The Melbourne newspaper, The Age, reports on Joel Klein's visit this week. Australia's Ed Minister Julia Gillard Agrees with Rupert Murdoch, who possibly wants to be the Aussie Bill Gates, who has criticised Australia's schools. The first stage of the corporate takeover of education is to undermine public confidence in the schools. A Nation At Risk started the ball rolling in the US 25 years ago. (UFT/AFT President Al Shanker's signing off on it also started the ball rolling on teacher union complicity in the corporate attack.)
This article punches some big holes in the entire scheme. Here's an excerpt:
The only qualification that Murdoch has to judge our schools is that he owns about 70 per cent of capital city daily newspaper circulation. When billionaire media magnates speak, the rest of us listen.
The same cannot be said for the other American citizen, New York schools chancellor Joel Klein, who Gillard has brought to Australia, "impressed" by his education reforms, especially school league tables, which had produced "remarkable outcomes".
Rubbish. Internet comments on the test results show the improvement in school performance measurement comes from manipulating the tests by prepping students. Klein also makes claims about the results that cannot be supported by any fair analysis. Statisticians [Eduwonkette] who have examined the results say they can be explained by random error.
Klein, a corporate lawyer and political apparatchik, is here to spruik the virtues of Gillard's wacky plan to publish a rating system for schools. Critics point out that the system, based on experience in Britain and the US, "names and shames" poorly performing schools whose output is predictable based on socio-economic background and lack of funding.
The scheme's great political virtue is that it allows governments without any real commitment to raising the standard of poorer schools to appear to be doing something.
The entire piece.
A NY Times City Room blog piece on Klein's visit is here.
Graphic by David