Thursday, September 18, 2003

Education – three different ways

“The layers of educational value that go into [Hi-5] are really the foundation of it." Even the simple-seeming dances are "specially choreographed to link the right and left hemispheres of the brain to help with co-ordination and balance", [Hi-5 creator and executive producer, Helena Harris] says.

“Knowledge is [the get-rich-through-real estate seminar promoters’] catch word. They call themselves ‘educators’ to slyly avoid the jurisdiction that covers financial advisers.”*

The disruption caused by the recent Australian teachers’ strike is reported only as a function of the agency of working parents of school students. Here, the “e”-word is downplayed or dismissed entirely – teachers are instead primarily conceptualised as babysitters. And when viewed as babysitters, the subordination of the modern schoolteacher to the expectations of the aspirational voter hegemon becomes clear.

If a teacher’s actual supervisory, in-class hours only (6 hrs x 205 days, with everything else being “voluntary”) are counted for salary purposes, then the average teacher is paid $42 per hour**. While I’m not au fait with childcare supervisory staff number rules, I think that its highly unlikely that the requisite supervisors for 30 primary school students could be had for less than, or equal to, $42 per hour. Even if the supervision task was let out to a collective of (say) six “grey-market” teenage babysitters, it has to be asked whether the job of solo-supervising five unrelated primary school-age kids for $7 per hour would attract suitable candidates.

* Neil Jenman “There’s one born every slick spiel”, The Australian Wealth Supplement 17/09/03 (no URL)

** Frank Hainsworth, Letter to the Editor, The Australian 17/09/03 (no URL)

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