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35 responses to “WTF do the Liberals have planned for schools?”

  1. Jumpy

    It’s a State responsibility, Abbott should stay out of it.

  2. Graham Bell

    Jumpy @ 1

    It won’t stay that way of “Our Betters” are elected.

  3. zorronsky

    Probably their usual rewriting of history.

  4. David Irving (no relation)

    Well, the Opposition’s education spokesmouth is Christopher Pyne, after all, a product of that part of the Catholic education system that caters to the well-heeled. He’s yet another thing that South Australia has to apologise to the rest of Australia for. Sorry, Australia. We didn’t know what we were doing.

  5. Russell

    “Now, it seems that Tony Abbott and the Coalition would like to undo 140 years of history …”

    Robert the undoing started a while back and continued under Victorian ALP and LNP governments. Victoria started it, and other states have followed. This federal policy is, in all ways, nothing new.

    Gillard, taking bad advice from the people who had advised Blair & Brown, was sort of heading down the same road: trying to push ‘market’ features into the school system. Don’t you think ‘more autonomy for principals’ is related to ‘independent’ schools?

    I thought this was amusing; “Shorten says the regulations around the new arrangements are emerging as issues in the negotiations – “making sure that everyone is comfortable with everyone’s role”. The states want to avoid undue red tape, he says. (The states are concerned the federal government would have direct control over schools in relation to their individual improvement plans.)”

    Emerging as issues!? They have been major issues from the start – even I who really know nothing about it have been going on about the conditions/regulations here at LP. If the perfidious Shorten is smart he’ll drop the conditions and sign the states up to the money and funding formula, because once they think they’ve got that money it will be very difficult for Pyne to take it away.

    Then let the conservative state governments fight the looming battles with the teacher unions that will come as this independent schools agenda moves on to performance pay, flexibility with class sizes etc.

  6. GregM

    Sorry, Australia. We didn’t know what we were doing.

    Not good enough DI(NR). You South Australians keep doing this to us. You gave us Alexander Downer and Amanda Vanstone after all.

    This can’t just be carelessness. There must be malice involved.

  7. Nick

    Robert, Campbell Newman’s Independent Public Schools program might be worth looking at for the model they have in mind:

    http://education.qld.gov.au/schools/independent-public-schools/

    Three-tier schooling. The wealthier suburbs can afford it. The poorer ones can’t.

  8. Graham Bell

    That’s easy to answer:

    (1). Prevent random outbreaks of talent.

    (2). Overcome that 1872 aberration which gave far too much away to The Undeserving.

    (3). Complete the continuing task of halting upward social mobility.

    (4). Provide secure paths to sinecures for those children of The Deserving who happen to be dullards, layabouts and incompetents.

    (5). Transform some of the existing exclusive high schools into full Napola (Nationalpolitische Lehranstalt) so that any children of The Deserving who happen to be talented can achieve their destiny of Ruling Without Question.

    (6). Keep The Undeserving firmly in their place by allowing them sufficient literacy to read orders, operate machinery and NOTHING ELSE. (Look at what happened in South Africa when the authorities allowed the Blacks more education than the absolutely minimum of literacy – what ingratitude! That’s not going to be allowed to happen in a right-thinking, correctly-regulated Australia!).

    (7). Make The Undeserving pay through the nose for the privilege of schooling Their Betters.

    Think of it not as Policy but as a restoration of The Natural Order Of Things.

  9. Graham Bell

    GregM @ 7

    Yes, you’ve got to watch those South Australians; the can be sneaky and tricky if you don’t keep a close eye on them.

    Hey, fair go for Amanda Vanstone though. When she left politics she turned into an alright ambassador and then into a fairly good radio presenter on ABC’s Counterpoint. Obviously she is trying to redeem herself. :-)

  10. Russell

    “Russell, there’s a bit a of a difference between more autonomy for schools and what the Libs are proposing.”

    What are these significant differences, Robert?

  11. Nick

    Possibly, Robert. This bit stood out for me:

    They will have the ability to work directly with local businesses, industry and community organisations.

    This new way of working could lead to unique and innovative partnerships and sponsorships, providing extra support for students, schools and the local community.

    A poorer school wouldn’t have as much access to parents who can afford to donate business services.

  12. zoot

    … Amanda Vanstone … a fairly good radio presenter on ABC’s Counterpoint.

    Oh come on! Calling her mediocre would be flattering her.
    However, I will admit she lived up to Counterpoint’s long standing tradition of gormless presenters.

  13. Graham Bell

    Oh Zoot @ 14 . That was unkind ;-)

    Nick @ 13. But that’s the whole idea. We don’t want any outbreaks of fairness, do we.

  14. Brian

    In a sense this does look like an extension of the trend towards autonomy under Labor and the Libs before them. I’d think the LNP needs to spell out what they mean by “independent”. I’d like to see more public discussion about these policies including research into whether any difference in educational outcomes might be expected.

    I don’t recall any information on the Queensland initiatives being available before the state election. I note that the independence is carefully calibrated and does not include school councils, for example, making operational decisions about the use of teaching or learning resources at the school, making decisions about the individual teaching style used, or to be used, at the school, having control of funds, having control of funds, entering into contracts, or acquiring, holding or disposing of property.

  15. Nick

    Robert, I don’t see them shifting schools to federal funding or regulation. I imagine it’s something like one-off payments to “encourage” schools to sign up to the state programs. A boost to what the LNP is already offering. I can’t see them being able to afford much more than that.

  16. Jacques de Molay

    GregM,

    Don’t forget the likes of Nick Minchin, Julie Bishop & Don Farrell too.

    However we have given you Penny Wong, Mark Butler & Sarah Hanson-Young.

  17. Graham Bell

    I have always been in favour of a complete and radical change in how knowledge and skills are transferred; in how learning, curiosity and innovation are encouraged; in how talent is fostered and disability is overcome.

    Not much hope of that from either side of the political fence in my lifetime …. added to that, the irrational fear, on the LNP side, of talented competition emerging from below to displace them and their progeny.

    Russell @ 5

    the looming battles with the teacher unions

    but that is exactly what the LNP and their puppet-masters want. They have a counter-productive, all-or-nothing obsession with destroying the evil of unionism; they negotiated with unions only because of sheer necessity …. so they are keen to bring on an all-out fight with teachers’ unions – regardless of how much permanent damage results, of how much it costs the taxpayers, of how many opportunities are lost. Don’t look for any logic in what they intend – there is none.

    This is why I am amazed that so many teachers are STILL members or supporters of the LNP. Talk about paying the hangman for the rope! I urge all such teachers to ditch the LNP and give their support to any of the non-Labor, non-LNP candidates instead.

  18. Paul Norton

    And Cory Bernardi is a Senator from…

  19. Ronson Dalby

    That’s not a name I want to see whilst breakfasting on a Sunday morning, Paul Norton!

  20. desipis

    They will have the ability to work directly with local businesses, industry and community organisations.

    This new way of working could lead to unique and innovative partnerships and sponsorships, providing extra support for students, schools and the local community.

    In other words…:

    Hi, I’m Mr Smith your Home Economics teacher. This class is sponsored by our local McDonald’s. Our first subject is how to fit regular trips to McDonald’s into a balanced diet…”

  21. Robynne

    Sarah Hanson Young grew up in East Gippsland (vic), so she can’t be used to redeem SA for the atrocities of the others.And when I started to think about it I don’t intend to visit SA any time soon.

    This is a deeply concerning policy and I do wonder why our gormless msm/abc have not interrogated the opposition on this plan.Let’s hope that at some stage parents will be made aware of the possibility that their kids learning could be brought to them by………..

  22. FDB

    “Now turn to the next problem. If you have three Pepsis and drink one, how much more refreshed are you?”

    “Pepsi?”

    “Partial credit!”

  23. Helen

    “Automomy” here = code for continuing down the path of neoliberalism, privatisation and the ensuing waste of money and lives, amirite?

  24. Graham Bell

    Robynne @ 24

    Disagree with ‘gormless’ to describe msm/abc failure to investigate and criticize the looming LNP dyseducation revolution and the impending auctions of children’s attention and time.

    Fear of losing their jobs, of not having contracts renewed, of being black-balled for future employment is a more likely reason. Do you think any of the staff of NoDo would have dared investigate and criticize Spanish government policies when Franco was alive? So what’s so special about Australian journalists that they would dare to act differently in an increasingly similar media environment? (Alight, it’s still only an oligopoly here – for the time being).

    You can bet your bottom dollar that some journalists are very well aware of the implications of this LNP policy revolution …. but do they have the courage to warn their fellow Australians before it is too late? No way!

  25. Jacques de Molay

    Sarah Hanson Young grew up in East Gippsland (vic), so she can’t be used to redeem SA for the atrocities of the others.And when I started to think about it I don’t intend to visit SA any time soon.

    She went to uni here and has spent her whole adult life here so I’ll take that.

    But yeah Cory Bernardi *sigh* I suppose we could partially take credit for Julia Gillard born in Wales, moved here as a child, grew up here and I think moved to Melbourne after her uni days.

    No love for Nick Xenophon? ;)

  26. Chris

    A poorer school wouldn’t have as much access to parents who can afford to donate business services.

    That’s true, though its not really the school which is poor, but the demographics of its student population. But perhaps here they are trying to even out capabilities with what private schools are able to do rather than within the public school system. And its not really an equal system between public schools anyway as those with children with wealthier families are already able to raise more money than those with poorer families. And unlike private schools they don’t get punished with reduced government funding when that happens.

    Private schools have had this ability to work with external organisations for a long time, but AFAIK there hasn’t been the problem of them saying pushing Pepsi or McDonalds on their students. Perhaps because they are non-profits there isn’t really the incentive there for them to do those sorts of deals – and direct accountability to parents probably provides some push back as well.

    “Automomy” here = code for continuing down the path of neoliberalism, privatisation and the ensuing waste of money and lives, amirite?

    My daughter is starting school so I’ve been on a few school tours in the past year. One aspect of autonomy that principals that goes down well is that principals are able to hire teachers directly rather than be assigned them by the education department. Its yet another thing which probably gives school in wealthier areas an advantage as teachers want to teach there.

  27. David Irving (no relation)

    You can’t blame us for Nick Minchevic – I think he originated in Sydney. I’ll allow Vanstone and Bishop though. Oh, and Janet bloody Albrechtson, now that I think of it. That’s quite a burden of guilt we have to bear.

  28. Nick

    “That’s true, though its not really the school which is poor, but the demographics of its student population.”

    That was all I meant, Chris.

    “Private schools have had this ability to work with external organisations for a long time, but AFAIK there hasn’t been the problem of them saying pushing Pepsi or McDonalds on their students.”

    They have reputations to uphold! McDonalds is for the masses, not the privileged. Maybe it’s a remote possibility in high schools, but careful with that Overton window. The risk is making any lesser steps in that direction look innocuous. More realistic is the books are taken care of gratis by an accountant parent who sits on the council. Or maybe the building company of a parent whose kids attend sees some Pillar of the Community cachet in doing work below cost on the new gymnasium?

    In an ideal society, more community and local business engagement in schools sounds like a great thing. But in an ideal society, the private school model would work just fine too. Privatisation by stealth serves to create more imbalance. It becomes a lot harder to argue for a tax rise to increase education funding *across the board*, when 30% of kids attend private schools, and another 30% attend independent state schools and are already happy with the quality of education they’re receiving, and think why should I pay more…

  29. Chris

    The risk is making any lesser steps in that direction look innocuous. More realistic is the books are taken care of gratis by an accountant parent who sits on the council. Or maybe the building company of a parent whose kids attend sees some Pillar of the Community cachet in doing work below cost on the new gymnasium?

    As long as there isn’t corruption – and I’m guessing here that are nearly alwasy books are dictated by curriculum so we’re not going to suddenly see intelligent design books appear in science classes – what harm does this cause?

    Parents are already able to donate funds to the public school that the children attend. I personally know parents who donate several thousand dollars per year to the public school their kids attend. In wealthy areas its a much cheaper alternative to private school fees – full government funding plus private donations and exclusion of poorer students through geographic based catchment zones.

    I see these sorts of changes as really only affecting the public vs private school balance (towards public schools). And the greater the percentage of population going to private schools the harder it will be to get public support for public school funding.

  30. Moz in Oz

    Chris, the problem is as stated: schools in wealthier areas will be (even more) likely to have more of those offers, more often. They’ll also be more able to refuse offers from large companies with bad intentions, and because of the parental resources they have, more able to detect bad intentions and better able to negotiate their way around them.

    NZ did the “board of trustees run the school” thing 20-odd years ago and it has been a disaster. Better off schools have done well (nothing like having a bunch of university educated parents on the board to make things run well), other schools it’s all about getting lucky every now and again.

    But the “good” news is that they’re now getting full on charter schools. No pesky government regulations about curriculum or teacher qualifications, or even facilities, they just have to get some students in and the government funding taps open. It’s a win-win-win: government pays less than the cost of a state school, the charter company gets an opening into the market, and the parents get more choice! I can’t wait to see how that turns out (and yes, the first ones seem to be religious based).

  31. Martin B

    Sorry, late to this thread. Just want to point out that the ‘independent public schools’ model started (in Aus) in WA before moving to Qld.

    I think the policy is dubious at best but it is worth being clear about what the proposal is – it is not actual privatization of schools. They officially remain within the public system.

  32. Bernice

    Right, now I’m on the correct thread, this is an appalling policy concept. Whatever the hamsters in WA + Qld’s conservative governments may be doing, it will pale when Federal funding models reflect the notion that a school community can ‘choose’ its model. A notion so nebulous it’s impossible to know quite what it means (and therefore passes as fuzzy and unthreatening)

    The bleeding obvious even Blind Freddie effect of a school’s demographics is just the starting point.

    Will this gilded autonomy also allow for the same privileges of avoidance of the Anti-Discrimination Act as other schools (read non-government) currently enjoy?

    This is neoliberalism. It entrenches difference, privilege, hierarchy and social disadvantage within the heart of our education system which is already struggling to delivery equity.

    I agree Gillard did much that was problematic in education, but at least Gonski was a fair stab at holding off the trolls of neoliberalism. Remember this was the PM who said in February this year:

    I’m not the leader of a party called The Progressive Party, I’m not the leader of a party called The Moderate Party, I’m not the leader of a party even called the Social Democratic Party, I am a leader of the party called the Labor Party deliberately because that is where we come from, that is what we believe in, that is who we are.

    A labor party that defends at least some notions of educational equity in the face of the conversatives’ determination to stratify society.