When Julia Gillard became Minister for Education and Everything Else That Moves, as well as de facto Prime Minister, she expressed a desire to have a conversation about school funding. This politics of inclusion (social inclusion is one of her many portfolios after all) was short-lived and it became clear that conversation was code for acceptance of the status quo. So Julia went off and had a conversation of her own with utopian dreamers whose vision of the good society revolves around testing regimes, job credentialism, disciplinary control of schools (particularly teachers), and whose heights of ecstasy are only achieved when public schools are closed down at a rapid rate. Their concept of worth, of good, is thoroughly corporatised and their utopia, of course, thus a nightmarish dystopia. That a social democrat, one who had genuine egalitarian tendencies, can become captive of such narrow thinking speaks volumes about our times. Gillard is now part of a political machine that grinds on relentlessly and strips policy-making of critical thought, rendering it ultimately an instrument of bureaucratic apparatchiks some of whom look and sound strangely like Godwin Gretch. Poor old Gretch, you see, is simply the embodiment of a soulless Public Service whose master in reality is the corporate dollar. Patients running the asylum becomes the order of the day not an aberration.
Recommended CitationAshbolt, Anthony, Public education and the public good, Illawarra Unity - Journal of the Illawarra Branch of the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History, 10(1), 2010, 54-57.