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School autonomy

Posted by Garry Collins, ETAQ Immediate Past President on 2 May 2015

The following letter was submitted for inclusion in The Australian on 30 April 2015 but it was not selected for publication.

Christopher's Pyne's pillars of schooling

I wonder does Education Minister Christopher Pyne realize that there is a logical contradiction between two of the federal government's policy pillars relating to the nation's schools ("Four pillars for education", 29/4).

The first pillar calls for a "robust" curriculum. What Pyne doesn't say in his piece in yesterday's edition is that it is not envisaged that schools will have any autonomy about what curriculum they teach.

At the same time, he claims that greater autonomy in governance and administration will improve educational outcomes. What a flexible thing school autonomy apparently is.

Pyne suggests that his push for greater school autonomy is supported by research. Fair minded people familiar with the research literature would see this as an overstatement bordering on a fib.

Author: 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
Maureen Michael 1324 days ago
Is Minister Pyne indicating that we will all need to adopt the Fleming approach to literacy? He has 4 pillars too!
Garry Collins 1322 days ago
Thanks, Maureen. I do believe that yours is the first comment that I have had had on one of my blog posts here. I was not aware that John Fleming was a proponent of "pillars" but of course it is a popular metaphor. The ones I was referring to can be found here http://www.studentsfirst.gov.au/. As I recall, the Newman state government had a four (or maybe five) policy for the Queensland economy. Since John Fleming is now Deputy Chair of AITSL maybe approaches that he favours will get preferential support.
Garry Collins 1322 days ago
I meant to type: a four (or maybe five) pillar policy for the Queensland economy.

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