into Balmain and Glebe on the weekend - whilst there are a lot of Verity Firth posters up on power poles, I didn't see a single one in a front yard. Not one. Lot's of posters on poles shows she has an active campaign team running around nailing them up at night, but the lack of posters in front yards shows just how little grass roots support she's got compared to Angelo.

You are sick

Got a comment the other day where I was called a "sick cunt". Sorry if the language offends - it wasn't me that said it.

Doesn't offend me - been called that before.

Did an exercise back in 1986 or 1987 - middle of summer in WA. Our platoon went out in the afternoon sun, when it was about 40 in the shade, and spent a few hours doing practice attacks up a pile of rocks masquerading as a hill. Each section took turns to attack some gooks (as they were back then) dug in up the top.

The trouble with the plastic blank ammo that we used was that after you'd put a lot of it through the gun, it left a thick residue of gunk in the chamber and barrel, and when that started to smoke (from overheating), it let off a quite disgusting smoke.

Apart from the gun overheating, I also overheated. I got heatstroke. To top it off, on the last attack, I found myself in the middle of a large patch of broken glass. Not grass - glass. The glass and the rocks and the crawling around and the vibration from firing the gun all teamed up to slice me up nicely. Not enough to need stitches, but I had the sort of cuts and abrasions on my arms, legs and abdomen that I get these days from coming off the bike at 40km/h and sliding along the bitumen.

So there I am, sliced up and bleeding, half delirious with heat stroke and then I get a lung full of the yucky smoke from the gun. I start chundering. But the attack hasn't finished, and according to the DS, I haven't been shot, so I keep on going.

I was not in a good way when it was all over. In fact, I was fucked. Fucked enough to get stuffed into an ambulance and carted back to the RAP. The medics were ready for this sort of thing - there were old empty houses on the training range, and they'd raided one and nicked a bath tub. It was full of ice, and in I went.

As I was lying there cooling off, one of them was kind enough to give me some porn to look at.

The ice stopped the cuts from bleeding, but there was enough blood on me to turn the icy slush a nice pink colour. I'd also managed to throw up in front of myself whilst crawling, and then crawled through it. It had been hot all week, and I hadn't had a shower for a week. I was a yucky, stinky mess - typical infantryman really.

One of our old soldiers rolled up - one of our training staff. He'd been out with us. He'd done Malaya and been to Vietnam a few times. He was a tough old bastard - been there, done that etc etc.

He looked at me reading the porno in a tub of bloody ice.

Old digger: "How are you feeling, digger?"

Me: "Much better sir"

Old digger: "Will you be right to go out again today?" Medics start shaking their heads.

Me: "Absolutely sir".

Old digger: "Bike, you are a sick cunt. Possibly the sickest cunt I have seen all week. Keep it up."

Me: "Thank you sir!"

Coming from a bloke like that, that was high praise indeed.

------------

I've fixed up the spelling errors and linked to the comment. I type like crap at 0600 hrs - should stick to typing at night.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Wednesday photos


Now that the rain has gone, we're getting some lovely sunrises. I wasn't the only one out taking photos of the sunrise this morning - this bloke had a proper camera and was patient enough to wait around to get a great shot.


This is my over the shoulder photo trick - I point the camera backwards, rest the camera on my shoulder and hope for the best. Nice mudflats.


Going past Paddys Markets - not much action there at 0700.


We're in the final stretch now for the state elections - only a few days to go (must try and remember to vote early too). Just when we're almost free of election crap, along come the council elections. Here's three candidates for Sydney city council. The bloke at the back is from the Labor party - that tiny red blob in the bottom right hand corner says "Labor". Interesting that he's using a blue background, which is the traditional Liberal colour.

Monday, 21 March 2011

How do you defeat Gaddafi?

Fill Richard Sharpe full of beer - that's a good start.

The Daily Mail has lots and lots of stuff on the air strikes. If you look at the photos carefully, you'll see lots of blankets on the ground - Jeremy will be happy, as they are covering up the bodies of Gaddafi's soldiers. The Grauniad is less squeamish, allowing leftwing bloodthirsty warmongering babykillers to get their fill of slaughtered Gaddafi soldiers.

I'm interested to see how logistics plays out this time - Libya has 1770km of coast, and is the 17th largest country in the world. Logistics in Libya plagued the Germans and Allied forces in WWII - the battles see-sawed back and forth as each side ran out of supplies until Montgomery got a grip on things. I'm wondering how well Gaddafi's forces will do in eastern Libya once air power starts ripping up their very long supply lines.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Two opposing views of Battle LA

First, Samizdata:

I am not going to tell you much about it: only that it is one of the best SF movies I have seen in a long while and perhaps the best combat movie I have ever seen. The soldiers acted like soldiers. They were competently led by people who were very human and proud to be US Marines.

Go see it, and then tell all your friends about it.

Then David Stratton in the Aus:

The screenplay, credited to Chris Bertolini, is comprised of a quite remarkable collection of cliches, both in terms of plotting and dialogue. It could have been the work of an enthusiastic 12-year-old who has seen too many sci-fi movies, while the camerawork, which lurches drunkenly all over the place from start to finish, could have been the work of his hyperactive younger brother. Harsh words, I know, but Battle: Los Angeles represents everything I loathe about contemporary cinema in that it combines shallowness with ugliness in about equal proportions. It makes Independence Day look like Citizen Kane.

Watching this nonsense after seeing tragic television images of the destruction of Japan somehow made Battle: Los Angeles appear even more meretricious.

I'm going to go with the first review and do my best to see it at the movies. Stratton knows as much about soldiering as I know about ballet. If he hates it, it must be good.

Jermey the warmonger

Make up your mind Jeremy - are you a peace loving lefty or a warmonger?

I've read your post a couple of times - it's still not clear what it is you want. Be precise man. Spit it out.

I've told you what I'd like - strafing runs by A-10 warthogs firing 30mm depleted uranium shells at any and every armoured vehicle that's not on fire. Plus dropping cluster bombs on Gaddafi's artillery.

Doing that won't be pretty - here's a few graphic and nasty pictures to remind you of what happens when we start blowing the crap out of our enemies.


Dead tanks - lots of them. And just remember - most of those armoured vehicles probably had men in them when they were blown up. Now all they contain is dismembered men burnt beyond recognition.

I love it when lefties start calling for our governments to be violent against people they don't like. They complain about how much we spend on our military - right up until the moment when they want to use it. They call our soldiers cannon fodder and meat heads - right up until the moment when our boys are required to go into action to support a cause that they like. Or they call for our precious troops to come home from a war that they don't like, until the moment that they want them deployed somewhere they do like - and they say things like, "It doesn't matter if they die - they knew what they were signing up for".

And I really love it when the clueless ones with absolutely no military background whatsoever start calling for us to airdrop anti-tank weapons to the rebels - you know, the kind of missiles that trained soldiers require two weeks of intensive training on before they can fire one.

You got your wish Jeremy. The air strikes are going in now. How many people did you kill today, you bloodthirsty butcher?

PS - next time I see Gaddafi's silly head on TV, I'm hoping it will be on top of a pointy stick being carried by a rebel. See, I don't have a problem with deploying maximum, brutal force to remove this dickwad, and I don't mind if the road to his palace is carpeted with the bodies of his supporters. I know what it will take to get rid of him, and I don't resile from that.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

We refuse to become more efficient

Interesting story in the SMH today about "secret" cuts to education in NSW.

What interests me about the story is that it talks about cuts, but also talks about the education budget blowing out to $13.6 billion by next year if savings are not made.

So what they are saying is that the budget will still go up - just not by as much as it would have before some savings were made.

Apparently a failure to increase a budget by a large amount is now a "cut".

Here's my favourite paragraph:

One principal who chose not to volunteer for the trial said: ''The notion of devolving responsibility to principals is a deceit because in reality it is about making principals do much more with much less.''
Welcome to the real world, buddy. It's all about doing things more efficiently and effectively - that's what "doing more with less" is all about. It's about exploring better ways to do things - improving productivity and cutting wasted effort.

I'd start by sacking that useless tool. Any manager that doesn't see their role as including continuous improvement and the constant search for efficiencies is not a manager in my book. They're a blood sucking leech with a bottomless appetite for other people's money.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Friday photos


Left even earlier than usual this morning, and it was dark. So dark, I couldn't see the pot holes - thankfully, I know exactly where every one of them is. But it was so dark, the camera couldn't take a photo properly without a tripod. And I don't carry one of them with me.


Some people really puff and strain to get up them hills. I thought this poor woman was going to rupture something. Bikes like this are a great idea where it's flat, but the ramp up to the ANZAC Bridge from the city end is anything but flat. Taking this photo was bloody hard - you need both hands on the bars to provide as much leverage as possible when laying down the power to get up the ramp, and I had to slow down, take the photo, stow the camera and then power off again. Not going to try this again if I can help it.

I can't get over how skinny some blokes are. He's about half my width.

Useful idiots march for Gaddafi

The whackos of the Socialist Internationale must have been out in force in Newtown yesterday. A march against intervention against Gaddafi?

If they have a march in Melbourne, I wonder if Jeremy will attend?

I'd happily ship the lot of them to Libya where they could act as human shields.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Thursday photos


What day is it? Thursday? I'm losing track of time - half asleep tonight. Quite stuffed. These early morning starts are catching up with me.

No photos of The Bay lately - it's been too dark, cloudy and gloomy on my arrival to warrant a photo. All you'd see is grey on grey on grey. Sometimes that can be interesting, but not this week.

What gets me is how many cyclists ride around in this Stygian gloom without benefit of lights or reflective clothing. They do their best to dress like Ninjas - which is fine if you're trying to sneak up on someone to assassinate them, but pretty silly when you're doing your best to avoid being smeared by a car.


Single speed bikes were two-a-penny this week. These blokes really go for the minimalist look. It's a nice ethic to have, but I still think it would be sensible to attach a light fore and aft when riding before sun up. They also have the funniest looking handlebars -really odd shapes. I'm sure they're great on a track, but not so sure they're that comfortable on a daily commute. Ah well, it takes all sorts.


Radiation prediction

More Australians will die from cancers caused solar radiation (skin cancer) over the next month than Japanese will die over the next year from cancers from the nuclear reactor problems.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Smokers - a new reason to hate them

Disclaimer - I used to be a smoker. Gave up over 20 years ago. Well, apart from the odd ciggie when I'd get on the turps - but eventually, I even gave up that nasty little habit.

Was riding home last week. A ute went past (two tradesmen inside) and the first thing I noticed was that it reeked of dope. There's enough idiots on the road without stoned idiots being added into the mix.

The ute had a small case of the wobbles - the driver was having a hard time keeping a straight line. It had to slow down, and I went past.

Next time it passed me, the passenger flicked his butt in my general direction. Nearly hit me in the face. I don't think it was deliberate - I think he was too bombed to realise what he was doing.

Fuckers.

They're not as bad as the parrots though. My trip to work takes me under a stretch of wattle trees, and the parrots are going nuts in them at the moment. Twice last week a bit of wattle was dropped by a feeding parrot, with the wattle slamming into my cheek just below my eye. Good thing I always, always wear protective glasses. Those bloody parrots - I swear they're out to get me.

NAPLAN vs school funding


I have lost count of the number of times I've been told that the key to improving the education of the "disadvantaged" is more money. I wonder about that - can more money convince feckless parents to read to their kids before bedtime? Can more money convince useless parents to force their kids to do their homework and do some study every night?

Now that I have more data, I've updated my graphs on school funding vs NAPLAN scores in grades 3 and 5. The R-squared results are low 0.32 to 0.35, so there's stuff all correlation between NAPLAN results in those years and how much money is stuffed into a school.

Notice that the line slopes down though - the less funding a school gets, the better its NAPLAN score tends to be. That shows that schools with low NAPLAN numbers are getting more money - the big question is whether they are putting it to good use. What's the point of giving them more money if all they do is piss it up against the wall? By that, I really mean the parents pissing it up against the wall. A school and its teachers can only do so much. Parents have to do their bit too. A good school will always have a tough time producing results if the parents don't provide any support and direction to their kids.

Monday photos



I thought I was going to miss the sunrise this morning - the alarm went off, and I really couldn't be bothered getting out of bed and going to work. However, the brain refused to return to sleep, so I reluctantly crawled out of bed and got on with it. As it turns out, it was a glorious sunrise.



There are a few rowers out there in that mass of blue and pink. Just one problem - I took this photo from the worst possible spot. This scene looked incredible from other locations, but there were too many bloody trees in the way to get a good shot. Note to self - must cut down some trees to improve the view. The Bay was just a series of bands of beautiful pink and light blue stretching all the way to the bridge in the far background.


Not many bikes out this morning - the sun is coming up later and later, and I guess a lot of people don't want to or aren't equipped to ride in the dark.

Verity's signs aren't getting any better. This one is mirroring her popularity.

Shock! I have something nice to say about a taxi driver

I thought it would be a cold day in Hell before I said anything sympathetic about a taxi driver. Well, I guess the Devil must have gone skiing today. I was walking around town and saw this taxi and the truck in front pull up. The rear passenger door was bent and clearly not closing properly.

The truck driver, taxi driver and two passengers got out. The truck driver started abusing the passengers - a male and female couple in their early 30's perhaps - and the taxi driver walked around the car to inspect the damage. The female passenger had clearly opened the door without looking back and the truck had collected the door.

The couple just walked off. The driver was clearly saying to them that they were responsible for paying for the door - but they just casually left. If he'd made a citizens arrest, I would have stuck around to support him. Bloody hell - that's a turn up for the books.

I will now wait for Karma to send a nice taxi driver my way. All I hear from Karma at the moment is the sound of crickets chirping.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Just how are things going in Wilcannia?

See that red oval out on its own? That's the NAPLAN results for Wilcannia, a state school with 109 students - 96% Aboriginal. It's out in the middle of nowhere.

The NAPLAN results suggest that by year 9, the kids in that school are at about the same level as city kids are in year 3. And we're talking about city kids from the arse end of town. They're well behind the city kids in year 3 that go to state schools in posh suburbs.

Six years behind. Fucking helski.

MySchool - just how far behind can a school fall?


I've extracted some more data from the Chatswood and Fairfield areas regarding high schools, and applied it to my favourite graph - the one showing how the NAPLAN scores of schools improve over time. The problem with this data is that it's not continuous - you have kids going from primary school to high school, so there is a break in the data between years 5 and 7. On top of that, NAPLAN testing hasn't been going long enough to follow the same set of kids from grade 3 all the way to grade 9. The results for years 3 and 5 are from a different set of kids from years 7 and 9.

No matter - we just have to work with what we have.

The bottom axis is the ICSEA score - a measure of wealth. Poor areas to the left, rich areas to the right. The blue data points are the NAPLAN scores in year 3, the brown ones are the scores in year 5 etc etc. You can see how the NAPLAN results climb over time.

What surprised me is that the rich schools pull away in high school - particularly the state schools. There are a lot of very expensive independent schools on the North Shore, and the elite state schools leave them in the shade. More on that another time.

Have a look at the results of the school in the red circle. What you're looking at there is the NAPLAN score for a Fairfield school for its year 9 students. The long red line shows where it sits in relation to state schools in a rich area. By my reckoning, kids in year 9 at that poor school are at about the same level as kids in year 4 at the schools in the rich area. That's the difference between a state school in a good area and one in a bad area.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Antony Green and his take on the Greens

Green is always worth a read.

He rides a bike too - doubleplusgood.

More MySchool - just to annoy Cav

The theme for this evening is - chuck around a few hypotheses and see what sticks. I was always useless at defining a null hypothesis way back in my school days, so I'm not even going to try to do that now. I always buggered it up. I've spent the afternoon pulling down more stats and combining them to see what falls out.

Big caveat up front - this covers a limited number of primary schools in NSW. This is interesting stuff, but I'd need access to lots more data before staking my life on the results.


First idea - is there a relationship between the ratio of teachers to students and the amount of funding per student?

Answer seems to be "yes". I would expect that to be true since teacher's salaries are the biggest cost for schools. The R-squared is 0.688, making it a good fit. Part of the remaining variation could be explained by variations in mix of teacher salaries across schools - that is, one school might have 10 newbie teachers on $50k, and another might have 10 old farts on $80k. If they have the same number of students, the teacher/student ratio will be the same, but the second school will require funding 60% higher.

Just remember this - with state schools, over 80% of the bills are paid centrally. The schools never see much money - head office pays the staff, pays the maintenance bills, buys the computers etc etc. The numbers that have been released by ACARA are the result of the head office bureaucrats at the DET taking about $9 billion worth of expenditure and then trying to work out how to divvy it up between a few thousand schools.


I then split the stats for Catholic and state schools. Both show a very strong relationship between funding per head and student/teacher ratios.


However, we have to be careful when interpreting this - which is driving what? Remember, funding for schools is producer driven, not consumer driven. It's a chicken and egg question - does a school have a lower student/teacher ratio because it gets more funding, or does it get more funding because historically it had a low student/teacher ratio? Budget setting in the public sector is a strange beast - the amount of money you get can be based on the most illogical reasoning's at times.


Moving on - is there a relationship between the size of the school (number of students) and the NAPLAN scores? Is a small school better than a big school?

The graph above suggests that it makes no difference whatsoever. Big or small - doesn't matter. It might make a difference to the range of subjects you can study, but for NAPLAN results - zip.

However, I have coloured the data points to differentiate rich areas from poor areas. Blue are wealthy, brown are poor. There's a pretty clear split - the wealth and educational background of the parents counts an awful lot more.

Why do bureaucrats like big schools? Because it makes their life easier when dealing with a small number of big entities rather than a large number of small entities. They'll claim of course that bigness brings the benefits of scale, but the only things that I have ever seen scale well in a bureaucracy are stupidity, ineptness and bloodymindedness.


I then took the NAPLAN scores for a bunch of schools and looked at the performance of their grade 3 cohorts in 2008 and those same cohorts in grade 5 in 2010. I wanted to see how their scores improved over that period across a range of schools. Chatswood is a wealthy area - the average NAPLAN total went up 425 points. Why did some schools jump further than others? Has money anything to do with it?


Just to show you what I'm doing, here are 5 schools from Chatswood. The rhomboid at the bottom is their grade 3, 2008 NAPLAN score. The square up above is the NAPLAN score for that same class when it was tested in grade 5 in 2010. Along the bottom axis is funding per student. Did having more money produce a bigger jump in grades? It did for one school, but not the rest.


Here's the same schools, but with the data presented a different way. I've shown the student/teacher ratio on the bottom axis this time. The further a school is to the left, the better the student/teacher ratio (ie, supposedly smaller classes). The school with the biggest jump (in purple) had a low ratio (small classes) - however, the 2nd biggest jump was the blue school, which had a higher ratio. The rest were all the same - didn't matter if they had smaller classes or bigger classes, the improvement was the same.

The green school and the purple school both started at low NAPLAN scores, and both had small class sizes. The purple school leapfrogged ahead of two of the others with larger class sizes, but the green school didn't. Small class sizes might be beneficial - or they might not. Anyway - you need to crunch lots more than five schools to get an answer.


Which is what I did. I looked at how much the NAPLAN score went up for 70 schools, and then compared that to the student/teacher ratio. According to the R-squared, there is no relationship whatsoever. It's a paltry 0.03.


If you look at the percentage increase in NAPLAN scores vs the student/teacher ratio, you get a slightly better R-squared of 0.15, but this still means there is next to no relationship there at all.


I then split out the Catholics and the state schools, just to see if there was any difference. With the Micks, it's next to nothing.


State schools gets a slightly improved relationship, but an R-squared of 0.23 still means that there is two thirds of bugger all correlation.


Here's where things could get interesting. The blue dots are the grade 3 NAPLAN scores from 2008 for schools in a rich area and a poor area. Along the bottom axis is the ICSEA score - the measure of family wealth. There's a pretty clear pattern - schools in poor areas get much lower NAPLAN scores than schools in wealthy areas. The difference between the worst performing school and the best is 682 points - 1783 vs 2465. The schools in wealthy areas start out with an advantage of up to 38%. The difference between the averages across the two groups is about 14%.

The brown data points are the grade 5 NAPLAN scores two years later for those same schools. The same pattern appears - the rich schools stay ahead, but the average gap shrinks to 9%. Shockingly though, the lead of the best school over the worst stays at around 36%.


I've circled the lowest performing school from 2008.

Have a look at where its students get to by grade 5. Compare it to the schools in rich areas circled in green on the right. That green circle is the rich school scores from grade 3. For the grade 5 kids in the worst school in the poor area, when they hit grade 5, they are performing at the level of the worst performing rich area schools - from grade 3! Not only are they two years behind, but they're even at the back of that pack!

PS - remember, these are all state schools and low fee Catholic schools. What you're mainly seeing here is the difference in performance between a set of state schools in a rich area and a set of state schools in a poor area. In case you are wondering about funding, the poor state schools got an average of $9,498 each and the rich state schools got an average of $8,480 each - about a thousand bucks less (or the poor schools got 12% more). The best funded poor school got $10,894 - the lowest funded rich school got $7,057 (or the best funded poor school got 50% more than the worst funded rich school).

That rich school with the least money - only two schools out of this entire group got higher NAPLAN scores. The school with the highest NAPLAN score (in a rich area naturally) actually got the second lowest funding allocation out of all of them.

Anyway, that's just a taste of the sort of number crunching that can be done with these stats. ACARA, being a bunch of bastards, have made it as difficult as humanly possible to extract the numbers to do this sort of analysis, so it's both time consuming and shallow.

More posts on MySchool:







Damn, stuffed up teh numbering.