Wow, withing minutes of someone Tweeting how the NSW Priemier and Federal Prime Minister would announce their mutual love and tell the population we are having the Gonski reform, the Telegraph journalists were applauding and gushing praise on Twitter. Meanwhile the ABC offer some actual information on the announcement.
Clearly this is politics and not education. Gonski himself has distanced himself from the Gillard re-mix. The Higher Education sector is going to see further reductions over and above the last billion ripped out. Sydney University has a good post on this topic. Unlike K12, comprised of a giant public hierarchy, Catholic alliances-heirachies and loosely competitive private schools, Universities are facing fierce international competition. Universities in Australia are funded 25th out of 29 in this competition, despite HE being the 4th largest EXPORT PRODUCT of the nation. Cutting $2.3 billion seems to the price of re-election.
However, like ‘the boats, the boats, the boats’, the government is saying “Gonski, Gonski” at every opportunity. It’s part of the “slippery slope” fallacy which appeals to the likes of Telegraph journlists.
My issue with this announcement (and the reaction) it is quite simple. The DER was a multi-billion dollar experiment which has quietly expired with little or no evaluation or evidenced improvement. In fact the spin-doctor ministers are saying “education is broken” is now the the second verse of the Gonski-rhyme. Last year DER was constantly sold as ‘changing classrooms’. It seems that either that or this is a lie. But the only truth in politics is the one people believe – and I’m sure that there are several leaders having a celebratory lunch over the new money that’s about to show up.
Those who run Australian educational systems, have already decided who get’s what. That was done in Canberra without Gonski. It won’t be Gonski or an independent review panel (watching the public purse) that oversees where the billions will go.
It will be spent by and on the same people who received the DER money. Nothing has changed, certainly not any vision, culture or educational rationale – the manta is the same. The process of creating a casualised workforce, removal of long-term commitment to long term employment will continue – while the media fawn over any tid-bit that floats past of Twitter – as they don’t give a rats arse about graduate and casual under-employment or the reduction of student support services – that’s not edumedia news, that’s boring real-world stuff.
Perhaps the Telegraph reporters know something I don’t – perhaps they have an app that is so good it will prepare kids for the rigor of higher education. I seriously doubt this new money will see new opportunities, new leaders, new ideas and new directions. It’s just a deal between politicians and those in education whom so far seem reluctant to try new things unless they personally believe it (and get an iron-clad guarantee) they will stay in charge.
It’s great to have more money for K12, but before we load up the Kingswood and drop off the billions – perhaps the journalists might consider asking – what exactly is this going to be spent on? – more IWBs, leader-conferences, overseas trips (for leaders), head office refits and Deloitte reviews probably. In the mean time, in the actual workplace, the social agenda of reducing job-security and workplace conditions will continue I assume. Oh happy days.
Gonski … another meme.