Sunday, 23 May 2010

An ingenious political solution

Reading a lengthy New York Times feature on what Julia Gillard might call an American education revolution, I came across an ingenious device get politicians in New York State to confront the teachers unions and introduce the system of charter schools that are publicly financed schools open to any child by lottery but run by entities other than the conventional local school district.
Those who run these charter schools, normally non-profit organisations, are accountable for the school’s performance, says the article, but they are free to manage as they wish. That includes the freedom to hire teachers who are not union members.
Then came the interesting bit about how that opposition was overcome:
A law allowing charter schools in New York was passed in 1998 over intense opposition from the teachers’ union. It survived because there was a Republican governor, George Pataki, and then only because Pataki attached it to a bill giving a pay raise to legislators.
 Perhaps when Ms Gillard becomes Prime Minister we might see a repeat of this tactic! And don't be surprised if she is instead still Education Minister to see more changes to our education system based on what the Obama administration has named "The Race to the Top". The article outlining some of the recent changes to government schools is well worth a read,
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