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.


Margo's Maid said...

Good catch, BOAB - why aren't the media finding these stories?

I tend to agree with your findings that culture rather than money brings results in schools, but places like Wilcannia are places where I have no personal qualms about big sums of tax money being spent

1735099 said...

I spent 5 years in Mt Isa in the mid-nineties in charge of a programme (NATSIEP) that spent an average of $2.8 million per annum on trying to improve outcomes for Murri kids. One of the thorny issues was how to most effectively use this money.
The committee making decisions on the submissions was entirely comprised of indigenous people from places like Camooweal, Bedourie, Dajarra, Birdsville Blackall and Longreach.
We were always caught between giving funds to individual schools for projects or employing indigenous people to provide leadership in these communities.
In hindsight, the second strategy was probably more effective than the first, but back then, there was no way of measuring it. IMHO I doubt that the public has the attention span necessary to use NAPLAN as a yardstick. It takes at least 10 years to measure progress. Elections happen more often than that.

Anonymous said...

I agree the issues in Wilcannia are more than academic. The culture the students need from their community is not available (alive within families) or no one wants to step forward and take on the job. Yes it is an Aboriginal community but at what point do you keep putting money into a bottomless pit. This community has 50 or so government funded agencies to help a population of 600-700 people. No I am not racist. The people of this town need to want a better life for themselves and their children.

Rebecca S said...

Just wondering where you found this graph? Amazing find. I'm looking on the NAPLAN site but haven't come across it yet. Btw I spent a month working with the kids in Wilcannia in Jan/Feb this year. There are so many problems in that town but there is an incredible sense of community and some of the elders are so inspiring. The gap between indigenous/non-indigenous is shocking. Such a complicated issue though. Throwing money at the problem definitely doesn't solve anything; working with the community in a culturally-sensitive way does.