In the “let’s rewrite history to honour me” tome put out by Julia – a little shorter, actually a lot shorter would have been better – there is this alarming paragraph.
Labor’s dominance of the national consensus is not limited to workplace relations. Prime minister Abbott, having lost the argument, spectacularly abandoned his opposition to my school funding reforms… My carefully crafted education reforms – transparency, quality, national curriculum, national standards, funding reform – had destroyed the utility of the Coalition’s political approach. Its business model was broken… So the humiliating backdown came…
Is she having a lend? Carefully crafted education reforms? Transparency?
Has anyone tried to read the turgid and opaque Australian Education Act 2013? And with Garrett and Shorten wheeling and dealing with the states, there is absolutely no transparency at all. There were all sorts of side deals with the states, with the Catholic education system and with the other non-government schools.
In fact, Shorten agreed with the Victorian government that the Australian Education Act would actually be rescinded or substantially amended. He was prepared to agree to anything to get the Victorians to ‘sign’ on. Wow, wow, wow. The legislation had only been passed, with debate cut short with the connivance of the Greens.
But let’s face it, the Gonski reforms are just an unfunded, feel-good thought-bubble which has not been implemented. And by the way, the Coalition did not agree to the big ramp up in funding in Years 5 and 6 – thank the Lord.
All bets are now off and this stuff will be renegotiated with the states, although the arrangements with the non-government schools may stand, I guess.
But how do we judge the actual six years of Labor government and student performance in schools. As I read the data, there has been some improvement at the primary level in WA and Queensland (and note the WA has embarked on its own very substantial school reforms), but otherwise the story is one of declining performance. That’s the score card, not the thought bubble. (Ditto NDIS.)
And the national curriculum? An achievement? This was always a solution in search of a problem and it is now a problem in its own right. Revert to the ex ante position and let the states figure out what is best for its problems. Interstate transfers are actually quite trivial and there is sufficient core for the kids to not have a problem. (A common policy on school starting age would make a much bigger difference.)
(In the past, the Coalition supported the national curriculum. I hope they have realised their mistake.)
So dream on, Jools.