Western Teacher : Volume 43.9 November 2014
WESTERN TEACHER 10 TONY MULLEN, GENERAL SECRETARY 4. The industry is rife with fraud and corruption. 5. Lack of transparency and accountability. 6. Skimming and weed- out strategies. 7. Contribute to the re- segregation of US education. 8. Drain resources from struggling districts. 9. Closing traditional (local) public schools. 10. Lack of innovation. 11. Hard to get rid of the bad ones. 12. Charters promote ‘choice’ as solution. US Journalist Marian Wang, ProPublica website, reports that ‘ shocking’ conflicts of interest, federal investigations, and forced resignations are just the start of the academies favoured by self-styled free marketeers. In some North Carolina academies, staff and students pledge to avoid errors that arise from ‘over-reliance on rational argument.’ Students must vow ‘to be obedient and loyal to those in authority, in my family, in my school, and in my community and country, so long as I shall live.’ In New Orleans, charters were imposed on communities – either by legislative fiat or well-engineered public policy campaigns. Many charter school operators kept their practices hidden or were found to be blatantly corrupt, yet no one has done anything to ensure real accountability for those Angelo states: “We believe that public schooling, free, secular, universally accessible in every community, setting the standard for high quality education, remains a precondition for a better world. This is under greater threat today than it has ever been.” I have previously reported on the spread of for-profit schools in Sweden, the USA and the UK. Increasingly, research is revealing that the corporate approach to education is not producing better results; in fact, the opposite is true. An article by US academic Jessie B. Ramey on her blog (yinzercation. wordpress.com/2014/05/02/12- problems-with-charter-schools) lists twelve problems with Pennsylvania’s charter schools: 1. Most are not helping kids. 2. Some are actually hurting kids. 3. Far too many are cash cows. rapidly expanding school operations. In Australia, education advocates Save Our Schools report that another academic study has found the quality of private schools in Australia is no better than public schools. It also finds that there is a strong and positive association between the socio-economic status (SES) of a student and their test scores. It is the fourth study in the last year that shows there are no significant differences between the test results of private and public schools in Australia after taking account of the socio-economic background of students and schools. Despite this, the Federal Government continues to dismantle the Gonski funding model, which has demonstrated that the main arguments for using public funding to support school education should be on equity grounds alone. As Angelo says, “ We are at a pivotal time for the future of public education. We cannot let quality public education slip away as a top priority for governments. It is our job to keep pressing the core message, that without properly resourced high- quality public education for all, society itself will be fundamentally damaged.” P.S. I congratulate Mary Franklyn who has been elected as General Secretary for the next two years. We are working collaboratively on a smooth transition of office. QUESTION CORPORATE RULE The Australian Education Union is sad to be farewelling its President, Angelo Gavrielatos. However, members will be pleased to know Angelo has accepted a position at Education International to coordinate a global campaign to halt and reverse the commercialisation and privatisation of education.
Volume 44.1 January 2015
Volume 43.8 October 2014