Donnelly: The politics of school choice
Kevin Donnelly writes at Quadrant Online:
In the 2007 election campaign it was clear that Kevin Rudd and the then opposition education spokesman, Stephen Smith, had learned a lesson from the past. In the same way that the ALP presented itself as economically conservative, the party’s education platform followed a middle-of-the-road agenda.
Kevin Rudd argued for a back-to-basics curriculum, holding schools and teachers accountable for performance. On funding, he stated that the existing socio-economic status model employed to apportion funds to non-government schools (introduced by the Howard government) would be kept until 2012 and that no non-government school would suffer financially if the ALP was elected to government. In his newly-gained enthusiasm for school choice, Rudd even went as far as arguing that if parents are not happy with their local school, they should “vote with their feet” and move their children to a better one.
In response to the announcement that the funding model for non-government schools would be protected, traditional ALP supporters such as the Australian Education Union condemned the policy about-face. In the words of the current AEU president, Angelo Gavrielatos, “To maintain that indefensible model until 2012 makes a mockery of everything the ALP has said about introducing a needs-based funding model.”
Read Kevin Donnelly’s essay at Quadrant Online.
Australian Conservative has available a few copies of Kevin Donnelly’s most recent book Dumbing Down – all about outcomes-based and politically correct education and the impact of the “Culture wars” on our schools.