Key to education is giving teachers power

DISCIPLINE: There are concerns a lack of resources available to teachers to discipline students is having a negative impact on learning outcomes in Australian schools.

IT was not so long ago that I was sitting in a classroom filled with young impressionable youths waiting to be inspired by the knowledge my teacher was about to impart. Visions of passionate debate created a brief sense of excitement in anticipation.

However, the reality of school education was about to hit. In place of the exhilarating environment I imagined, the teacher was faced with a storm of contempt. Like a cyclone increasing in intensity, a vocal minority had swiftly destroyed any chance of quality education. With the teacher’s authority diminishing with every spiteful remark and insult, it was obvious that discipline in public schools was in turmoil.

My father’s recollections of his education contrast greatly. Memories of ritual canings for minor infractions and the strict disciplinarian approach of the headmastersignify what he considers the good old days of education. This was a time when teachers were respected and discipline was tough.

Today, this fear has dissipated. From my own hard lessons, it is apparent that the scales of authority have gradually tipped towards rebellious students. Teachers have been stripped of their powers of discipline.

While education is shaping up to be a key election issue, in focusing on additional school funding and raising standards of education, school discipline has been neglected.

Discipline methods used by today’s teachers are based on a non-confrontational behaviour management style. Unfortunatelyfor the teachers, who face violence, abuse and aggression on a daily basis, their only major weapon is suspension.

Too often, enforced time away from school can have a detrimental effect on attitudes to education.

Yes, schools need additional funding to raise educational standards, but teachers need power immediately to address the issue of declining discipline.

Daniel Sahyoun,BulahdelahAwaiting answersDEAR Mr Joel Fitzgibbon,thank you for outlining your 10 “Positive Policies for Hunter” to us voters in this newelectorate.While these are somewhat of an improvement on present Coalition policies, we miss anyplatform on the following issues:

1. Climate change and how you and your party plan to followthrough on the Paris Climate Agreement to keep global warming below 2 degrees;

2.Your strategy to implement 100 per cent renewable energy targets well before 2030 to create new age jobs and opportunities forour coming generations and forge a way to a sustainable future;

3.A realistic plan to “Save the Reef” other than throwing money around to targetagricultural runoff while approving massive coalmining expansion in the GalileeBasin;

4.And just how you propose to achieve housing affordability, not only for first homebuyers, but also for all low income renters including age pensioners.

We would appreciate any assurances you may be able to give to inform our options comethe election.

Ingeborg Fina and John Wood,Bolton PointNo threat to waterLOCK the Gate’s claim there is a threat to water security from providing access to 0.002 per centofwater in what are generally poor-quality water sources is ridiculous.

These water sourcesare of little use for agriculture, drinking water or the environment, and the provision Lock theGate refer to is not a loophole –it’s been documented government policy for many yearsbefore this water-sharing plan was drafted and allows access to a one-­off volume of water,not an annual entitlement.

The proposed extraction limits in the draft water-sharing plan are well below the annualrecharge estimates for the water source so in providing a very low, one-off volume there isno risk to the aquifer.

Once again I believe Lock the Gate have resorted to fear and exaggeration, with no regard to thefacts, proving that their claims should always be checked before before being accepted atface value.

Stephen Galilee,CEO, NSW Minerals CouncilSupport for policeHERE we go again, a police officer shoots a person charging at them with a knife and quickly stops the attack.

Unfortunately three innocent bystanders were injured.I feel for these people and their families.But this person was rushing at the police and had to be stopped quickly.

Now I expect the armchair experts to come out with solutions like the police should carry a net to throw over the person,or have a marksman sitting in every police car with a 22 rifle and scope and shoot the offender in the leg, or another favourite I have heard:the police should be trained in unarmed combat and take the knife off the offender and only get superficial injuries.

A thank you to our police for a great, and sometimes thankless, job.The best solution is: don’t take a knife to a Glock fight.

Peter Irwin,FletcherCheck-upsfor long lifeI AGREE 100 per centwith Barry Preston from Cessnock Prostate Cancer support group regarding Aussie men being “ho hum” with their health (Letters, 8/6).

With modern medicine’s improvements we are living longer, making it even more important to keeptrack of annual check-ups.Our GPsurgeries are great, but I’d like to see them all “flag” our annual blood tests and advise us they are due.I have asked dozens of men “when was your last prostate PSA test?” and most can’t remember.

Our Hunter Prostate Cancer Alliance emphasises the importance of the annual “little prick” for over-50 males.The alliance’s easy annual reminder date is simple –around your birthday. This increases your chances of many more birthdays to come.

I and many friends have been pro-active in asking more questions and if necessary changed our GPs and specialists.Consideration of your health annually ensures early detection.This is critical for early treatment and a longer life.

Bruce Harris,ValentineLETTERS commenting on election issues must bear the writer’s name and full address (only the suburb will be published). Responsibility for election comment in this issue is accepted by the editor, Heath Harrison,28 Honeysuckle Drive, Newcastle. Writers should disclose any alliance with political or community organisations and include a phone number for verification. Election candidates should declare themselves as such when submitting letters.​

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