28 Jan 2010, Comments (7)

Education Revolution: A complete 360

Author: Helen

Even in those heady piñata-bashing weeks of November 2007, I don’t think any of us were expecting the Rudd/Gillard government to be some kind of paragon of progressivism. By then, I was already low expectations R Us. Simply not being Howard, Abbott, Nelson and Bishop were the key to gaining my vote. It turns out that even this was asking a bit too much.

Murphy's law states that if you post a scornful article bagging someone else's web site, there will be a great big dog's balls of a HTML error just below the byline.

Murphy's law states that if you post a scornful article bagging someone else's web site, there will be a great big dog's balls of a HTML error just below the byline.



At first, I was a fan of Julia Gillard, a funny, combatative ranga who could reduce the baying saurians in the Liberal seats to a humiliated near-silence (assuming they’re capable of understanding and feeling humiliation, that is). She’s fun to listen to in question time, but she broke my heart with the part she played in the 2004 election. OK, so she shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near environmental policy, but surely she’d come good on the social justice issues…?

OK, now my heart is thoroughly broken and trampled on. I’ve become the voter who cannot love. The infamous My School database/website has been released today (and very buggy it is, too), and what do we see as the very first headline on the dead-tree Herald Sun? OUR SCHOOLS SHAME. The banner on the online version? HOW DID YOUR SCHOOL RATE? So predictable. Don’t ask me how the Boy’s school rates (The Girl has just left the public system with an excellent VCE score and as yet no crack habit – the Boy starts year 7 on Monday. Serial only children, I haz them.) The website hasn’t worked successfully for me yet. And yes, I am aware of most internet traditions and able to work most simple interfaces, so I don’t think it’s me.

Back to Gillard, who on assuming the Deputy PMship announced that she would bring on an Education Revolution. Well, since “revolution” can mean doing a complete 360 and ending up facing the same way as when you started, then OK, technically correct, Julia.

Trevor Cobbold in his article, The Free market and the Social divide in Education (PDF), points out that the My School website is a continuation of the commodification of education which features the establishment of “quasi-markets” in schools.

The publication of the results of each school is seen as a central component of quasi-markets because it is supposed to inform parent choice…
The Rudd government has maintained and extended the focus on markets and competition in education… It has not reversed any of the key measures of the Howard government.
…It is paradoxical that a government which calls itself progressive is implementing the policies of its erstwhile conservative predecessor.

Progressive? They’re starting to make the previous government look more progressive:

…(A)s far as education policy is concerned, the Rudd Government has given John Howard and David Kemp another term in office…(The PM) says that schools that fail to improve will be subject to “tough action”, including firing principals and senior staff and closing schools. This is something that Kemp could only dream of.

And a Labor government that can actually introduce policies that aren’t the previous government’s leftovers plus spin from a personable pollie – that’s something that I can only dream of.

Robert Merkel at LP has more on the nuts and bolts behind the My School website.

Comments (7)

  • Rayedish says:

    She’s a heart breaker that Julia. The whole education revolution is just positively disheartening, full as it is of bad ideas that have achieved little in other countries – league tables, performance-based pay, etc – in short schools aren’t businesses and should not be run as if they were.

  • Ann ODyne says:

    another great post dear BOACIB.

  • […] The Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony has posted a strong critique. “OK, now my heart is thoroughly broken and trampled on. I’ve […]

  • […] Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony: Trevor Cobbold in his article, The Free market and the Social divide in Education(PDF), points out that the My School website is a continuation of the commodification of education which features the establishment of “quasi-markets” in schools. […]

  • David says:

    How will we educate our kids when education policy is left to politicians?
    Here in the NT we are facing the anhialation of indigenous languages brought about by uninformed policy and the knee jerk reaction of a politician on the run. They are all too proud to acknowledge their mistakes and full of brovado and BS… In a democracy supposedly relyant on informed decision making, it defies logic that the best we can do at election time is vote in yet another bloody politician.
    When I last entered the polling booth I informed the staff that I wanted my name marked off the role but I refuse to vote for any of the candidates on offer… I was informed that I must place a vote even if it’s just a blank piece of paper. I wrote ‘NONE OF THE ABOVE!’
    Unfortunately it didn’t work since one of them was voted in… Next time I might make up my own How to vote cards advising others to vote for None of the Above. You never know we might get lucky.

  • […] keen to fight Garrett’s corner as a minister in the Labor government. I’m the Voter who Cannot Love*, after all. He, like Julia, has broken my heart over environmental and Arts policies. No, I […]

  • […] To feminists, it seems that with one hand she giveth, and with the other she taketh. I’m frequently bitterly disappointed by Gillard and the policies she supports. Unfortunately, some Gillard opponents think that you are either For her or Agin her, and if […]

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