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Charter schools

Posted by Garry Collins, ETAQ Immediate Past President on 7 September 2015

An edited version of the following letter was published in The Australian of Monday 7 September 2015. It had been submitted in response to an opinion piece in the weekend edition. Underlined words were deleted and bracketed ones inserted. The paper's heading was "Rigidities of regulation".

Charter schools

In describing charter schools in the US, Jennifer Buckingham writes that they (says US charter schools) have "greater freedom in employment practices (most charter schools are not unionised)" ("Charter system could be the key to energising underperforming schools", Inquirer, Sep 5-6).

What this probably means in practice is that teachers in charter schools would be subject to exploitation without anyone to defend their interests. No doubt this would result in higher rates of teacher burn-out and disillusionment than are already disturbingly evident.

If local control is so obviously better, shouldn't we be trying charter police stations and army units as well? Surely these are also hampered by what Buckingham describes as the rigidities of regulation.

Garry Collins, ETAQ Immediate Past PresidentAuthor: Garry Collins, ETAQ Immediate Past President
About: Garry Collins was ETAQ President from mid July 2005 to 15 March 2014. He taught English in state high schools for around 35 years and now tutors in English curriculum courses in the School of Education at the University of Queensland.
Tags: General news
Jason Nichols 1648 days ago
Charter schools are nothing more than the privatisation of education. There is big money to be made, as the experiences in the United States and Sweden demonstrate. Governments, instead of funding public schools, hand over money to private corporations. Some of these funds are used for schooling; the rest is profit. In Sweden - a pioneer in charter schools ("friskolor", literally "free schools") - the biggest operators are private equity firms, making those responsible for the education of children not education departments, but investment fund managers.

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