Rudd's education revolution denies school autonomy
10th November 2009

Fairfax Press' National Times.

Fail: education revolution scores 3/10
November 10, 2009 - 6:31AM
The very changes needed to strengthen the education system and raise standards are not happening under Kevin Rudd's education revolution. Instead of supporting competition and choice and giving all schools, especially government schools, the resources, autonomy and freedom to get on with the job, in the ALP's so-called revolution all roads lead to Canberra. It is highly centralised, bureaucratic and statist in nature and scores a three out of 10.

During the lead up to the 2007 federal election, Rudd's promise of an education revolution was centre stage and a vote winner for the ALP opposition. Copying the then Howard government's education agenda, Rudd promised a back-to-basics approach to the curriculum, schools and teachers being held accountable for performance and continued funding to non-government schools.

On being elected, Rudd, like former British prime minister Tony Blair, defined education as a central issue and stated that voters should judge his government's success or otherwise on its ability to raise standards and strengthen schools.

In the past two years, the Rudd Government, with the help of like-minded ALP state and territory governments, has embarked on a long march through the education system. Whether a national curriculum, national testing, national teacher registration, holding schools accountable or merit-based pay for teachers, the reality is that Australian schools are being radically transformed.

Is Rudd's education revolution successful and will standards improve? Based on its record to date, the answer is "no". The cost of the computer program has blown out by millions, the Auditor-General is investigating the waste and mismanagement of the school infrastructure program and schools are losing their independence and being micro-managed by Canberra.

The implementation of the school infrastructure program provides a striking illustration of the reasons why Rudd's education revolution is doomed to failure. Government schools, instead of having the freedom and flexibility to decide how the "building the education revolution" funding should be spent, are being forced to accept off-the-shelf plans from head office while community desires are ignored.

Compare this centralised, bureaucratic approach with the autonomy Catholic and independent schools have when deciding what best suits their schools.

Rudd's education revolution is also highly statist and top down in its approach. Australian schools are facing a raft of government imposed policies, programs and requirements, which taken together, will overwhelm schools in red tape, intrusive accountability requirements and centrally imposed directives.

The Rudd/Gillard policies and programs are couched in the ALP's cultural-left rhetoric, are linked to funding to ensure compliance and impose an inflexible, bureaucratic driven straight-jacket on schools.

Changes that would raise standards, such as school vouchers where the money follows the child and more parents can choose between government and non-government schools and giving schools autonomy and flexibility, are denied and the danger is that nothing will improve.

Worse still, in relation to the forthcoming review of the Federal Government's funding formula to Catholic and independent schools, the early signs are that the Rudd Government will overhaul the existing funding model to reduce funding to Catholic and independent schools and redirect it to government schools or to help alleviate massive government debt.

Dr Kevin Donnelly is director of Education Standards Institute (ESI), a new conservative education webpage He is also the author of Australia's Education Revolution: How Kevin Rudd Won and Lost the Education Wars.



Archived News

> Curriculum review endorsed
> School discipline
> National curriculum review announced
> It's ability not SES
> SES not the issue
> Return phonics to the classroom
> Alan Jones interview - school funding
> Gonski a threat to non-government schools
> Greens Party policy a danger
> Gillard's education plan empty rhetoric
> Education failing boys
> PM's Press Club Speech
> Gonski review cultural-left
> Gonski review cultural-left
> News
> UK primary curriculum back to basics
> Ban competition in sport
> Gonski a danger to non-government schools
> Gonski a danger to Catholic and independent schools
> Gonski a danger to Catholic and independent schools
> Gonski report penalises non-government schools
> Don't attack non-government school students
> Responses to OECD report miss the mark
> Choice and diversity in education benefits all
> Greens Party intent on destroying non-government schools
> Government schools elitist and discriminatory
> The left has lost the culture wars
> National testing for mums and dads
> Gillard's educrats attack non-government schools
> Fairfax Press biased against non-government schools
> ALP's multicultural policy contradictory and flawed
> Failed education revolution
> School funding review
> A real education revolution - what does it take?
> PISA test and Australia - what does it mean?
> MySchool website used to attack non-government schools
> Greens Party to cut funding to non-government schools
> Old school is best
> Coalition best for education
> Greens Party to destroy non-government schools
> Gillard's school autonomy proposal all spin
> Gillard My School tests flawed
> Gillard My School tests flawed
> Liberals introduce school vouchers
> Non-government schools deserve funding
> Muslim curriculum biased
> Gillard still a closet socialist
> NAPLAN tests flawed
> Draft national curriculum dumbed down and PC
> ALP education revolution fails
> Yesterday, the ABC..
> Australia's national curriculum debate
> Australia has high social mobility
> British schools shadow minister likes Dumbing Down
> US academic critical of high stakes tests
> University entry must be based on merit
> Quadrant has just released a..
> Hi, much of the Rudd/Gillard..
> Hi, the Spectator has a brilliant..
> ABC radio's Counterpoint has an..
> In case you missed it..
> Donnelly book launch
> Rudd's education revolution 3 out of 10
> US experts say no to value-add

Sign in and have your say


Latest Blog

1st January 1970

Read Full Post!


$20.00 plus $6 postage
(within Australia).

Latest News

Rudd's education revolution denies school autonomy
10th November 2009
Fairfax Press' National Times.Fail: education revolution scores 3/10KEVIN DONNELLYNovember 10, 2009 - 6:31AMThe very changes needed to strengthen the education system and raise standards are not h...

Read entire article...

Sign up to our Newsletter...