School plan­ning shake-up needed

The West Australian - - AGENDA -

Va­lerie Jen­nings draws at­ten­tion to the clo­sure of sec­ondary schools in the western coastal sub­urbs and the sale of land they were on, rais­ing the spec­tre of bush and coastal dunes be­ing ex­pro­pri­ated on which to build schools in fu­ture (Let­ters, 12/10).

The prob­lem ex­tends up the coast. Scar­bor­ough, Craigie and Pad­bury high schools, as well as Carine TAFE, have been closed and, ex­cept for Pad­bury, the land sold.

This shows an ab­ject lack of plan­ning by suc­ces­sive gov­ern­ments.

At a time when res­i­den­tial blocks are be­ing sub­di­vided to al­low more dwellings, it is ob­vi­ous that the in­creas­ing num­ber of chil­dren liv­ing there will need more schools.

The land where City Beach and Pad­bury high schools are sit­u­ated should not be sold. As well, we need a Mod­ern School North. Schools such as Wood­vale and Dun­craig, which of­fer aca­demic ex­ten­sion pro­grams, like Perth Mod­ern School, are swamped with ap­pli­cants and can­not take any ex­tra stu­dents from out­side their bound­aries.

Any chil­dren out­side those bound­aries who can­not get in to such cour­ses may be de­nied the op­por­tu­nity of study­ing aca­demic sub­jects to Year 12.

Many schools th­ese days do not of­fer English lit­er­a­ture, a for­eign lan­guage, his­tory and ge­og­ra­phy, or a choice of maths and sci­ences.

In a demo­cratic coun­try, the qual­ity of a child’s ed­u­ca­tion should not de­pend on their par­ents’ abil­ity to pay for it.

The whole sys­tem needs a big shake-up.

Jill True, Sor­rento

Amend the amend­ment

The Sec­ond Amend­ment to the US Con­sti­tu­tion was passed in De­cem­ber 1791. In those days firearms were vir­tu­ally all sin­gle-shot muz­zle-load­ers that used black pow­der as a pro­pel­lant.

Re­peat­ing firearms us­ing brass car­tridges were not in com­mon use un­til the mid­dle of the next cen­tury.

Fur­ther, ma­chine­guns were not in­vented and were not in use un­til at least the mid­dle of the 19th cen­tury.

How, then, could the pro­posers of the Sec­ond Amend­ment have en­vis­aged what they were ul­ti­mately re­spon­si­ble for loos­ing on the Amer­i­can pub­lic?

In light of the grow­ing fre­quency of mas­sacres of the na­ture of the re­cent one in Las Ve­gas, it might be time for the peo­ple of the US to stand up to the Amer­i­can gun lobby and ac­tu­ally leg­is­late to make the coun­try safer for all.

Peter Baker, Bin­ningup

The­atre and guns

In Min­neapo­lis, the US city where Aus­tralian Jus­tine Da­mond was shot, there is the Fitzger­ald The­atre, named af­ter writer F. Scott Fitzger­ald.

In that the­atre, storyteller Gar­ri­son Keillor recorded his fa­mous weekly ra­dio pro­gram, A Prairie Home Com­pan­ion.

A high­light was the news from Lake Wobe­gon, an imag­i­nary town where all the women were strong, all the men good look­ing, and all the chil­dren above av­er­age.

In the foyer of the the­atre, there is a large, framed sign that reads: The Fitzger­ald The­ater Bans Guns In Th­ese Premises.

I have tried to imag­ine that sign in the foyer of His Majesty’s The­atre here, but I just can’t get my head around that idea.

David Hough, Wem­b­ley Downs

Im­mi­gra­tion mad­ness

The im­mi­gra­tion depart­ment’s re­cent re­jec­tion of cafe owner Paul Hen­wood’s per­ma­nent visa ap­pli­ca­tion be­cause it came via post in­stead of the depart­ment’s de­manded courier de­liv­ery is not just bu­reau­cratic mad­ness.

It is also to­tally at odds with the depart­ment’s clear state­ment on its web­site that, “We en­cour­age you to lodge your ap­pli­ca­tions on­line as it is cheaper and fa­cil­i­tates stream­lined pro­cess­ing ar­range­ments.”

Vir­tu­ally all ap­pli­ca­tions and deal­ings with Im­mi­gra­tion have been moved on­line by the depart­ment it­self.

One would think that the prime is­sue is to re­ceive the doc­u­men­ta­tion it­self and not how it ar­rives at a par­tic­u­lar of­fice — a con­cept ob­vi­ously too chal­leng­ing for the bu­reau­crats run­ning Im­mi­gra­tion.

W. McNa­mara, Ned­lands

Hol­ly­wood cast­ing couch

Let’s face it, Har­vey We­in­stein’s an­tics are noth­ing new for Hol­ly­wood (News, 12/10).

Those old enough well re­mem­ber the tales of the cast­ing couch in the days when the leg­endary Warner broth­ers, Louis B. Mayer, the Selznicks, Sam Gold­wyn, and a num­ber of oth­ers ruled the roost.

But the dal­liance on the di­van cer­tainly had a bit more chutz­pah than a dingy ho­tel cor­ri­dor or a mas­sage ta­ble. John Sheri­dan, Wel­lard

Jus­tine Da­mond

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