I posed a question on Sophie’s thread which is yet to be answered – if Nelson’s mooted enquiry decides to turn English teaching on its head, how will it achieve its aims? The accreditation of teachers and the framing of curricula are state responsibilities. Getting away from the Sawyer/English debate, there are legitimate variations among the states in educational approach – for instance, a lot of Queensland parents and students would agree that having a tertiary score and Senior Certificate results dependent on progressive assessment over Years 11 and 12 is a much better thing (for learning certainly) than staking all your chips on the NSW HSC at the end of Year 12. DEST is a pestilential bureaucracy, which attempts to micro-manage higher and school education, and has done so since the lamentable Dawkins reforms in Canberra. Much as we might be concerned by the state of English education, is the solution centralising power in remote pollies and bureaucratic nooks and crannies in the national capital far from the chalkface? Do we want individual Universities to reframe their education of teachers on the basis of a one size fits all model designed in Canberra by bureaucrats not educators?
The Liberals seem to be determined centralisers these days – perhaps because their recent record of success at State elections is so very poor. No doubt scoring political points is always a factor too. Of course, it’s a trend which has its exceptions – as Tony Abbott proves while saying “don’t tell me your teeth are rotting, and you’ve been waiting three years to see a dentist, blame Bob Carr”.
Has anyone considered what will happen when there’s a Federal Labor government?
You’d think it’d be elementary politics 101 for the Libs to be able to see that if they centralise power in areas like Health, Education and IR one day a Labor government will be able to use the very same powers. It will happen, folks, maybe not in 2007 but some day. In 1993, people were saying British Labour were finished and the Tories would rule forever. But then I guess they think John Howard’s just warming up for a Menzies length reign.
I’m going with the Ronald Reagan line – let’s abolish the Federal Department of Education. Seriously. As John Quiggin one suggestion, let the Feds have Health and the States Education, and let’s be quit of the point-scoring, duplication and cost and blame shifting.