AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL FOR THE DEFENCE OF GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS - D.O.G.S.
PRESS RELEASE 130#.
25 January 2006
THE OFFICIAL HISTORY OF STATE AID
IN AUSTRALIA FROM COLONIAL TIMES TO THE PRESENT?
Letter from Brian Caldwell
DOGS were dumbfounded to receive a letter from Brian Caldwell who features in various earlier Press Releases (See Press Releases 126, 50 and 51). His signature appears over an organization known as "Educational Transformations" and he is requesting the DOGS to "participate" in a history of State Aid to non-government schools in Australia, a project commissioned by the Department of Education, Science and Training.
The Project Team
His team of "researchers" from "Educational Transformations" include Brian Caldwell himself, Professor Richard Selleck and Dr. Ian Wilkinson and Jessica Harris and Dr. Pam Dettman. Jessica Harris is connected to the Education group at the University of Melbourne. DOGS cannot find any strong promoters of public education in this group. On the contrary. A Google search indicates that a Pam Dettman for example, was a former head of the Junior School Head of Methodist Ladies College Melbourne. According to information provided by Brian Caldwell, Dr. Ian Wilkinson has taught in several independent schools in Victoria and is currently projects officer with the Caulfield Grammarians' Association. DOGS information indicates that not one of these researchers can be regarded as committed to the well being or future for the Australian public education system. The real question of course is their commitment/connection to the private school system and their part in the State Aid issue of the last forty years.
Why the Colonial Origins of State Aid?
One of the most interesting features of this project arises from the following statement:
"The aim is to produce a scholarly work dealing with State Aid from colonial origins to the present, written in a form that will be read by policy makers, practitioners, researchers and the wider community. "
wonder why a Federal Government which only seriously entered the field
of education in the 1960s and in relation to State Aid to the private
sector in the 1950s wish to go back to 1788. There are already
established historical interpretations of this period in relation to the
rise of public education and the abolition of aid to private schools
which enabled the public system to survive and expand. There are also
Roman Catholic interpretations of this period and triumphalist histories
of that system.
Can their current policies ever be legitimated ethically or historically ? History itself will be the judge of the Caldwells, the Howards et al.
Reliance on Published Sources
Brian Caldwell also tell us that the project team will
"be drawing extensively on published sources but there is a need to complement these sources with information provided by people who have played an important role in recent decades:"
We note the words "extensively", "complement" and "recent decades". Clearly, if the project team is going to extensively rely on published sources, there is going to be a very one sided account of what has occurred because the private and privatizing school faction have gained control of the political, university and bureaucratic information networks. Anything written about state aid since the 1960s has been largely one sided - and that side has never been favorable to public education. The words "complement" indicate the subsidiary role of any contrary point of view. The meaning of the term "recent decades" is oddly vague, especially in light of the fact that they are going to revisit "colonial times".
Letter to Federal Authorities
The Caldwell letter to DOGS raises a number of issues regarding an official version of the history of State Aid written under the auspices of the Howard Government and managed by Brian Caldwell. DOGS have requested further information in the following letting to Lisa Paul, Secretary, Federal Department of Education, Science and Training. This letter will also be sent to Julie Bishop, the incoming Minister, when she is established in her portfolio.
REQUEST FOR DETAILS ABOUT A PROJECT TO WRITE THE HISTORY OF STATE AID TO NON-GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS IN AUSTRALIA COMMISSIONED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION SCIENCE AND TRAINING
We are in receipt of a letter from an organisation known as “EducationalTransformations” signed by a Professor Brian Caldwell. We enclose a copy of the letter received from the above mentioned body.
We seek clarification with the matters raised in the first paragraph of the letter which reads:
“We are writing to invite your participation in a project to write a history of State Aid to non-government schools in Australia commissioned by the Department of Education, Science and Training and being undertaken by a team of researchers from “Educational Transformations.”
In the light of the above we ask the following:
1. Have you commissioned this body to carry out this project?
2. How did this project arise?
3. Was this project offered for tender and if so, which organisations/persons applied?
4. What exactly are the terms of the project brief?
5. Where and with whom did the idea for the project originate. For example, did “Educational Transformations” suggest the project?
6. Is there, in the project brief a provision for a balanced view?
7. Could you please provide us with all the publicly available information from the start of this commissioned project?
8. Are there deadlines for this project?
9. How much has the Federal Government set aside to pay for this project?
We would appreciate a prompt reply as we have been requested to participate in this project.
DOGS WILL KEEP READERS INFORMED ON THE ABOVE MATTER.
For further discussion on these matters, listen to 3CR, 855 on the am dial
12.30 p.m. next Saturday.
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|Last modified:Wednesday, 25 January 2006|