July 20th 2013

  Buy Issue 2904

Articles from this issue:

EDITORIAL: Beware the agenda behind the local government referendum

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: Garnaut calls for new industries, lower dollar

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Rudd leaps back into limelight and barnstorms country

VICTORIA: Electoral redistribution could favour ALP, Greens

OPINION: Australia's electoral system is 'a scandalous shambles'

SCHOOLS: Can Rudd be trusted again on education?

ECONOMIC AFFAIRS: 'Prophetic' Garnaut warns of belt-tightening to come

MIDDLE EAST: Egyptian army ousts Morsi in show of force

UNITED STATES: US Supreme Court's assault on traditional marriage

UNITED STATES: Obama uses children for homosexual propaganda

SOCIETY: An interview with Allan Carlson

LIFE ISSUES: Two myths about those who defend the unborn

LIFE ISSUES: Are calls for euthanasia just about avoiding pain?


CINEMA: Man of Steel (rated M)

BOOK REVIEW Climate-change fraud exposed

BOOK REVIEW Enchanting time-travel tale for young adults

Books promotion page

Can Rudd be trusted again on education?

by Dr Kevin Donnelly

News Weekly, July 20, 2013

Kevin Rudd coined the expression “Australia’s education revolution” during his first term as prime minister and has long considered education a key policy issue fundamental to future prosperity and wellbeing.

In the context of the forthcoming election it’s reasonable to expect Rudd, once again, to put education centre stage and to argue that an ALP government is best placed to strengthen schools, raise standards and improve teacher effectiveness. The reality will prove otherwise.

Not only is Rudd’s record on education during his first term as prime minister characterised by costly, ineffective and wasteful policy initiatives; but, in addition, the Australian Education Bill 2013, passed on June 26 by the Senate, is inherently flawed, counterproductive and educationally unsound.

In the 2007 election campaign, Rudd boasted that computers were the toolbox of the future and that his government would deliver them to schools across Australia.

Five years later and the consensus is that the billion-dollar program is plagued by obsolete computers, unaffordable maintenance costs and a growing realisation that IT is not the educational panacea advocates once claimed.

The multi-billion-dollar Building the Education Revolution infrastructure program is also a prime example of how not to implement public policy. As a result of being rushed and poorly conceived it led to mismanagement, shoddy and substandard buildings and cost overruns.

It’s also true, notwithstanding the promise to raise standards, that literacy and numeracy results have not improved as a result of Rudd’s education revolution.

Since 2008 there has been no statistically significant improvement in the majority of Australia’s NAPLAN literacy and numeracy tests.

As the new Prime Minister, Rudd has inherited a Gillard-inspired school funding model and National Plan for School Improvement, embodied in the Australian Education Bill 2013, that will have a profound, deleterious impact on the nation’s classrooms.

Submissions by a number of independent and Catholic school authorities to the Senate inquiry into the bill argue that it is confusing, opaque and based on faulty data. They are also critical of the fact that most of the funding will not kick in until 2018-19.

As noted by Victoria’s Denis Napthine and Tasmania’s Lara Giddings, two premiers from the opposite ends of the political spectrum, the education bill also unfairly centralises control over education, denying schools the flexibility and autonomy needed to raise standards.

At a time when the consensus is that autonomy, diversity and choice in education are proven characteristics of stronger-performing education systems and schools, best represented by Australia’s non-government schools, the education bill flies in the opposite direction.

Principally it represents a command-and-control model of education policy that destroys the ability of schools, especially independent and Catholic, to chart their own course, innovate and best reflect the needs and aspirations of their communities.

The ALP, represented by Rudd’s education revolution and, more recently, Julia Gillard’s national crusade, cites education as one of its strongest and most successful policy areas.

The reality proves otherwise.

Dr Kevin Donnelly is director of the Melbourne-based Education Standards Institute and author of Educating Your Child: It’s Not Rocket Science! (available from News Weekly Books). This article first appeared in The Australian, June 29, 2013.

Purchase this book at the bookshop:


Join email list

Join e-newsletter list

Your cart has 0 items

Subscribe to NewsWeekly

Research Papers

Trending articles

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE Memo to Shorten, Wong: LGBTIs don't want it

COVER STORY Shorten takes low road to defeat marriage plebiscite

COVER STORY Reaper mows down first child in the Low Countries

COVER STORY Bill Shorten imposes his political will on the nation

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE Kevin Andrews: defend marriage on principles

CANBERRA OBSERVED Coalition still gridlocked despite foreign success

ENVIRONMENT More pseudo science from climate

News and views from around the world

Menzies, myth and modern Australia (Jonathan Pincus)

China’s utterly disgraceful human-rights record

Japan’s cure for childlessness: a robot (Marcus Roberts)

SOGI laws: a subversive response to a non-existent problem (James Gottry)

Shakespeare, Cervantes and the romance of the real (R.V. Young)

That’s not funny: PC and humour (Anthony Sacramone)

Refugees celebrate capture of terror suspect

The Spectre of soft totalitarianism (Daniel Mahoney)

American dream more dead than you thought (Eric Levitz)

Think the world is overcrowded: These 10 maps show why you’re wrong (Max Galka)

© Copyright NewsWeekly.com.au 2011
Last Modified:
November 14, 2015, 11:18 am