AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL FOR THE DEFENCE OF GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS
PRESS RELEASE 308
THE BONUS CULTURE IN SCHOOLS
Over the past few decades we have seen numerous attempts to undermine the public ownership, public control, and public accountability of our public schools systems. The New Right mantra that private is better than public, which, given the history of successful service delivery in this country, is ‘un-Australian’, is still emanating from the think-tanks advising Julia Gillard and State Education Ministers.
In an article entitled ‘The Bonus Culture in Schools’ in the New South Wales Teachers Federation Journal, Education, for August 17 2009, John Dixon, the Assistant General Secretary (Communications and Administration) wrote:
Over the past few decades we have seen the fashionable trends among some governments, educational bureaucrats and principals’ groups towards ‘letting the managers manage’ and devolution of educational systems to individual schools, allegedly on the altar of ‘flexibility’ and ‘efficiency’….The people who push for greater principals’ power, often with religious fervour, sometimes fail to point out the dangers to principals and others when things go very wrong.
He goes on to give an example of what happens to the idea of ‘bonuses’, when these are transferred from the financial to the education sector. We have discovered in the last two years what happened when young financial wiz kids in the banking system chased after bonuses with extraordinary ‘financial products’. The following story from England, the home of league tables, trust schools ( often faith schools) and privatisation indicates that the ‘bonus’ culture is equally dangerous for public education.
Sir Alan Davies, the head teacher of the Copland community
school in Brent, north-west
Why was he suspended?
Roberts found that in 2004-2005 Sir Alan received a 65,000 pound bonus and his deputies 45,000 pound bonuses each and last year Sir Alan received an 80,000 pounds bonus on top of his 100,000 pounds salary.
Sir Alan admitted to himself taking thousands of
pounds in bonuses. It is further alleged that up to one million pounds was to
the school’s senior management team over seven years. And now the school’s
governing body has been sacked by the schools secretary Ed Balls. Only private
Mr Roberts has long been a union activist and fierce opponent of academies. He, along with 99% of the staff at Copland opposed it’s being turned into a trust schools in which the head (principal) had more autonomy and could be paid bonuses. Although Sir Alan attempted to suspend him – for other reasons- he continued to play the part of whistleblower.
Now Roberts is pleased with himself. He hopes the investigation will lead to real questions being asked about what he calls the ‘bonus culture’ in schools. Also, he believes good will come of it at Copland. He pointed out that one year’s bonus for Sir Alan was equivalent to the textbook budget, and the school was very dilapidated. He also hopes he had made school privatisation harder to justify, for in a trust school or an academy it would have been almost impossible to stop the Copland bonuses. A full account of this story is available at the Guardian online at http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2009/jul/07/hank-roberts-copland-community-school
DOGS point out that our politicians and private church school operators should be held to account for the extraordinary wastage of public money on the wealthy church schools of our community, while our poor State schools are expected to put up with the crumbs. Our public school teachers and parents are also expected to treat education as a commodity with performance testing like leagues tables and a bonus culture for principals and teachers.
EDUCATION IS A RIGHT NOT A COMMODITY FOR THOSE WHO CAN PAY FOR THE FIRST CLASS TICKET TO HEAVEN AND THE GOOD JOB
DEFEND PUBLIC EDUCATION AND STOP STATE AID TO PRIVATE RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS.
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