Australia's Education Revolution
During the lead up to the 2007 federal election, Kevin Rudd’s promise of an education revolution was centre stage and a vote winner for the ALP opposition.
Copying the 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.
Whether a national curriculum, national testing, national teacher registration, holding schools accountable or merit-based pay for teachers, the reality is that state and territory schools are being radically transformed.
Is Rudd’s education revolution successful and will standards improve? Based on the last 12 months the answer is ‘no’.
The cost of the computer program has blown out by millions, the waste and mismanagement of the school infrastructure program is being investigated by the Auditor-General and schools are losing their independence and being micro-managed by Canberra.
The very changes needed to raise standards, like school vouchers where the money follows the child and more parents can choose non-government schools and giving schools the autonomy and flexibility to get on with the job, are denied and the danger is that nothing will improve.
This collection of opinion pieces, primarily taken from The Australian newspaper, traces the rise and fall of Rudd's education revolution and provides a detailed account of Australia's education wars. Issues include, school accountability and league tables, teacher merit pay, why Catholic and independent schools should be funded by government, why standards have fallen and the impact of Australia's dumbed down and politically correct curriculum. Dr Donnelly also details what needs to be done to have a real education revolution, including how to strengthen government schools.
Dr Kevin Donnelly is Director of Education Standards Institute (ESI) and one of Australia’s leading education commentators and authors. Kevin taught for 18 years in secondary schools, writes regularly for Australia’s print media, including The Australian and The Courier Mail, and appears on radio and TV.
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