US-style privately-owned public schools should be rolled out in Australia to boost academic standards, a new report by libertarian think-tank, the Centre for Independent Studies argues.
Privately-run public schools, or charter schools as they are known in the US, are funded by the government and run by private entities, which have full autonomy over the schools' finances, staffing and curriculum.
Charter schools are one step beyond the old Kennett style 'schools of the future'. charter schools have been a disaster in the US but of course the right-wing 'think' tank promoting the idea loves the notion of private companies running state schools.
Critics argue charter schools do not achieve better results than public schools, and claim increasing competition in the sector leads to greater inequality. They also warn against for-profit charter schools, pointing to evidence overseas of financial mismanagement and fraud in the sector.
Under former Liberal Premier Jeff Kennett, Victorian public schools were given more autonomy over budget and staffing, making Victoria one of the most autonomous education systems in the country.
Victorian Education Minister James Merlino said autonomy was leading to "some great local innovation" in schools, but policies under the previous Napthine government's "autonomy agenda" – which included plans to set up "federated" school councils and give parents a greater say in the running of schools – resulted in "cuts and abandonment".
Australian Education Union Victorian president Meredith Peace said the government should be focusing on supporting under-resourced schools rather than boosting competition in the system.
"In Victoria in recent years, schools have become increasingly isolated and are forced to compete more and more with each other with limited funding. This is producing a wider equity gap and a wider gap for our kids, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds."
Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne said the federal government is on track to increase autonomy in Australian schools, and has allocated $70 million to make public schools more independent. ( Pyne would love to go down this path.)
After over a decade of Charter schools in the US But research and experience from around the US show that these schools are failing to serve students with the greatest needs, disrupting communities, increasing racial segregation of schools, and introducing new kinds of corruption into education, all while producing similar or worse educational outcomes than public schools. The evidence is mounting that placing education in the hands of unelected privately run organizations is a disaster for students, teachers, and communities.
for more information on the U.S. experience of Charter schools refer to this very interesting story: http://isreview.org/issue/71/case-against-charter-schools