University of Auckland

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What’s left for Education? Free forum at Auckland University on Nov 20th

SPEECH BUBBLESWhat’s left for education? How the Left should or could respond is the topic of this forum with Professor John Morgan and Associate Professor Peter O’Connor.

EVENT DETAILS:  6.30pm, Thursday 20th November, 2014 at University of Auckland, Owen Glenn Building, Lecture Theatre 5 (level 0)

Neoliberalism’s core tenants of free market ideology, unfettered individualism, and choice translated into the education sector sees the development of global metadiscourses or what Stronach (2010) describes as

“ hypernarratives which constitute the first global language of Education and allows politicians the world over to talk nonsense about educational outcomes, while singing from the same hymn sheet.”

The common narrative is one of market force determinism, privatisation, deregulation, high stake testing, and a narrow focus on literacy and numeracy that collapses and destroys a broad and progressive curriculum.

Reforms are called for on the back of government claims of a crisis in education that can only be repaired by market forces.

Charter schools, heavy state investment in private schooling sits alongside an ever decreasing funding of core services in state schools, especially in special education provision.

Teachers are held responsible for children not achieving in national and international testing, and outside factors including poverty and inequality impacting on student success are largely ignored or trivialised.

The return of a National minority government in the election presages a further dismantling of the state’s role in education.

How the Left should or could respond is the topic of this forum.

EVENT:  6.30pm, Thursday 20th November, 2014 at University of Auckland, Owen Glenn Building, Lecture Theatre 5 (level 0)

John Morgan and Peter O’Connor teach and research at the Faculty of Education, University of Auckland.


Professor’s lecture on neoliberalism in education

The effect of rising neoliberalism and globalisation on education will be discussed at a public lecture at the University of Auckland next week.

Professor Christine Sleeter’s lecture; “Confronting neoliberalism; Classroom practice and social justice teaching,” will show how and why neoliberalism has gained ascendancy, how it is impacting on society and schooling, and what teachers can do to prepare an active citizenry who can advocate for their own rights as a diverse public.

neoliberalism meme keanuProfessor Sleeter, of California State University Monterey Bay, will use examples from the United States to critique briefly the kinds of market-based school reforms neoliberalism supports, and argue how a democratic and socially aware society can counter such changes. Because the market-based and privatised-based reforms have gone global, New Zealand is affected as well.

Professor Sleeter will argue that neoliberalism increasingly drives education reform internationally. While public schools face increasingly constrained funding, especially in the wake of the economic recession, market-based reforms that emphasise competition, standardisation, and accountability have expanded, driven by the corporate sector and private venture philanthropy. Who stands to benefit most from such reforms?

She uses three examples of classroom practice from the US – two illustrating what classroom teachers she has worked with do in their classrooms, and one being of a new curriculum resource in Chicago that directly takes on these issues.

Professor Sleeter is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading scholars of multicultural and anti-racist education.

She is Professor Emerita in the College of Professional Studies at California State University at Monterey Bay and remains actively involved in the ongoing development of teacher education programmes there.

Her speech will be held on Thursday 29 May at 5pm in J1 Lecture Theatre, Epsom Campus, Gate 3, 74 Epsom Ave.

What You Should Know About Charter Schools

After the 2011 election, Charter Schools seemed to come out of nowhere.   What are they all about?   Will they improve education?  How do they work?  Let’s look at some of the facts…


Charter Schools are run by sponsors and can be run for profit.  Most are run this way.  They are, effectively, businesses – private schools paid for in part by public money.

Qualified Staff

Worldwide, such schools are often run by people with no background in education, and often employ untrained and unqualified teachers.

Education Not As We Know It

Allowing charter schools (or partnership schools, as they have been re-branded here)  means a truly huge shift in our education system as a whole.   It makes children and their education into a commodity.

Do They Improve a Kid’s Chances?

Evidence that charter schools improve education standards is, to use John Key’s phrase, ropey.   They have not got a good record of dealing with poorer children or improving their education, their exam scores or their future chances.

Want To Know More?  

Assoc. Professor Peter O’Connor from the University of Auckland analyses why Charter schools are being introduced into New Zealand, in the video below.

Peter O’Connor’s YouTube Video about charter schools

Who will win and who will be the losers?

Watch the rather good presentation and see what you think.

Follow Save Our Schools NZ on

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