On Saturday the 8th of April, I co-hosted Saturday Magazine on Joy 94.9FM with David McCarthy. Over the course of two hours we discussed a variety of issues, including the latest news in American and Australian politics, trends in education, youth homelessness and support for LGBTQ youth and the trials and tribulations of the AOC election.
A particular highlight was to catch up with good friend and former schoolmate, Paul Millar, who’s now based in Pnomh Penh in Cambodia writing for a local magazine.
You can listen to a variety of our conversations here:
This blog post is part of a series related to the SBS documentary Testing Teachers. To find out more about Testing Teachers click here.
I was born in August of 1991. Plenty was happening in the world then, much as it is now. Countries were in the throes of political crises, new technological innovations were challenging the old ways of doing things and The Simpsons were on our TV screens. Unlike now, however, in 1991 Australia was emerging from the depths of a bitter recession, dubbed by our then Prime Minister Paul Keating as one the nation ‘had to have’.
In the prevailing 26 years or so, Australia has been the economic envy of most of the developed world for our unimpeded economic growth and ability to weather events such as the Global Financial Crisis. Despite this being a source of pride for our country, and at that top of any talking points from our treasurers (starting with likes of Paul Keating and Peter Costello and continuing today with Scott Morrison), it is readily apparent that not all Australians have prospered equally. While there are many ways we can measure inequality in our society, one of the most evident means is to see the disparity, in educational opportunities for Australia’s children.
Much like most aspects of American life, the education system is inherently political. Whilst from an Australian perspective it may not have seemed as though education was at the forefront of discussion in last year’s Presidential Election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the future of America’s highly decentralised system of schools has occupied the dialogue of many in Washington of late.
This stems primarily from the contentious Senate confirmation of President Trump’s Education Secretary Nominee, Betsy DeVos’ in mid-January which culminated in a historically close 51-50 vote to send her to the Department of Education. Secretary DeVos faced questions about both her understanding of educational policy issues and her qualifications for the role as a billionaire donor to political causes.