27 NOVEMBER  2008  





Business and Private Profit have no Place in Public Education.

 Public Education is not the plaything of a business community. The corporate sector has  bankrupted itself and our financial system.

 As Sharon Beder wrote in her article entitled 'Big Business Dominated Education Planning' in the Sydney Morning Herald  November 26, 2008:

Education is not a business and corporations that have made such bad judgements with regard to their core business, like banks, shouldn't be poking their gnomic noses into our schools.

Public schools should be built, funded, owned, operated and supported from the public purse. Education policy and practice should, in the final analyses be determined by those committed in word and deed to the public education system, be they parents, citizens, teachers, administrators, etc.

The Federal and State governments have failed dismally to adequately fund our public education sector. They have diverted billions of dollars into the private sectarian sector and, as predicted in the 1960s, we are left with under-funded public schools and ridiculous duplication of facilities. Adding insult to injury, Julia Gillard and her advisers want to punish disadvantaged public schools further and, hand them over to big business.

Is this the privatised Education Revolution Rudd and Gillard believe we have to have? 

Public Education a Right, not a Charity:

Public Education underpins our democratic society. For this reason alone, it must be a right, and not a charity. It must be free, secular and universal, open to all children.

Business should pay their proper taxes into the public Treasury and those taxes should be used for the public good. Politicians should account to taxpayers for expenditure of those moneys. If, instead of inventing taxation minimisation schemes,  the corporate sector paid proper taxes, funding of public education should never be a problem.

Public Education Should be Supported by Company Taxation not Company Charity

Since 1985, the rate of company taxation in Australia has fallen from 46% in 1985 to 30% in 2008. This does not compare favourably with Japan and the USA where company taxation on January 1, 2008 was 40.69% in Japan and 40% in the USA. Taxes have increasingly fallen upon the individual income earner and consumer.

Budget papers indicate that in the year 2007-2008, individual taxation yielded $126.1 billion; company represented $64.7 billion and GST $44.4 billion. Taxpayers may remember that the GST was the tax we had to have for a quality public education system. So why can't the public schools get the at least $2.9 billion extra per annum they estimate as a minimum requirement?

 Imagine if the NAB had contributed at the rate of even 35% company tax, not even 40% required in the USA. There would be at least an extra $10 billion per year from company taxation  for education, health and welfare. Instead of forcing the companies to pay a reasonable tax rate to assist education, Julia Gillard grovels to the NAB for a mere $5 million. But if the ALP required NAB to pay only 35% company tax another  $500 million would be available from the public Treasury to pay for Education.

So, why grovel for a mere $5 million and abdicate responsibility for a first class public education system, when she could obtain 100 times more, namely $500 million from the NAB for the public Treasury with a 35% company tax?  

Business Involvement Makes a Mockery of Accountability and Transparency

The recent visit of Joel Klein to Australia vividly illustrates the difference between business transparency and government transparency - bad as it is. Business transparency equals private in confidential transparency. Taxpayers have been put on notice by the differential behaviour of the reporting of Julia Gillard and Joel Klein and his corporate cronies.

There were three major events arranged for Mr. Joel Klein, the New York City Chancellor. There were:

  • Leading Transformation Change in Schools Forum ( open to Media) 24 November 2008. One hundred educational leaders attended this forum.

  • A National Press Club Address ( open to the media) 25 November 2008.

  • A Corporate Dinner hosted by UBS ( Union Bank of Switzerland) 26 November 2008 .The theme of this dinner was 'Strengthening Links between Business, Community and Schools'.

Only Gillard has provided information on the above. She provided approximately five pages of a speech she gave at the 24 November Forum; and three pages of an address at the dinner for Joel Klein on 26 November 

DOGS have been unable to discover any public contribution or speeches from Joel Klein, his educational associates or his corporate supporters.

Is this the kind of accountability and transparency Julia Gillard is preparing us for in the future?

The Principle of Commercial in Confidence for Business and Public Accountability for Public Education Don't Mix.

Business should not be involved with public education because at no stage can the taxpayer/citizen really know whether they are in possession of the truth of any dealing with the corporate sector. The appeal to the principle of 'commercial in confidence' effectively stymies any freedom of information application and make the principles of public accountability and public transparency a nonsense.

Senate Standing Committee on Education, Employment and Workplace Relations : Schools Assistance Bill 2008

The appeal to the principle of commercial in confidence is a favourite of the private sector. It has recently been raised in the above Senate Standing Committee. DOGS quote an example from a Senate Hansard, 19 November 2008, p. 33-34:

Dr. Schnagl ( Principal, Ivanhoe Girls Grammar School and Vice Chairman, Association of Independent Schools of Victoria) ) ..I think there is some anxiety over the compulsory publication of all funding sources. ...We are very happy to report confidentially, but we are a commercial entity.

CHAIR ( Senator Gavin Marshall): Are you going to make the commercial in confidence argument. Maybe you should make that.

Dr. Schnagl: I was just going to say that I cannot see that any public good is served by putting all our sources of funding on the front page of a newspaper. I think reporting them to government is fine, but we do have to run as a viable business. There are times when we are spending money investigating a new option that we do not think that should be disclosed....that is the commercial in confidence argument. ...

CHAIR: Providing information to government is not public accountability; it is government accountability. What we are actually talking about is public accountability.

Elsewhere in the transcript, private school representatives claimed that even a donation was 'commercial in confidence'.

Toxic Effects of Business Involved in Public Education

Business principles not only have a toxic effect upon public accountability and transparency in public education. There is potentially an even more deleterious effect on public education if it becomes involved with business. The corporate sector contains a large element of private school supporters who adhere to both 'religious' and 'market' fundamentalism. Citizen/taxpayers are now expected to socialise their losses.

 'Religious' and 'market' fundamentalism are largely responsible for the current financial crises confronting our Western democracies. Their leaders have proved themselves both greedy and incompetent. In the United States citizens speak openly of before and after 'The Crash'.

Why should citizens allow corporate cowboys  to draw our public school systems into their unholy mess?

Public Education needs the strongest possible fighting force. The continual presence of private school supporters from the business community within  public school ranks  can only enfeeble public education and invite its early demise.

The future of our public school systems, the rights of our child and our children's children are too important to be made the plaything of market fundamentalism and profiteering.

 Effect of Business on Cash-Strapped Disadvantaged Public Schools

Public schools in disadvantaged areas have been systematically deprived of funding by successive governments. If business brings gifts, the cash-strapped principals, parents and students will naturally enough be tempted. But he who pays the piper will eventually call the tune.

Joel Klein and Business

In her article mentioned above, Sharon Beder listed the connection between Joel Klein and 'business-friendly school reforms'. She said that he believed that schools should be run more like businesses and was an enthusiastic promoter of charter schools, some of which are operated for profit. Beder quoted Klein as saying 'We're converting the role of the principal into a CEO role.' He has also been quoted as referring to children as 'cars in a shop, a collection of malfunctions to be adjusted.' Teachers, he said, needed 'to look under the hood' to figure out the 'origins of the pings.'

Joel Klein has been in Australia promoting the business mantra of 'standards', ' assessment', and 'accountability'.  DOGS suggest that business should take a leaf out of their own book and inform taxpayers about the trillions of dollars of credit swaps or derivatives that are currently cannibalising their capitalist system.

Rupert Murdoch repeats the Big Business Mantra

In his Boyer Lectures Rupert Murdoch, the Geelong Church of England Grammar graduate and American citizen felt free to dump on children, teachers and schools in the public system. Since when did he attend or have anything to do with the Australian public education system? Has he deigned to send the children of either his first or his second family to our public schools?

Who is Murdoch to call an underfunded system a 'disgrace'? He declared that things would

'not really improve until we begin setting much higher expectations for our students, for our teachers and for our schools.'

 Please note that he ignores taxpayer's expectation that honest business pays higher taxes; and responsible politicians provide a first rate free secular and universal education system for every Australian child from the Treasury.

Mr Murdoch  advocates that Australian businesses should take an active role in the 'reform' process. Why? Are they losing so much money in their own trading areas? Why do they have to look for profiteering on the educational opportunities of Australian children?

 Julia Gillard's Love-In

Rupert Murdoch:

According to Julia Gillard, Rupert Murdoch is making a hell of a lot of sense when he described the public school system as a disgrace. She also agreed with Murdoch's suggestion that Australian businesses should take an active role in the reform process, saying that she would like to see all major corporations enter a relationship with schools.

Joel Klein:

Julia Gillard is even more enamoured with the ideas of Joel Klein. According to her speech on 26 November, at the dinner in his honour, she said:

'Joel has already had quite an impact on our national debate through his participation in our forum in Melbourne on Monday and the National Press Club yesterday. The core of his message is one I agree with absolutely....no-one who has witnessed Joel's marshalling of evidence over the systemic improvements he made in New York schools could be in any doubt about his effectiveness of his approach. His message is morally compelling and intellectually convincing. '

Julia Gillard must be blinkered to the amazing number of education experts who have torn apart the test results of Joel Klein and the effectiveness of his so-called reforms in New York. DOGS have to date seen no more concerted and savage attacks on the work of any so-called educationist than those on Joel Klein.

DOGS liken Joel Klein's testing of his 'improvements' to the testing of the high jumping skills of students by a physical education teacher. In the first year such a teacher places the high jump bar at four feet  and tests that year's cohort of students. The next year he lowers the bar to two feet, trains the that year's cohort of students, then tests their skill. The improvements in the success rate would be enormous, and looking at his statistics the world would be amazed at his/her teaching skills. This is the kind of improvement Julia Gillard is enamoured with.

 If readers want further well researched information on Joel Klein, DOGS recommend the Save Our Schools site at www.soscanberra.com and The Stupid Country at www.stupidcountry.com. The Sydney Morning Herald, and the Canberra Times, have also published articles critical of Joel Klein. There is also a blog in New York which provides useful information. It is called New York Public School Parents and it is at www.nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com

Julia Gillard, Business and Big Business

From the very start, Julia Gillard has had a special relationship with Business. Unfortunately, this relationship has increased in intensity. She has been in bed with big business from her very first engagement as a Minister of the Crown. Very few people other than members of the DOGS are aware that her first official speech was to the Australian Industry Group on December 3, 2007.This speech is absent from her News Media Releases.

Her position on 26 November 2008 is crystal clear. She not only treats public schools, teachers, and parents with contempt. She can't even mention the word 'public' alongside  'school' or 'education '. Yet she declares at a time when the financial system of the market fundamentalists is crashing down around their ears that: she is

'certain that we will not achieve world class education in every Australian school without the active support and involvement of the business community....' She lists the following organisations:

  • The Australian Industry Group

  • The Australian Business Community

  • National Australia Bank

and states that she 'believes that we need to deepen the partnership between employers and educators as part of our education revolution.' She goes on to promote 'social entrepreneurship', and 'independent not-for-profit delivery organisations (read churches) and a 'national partnership.' She went on to call for 'expressions of interest from organisations or coalitions of organisations who want to play a role in making this happen for Australia'.

DOGS call upon Supporters of Public Education to say NO to Gillard's schemes for interference of Business with Public Education




12.00 noon  ON Saturdays.




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Last modified:Thursday, 27 November 2008