Presentation on theme: "Howard’s 2006 Australia Day Speech “ Australian history taught without any sense of structured narrative…” … a fragmented stew of themes and issues … dominated."— Presentation transcript:
Howard’s 2006 Australia Day Speech “ Australian history taught without any sense of structured narrative…” … a fragmented stew of themes and issues … dominated by Marxist, feminist or Green interpretations of history … history teachers have succumbed to a postmodern culture of relativism where any objective record of achievement is questioned or repudiated
Whatever happened to Captain Cook? New Federal Education Minister vows to reverse the tide of political correctness that has swept Captain James Cook, who claimed Australia for the British crown in 1770, and other European ‘colonisers’ from the national school curriculum.
...our classrooms need to make a date with the facts... too much political bias not enough pivotal facts and dates There will be a radical overhaul of the way history is taught which will see a return to the narrative form of history free of political interpretation
a "narrative" approach to the subject based on dates and facts a record of achievements a new "coalition of the willing" to make this happen
“The Howard Government: Ten Years of Achievement for Australia”
Australian Value #5 Honesty and Trustworthiness Be honest, sincere and seek the truth
The Howard Government: Ten Years of Achievement for Australia March 2 1996: First Howard Government elected First Howard Cabinet: Minister for Schools, Vocational Education and Training, and Minister Assisting the Minister for Finance for Privatisation Hon Dr David Kemp, MP
The Context of the Times Howard Government came to power in the decade of GATS and trade agreements intent on opening up all Government services, including education, to foreign-based corporate competition Of the world's 100 largest economies, 47 are now transnational corporations. That means that about 136 countries are substantially smaller than the giant companies - like Mitsubishi, American Express, Cargill and Northern Telecom Value of the global education ‘market’ approx $2trillion pa
The Context of the Times Key Institutions: The World Bank IMF World Trade Organisation Chicago School of Economics
Political and economic life dominated by: Corporate globalisation Commercialisation Privatisation Deregulation Market principles applied to education, health etc – competition is all Massive transfers of wealth
Howard’s Productivity Commission first Productivity Commission Report 1996: Stocktake of Progress in Microeconomic Reform education section relied heavily on the World Bank’s 1995 publication: Policies and Strategies for Education main theme – a rejection of the idea that education should be treated differently from what it called ‘normal goods and services’ because of what it dismissed as “equity and social justice objectives” concern for equity ‘”no excuse not to apply economic concepts like productivity, incentives and competition to service delivery in education”
provided the ideological rationale for the increasingly aggressive war against government schools and the most massive transfer of school funding in Australian history argued strongly for reducing the distinction between public and private education insisted on competition between public and private education to ‘encourage value for money in service delivery’ through “implementing funding arrangements which give clients the freedom to choose between providers, and give providers the flexibility to respond to those preferences”
Funding ‘Choice’ Increases through the Enrolment Benchmark Adjustment Introduced by Kemp in 1996 Budget Loss to public schools of almost $128 million between 1996 and 2001 $11.9 million in 1998 $21.1 million in 1999 $43.5 million in 2000 $51.3 million in 2001
3 October 1998 Second Howard Government elected David Kemp remains as Education Minister 10th November 2001 Third Howard Government elected Brendan Nelson becomes Federal Minister for Education 9th October 2004 Fourth Howard Government elected Nelson remains as Education Minister January 2006 – ministerial reshuffle – Julie Bishop becomes Education Minister
EBA replaced by SES funding model in 2001 Heavily biased to the wealthiest schools Establishment Grants [1999 → ]to encourage the growth of new private schools Over 60% of new schools have 60 or less students – no assessment of long-term viability
Sectarian and divisive politics of envy? OR The politics of exclusion and inequality?
Public Schools on the Skids Literacy and numeracy are in decline Australia is falling behind internationally Our schools aren't turning out scientists and mathematicians Schools aren’t turning out kids with the right skills for the workforce – threatening Australia’s economy and ability to be competitive in an era of economic globalisation
Rise in obesity of primary school children because they’re taught by middle-aged female teachers who aren’t into PE Boys are failing because there are (a) not enough male teacher/role models in primary school and (b) too many feminist teachers/middle-aged women past their use by date
MARATHON man Robert de Castella warns John Howard that the typical profile of “ageing female'' primary school teachers is contributing to the nation's obesity epidemic. Backing the Howard Government's push to hire more male teachers, de Castella tells the Prime Minister's Science, Engineering and Innovation Council that many middle- aged women are uncomfortable with “kicking around a soccer ball''.
“It's extremely important that we get more young people, and young blokes especially, into primary schools so they can pick up a footy and get out there and kick it around with the boys and the girls,'' Mr Nelson said. Education Minister Brendan Nelson backs the comments, saying 80per cent of primary school teachers are women and one in three are over 45.
Dropout rates are terrible Conspiracy of silence to prevent parents receiving information about school performance Public schools, teachers and principals are “failing” - desperately opposed to accountability measures which will reveal how hopeless they are
Marxist, feminist or Green history teachers fail to teach the facts – too much political bias and not enough pivotal facts and dates being taught in public schools public schools are ‘values-free zones’ and/or “too political” must be forced to teach values of care and compassion; integrity; doing your best; respect; fair go; responsibility; freedom; understanding, tolerance and inclusion; honesty and trustworthiness
In summary Direct attacks on public schools and educators, values, cultural tolerance, understanding …. Decade of funding arrangements which have seen a massive transfer of public funds to the private school sector Preferential treatment of private schools/sector Shifting costs to students and families Instrumentalist view of education/curriculum Attack on the professionalism of teachers and principals All within general context of widening social and economic inequality
A Voice from the Past The language, the directions, and the practices of our work are being thoroughly appropriated by the economic and technocratic rationalists. These ‘barbarians’ have undertaken a massive, deliberate, and systematic process of undermining, and then dismantling public education. Right across the public sector there is a process of ‘legalised looting’ of our public utilities (including our schools and education systems) as they are systemically stripped and prepared for a massive fire sale to the private sector, at bargain basement prices…..
By the time the restructuring of education is complete, public education as we know and experience it, will no longer exist. Gone will be universal, equitably resourced, quality public education, and in its place will be a variety of franchised stand-alone institutions, competing against one another for students and shrinking resources. What the so-called ‘consumers’ of education will get, will depend even more than in the past, on a capacity to pay.
The Future? Education Professor Emeritus Arthur G. Wirth of Washington University on the future of education in America: Well- educated elites will withdraw further into their secure enclaves, living a life with excellent health care, challenging work, effective schools, global travel, and international electronic linkages. The urban and rural poor will live largely out of sight in their decaying communities. The despair and hopelessness of their children will be facts of life.
HOPE The Importance of Campaigning and Collective Action Asylum seeker/refugee campaign ACTU IR campaign
Some ‘Coalitions of the Willing’ I’d like to see Coalition for Responsible Assessment Coalition for Genuine Accountability Coalition for Fair Funding of Public Schools ?
The better we educate ourselves about these issues, the more we talk about the possibilities of organising society around human needs, the more connections we draw with other sectors of society as they struggle for justice, the more likely it is that we will build the capacity to revitalise our embattled schools and our unions. Bob Peterson rethinkingschools.org