Greg Craven on education and federalism, then and now

Greg Craven on state government control of education, 2007:

Despite a total lack of experience in education, it [the Howard government] has created Commonwealth Technical Colleges, tried to control state school curricula and muttered darkly about controlling state education systems.

Canberra has only been able to intrude because it has the money, not the authority. Perhaps it should leave the money and run. Is it really impossible to argue that an elected Victorian government has a genuine interest in the education of Victorian children and that – horror – it might even bring local insight to the process? …

The mantra “Trust me, I’m with the Commonwealth” has the plausibility of a four-dollar note.

Greg Craven on state government control of education, 2013:

Professor Craven, whose Australian Catholic University is a national educator of teachers, said the NSW foray into teacher training standards was in conflict with the federal approach…

Although the states had neglected higher education and given it little money, they were surprised to discover that “their universities” chose a national regulator over them, he said.

“That came as a shock – the children leaving home and saying ‘get stuffed’ as they went through the door,” Professor Craven said.

“Some of the states have reacted by saying: ‘These are our universities created under our acts, we demand to be part of their regulation (although) we do not demand to be part of the system for paying for them.’

“If the commonwealth actually pays for the production of teachers, which it does, why on earth would it be interested in NSW or Victoria or Queensland or South Australia saying what a teacher looks like?’

A NSW policy that would affect ACU education courses is presumably behind this change of view. As the principal clients of education faculties, I don’t think there is much of an argument that the states should have no say in the kinds of students they take (I have no idea whether the NSW policy is sound or not; I am talking about policy principles).

And Professor Craven should look on the federal bright side of this: if the Commonwealth took the same view as the NSW government, his education courses in Victoria, Queensland and the ACT could be in trouble, not just his education courses in NSW.

One thought on “Greg Craven on education and federalism, then and now

  1. Teacher training has become a very crowded place with the States, the Commonwealth and the universities all jostling one another. In March ministers Bowen and Garrett announced a four-point ‘plan’ to improve teacher training including a review of all teaching courses by TEQSA.
    When the TEQSA bill was first shown in 2010 to invited parties nobody was more enthusiastic than Greg Craven, who took the stage, sprayed the States, and hived off to a separate room with the Canberra bureaucrats and university types. He reappeared some hours later to tell us all how he’d fixed the bill’s problems.
    Following the subsequent Melbourne lock-up and in response to a query as to whether the TEQSA act was intended to override the course accreditation functions and powers in State acts, written advice was given that it was not the Commonwealth’s intention for the TEQSA legislation to interfere with the operation of state or territory occupational licensing laws. Sure enough, this intention was enshrined in the provisions of section 9 of the bill that passed and was still in the TEQSA act the last time I checked. That is, the power to accredit – or not accredit – teacher preparation courses lies with State and Territory teacher registration acts, not with the TEQSA act. And, the accreditation standards are those developed by AITSL, not TEQSA’s Provider Course Accreditation Standards, which are quite different. Moreover, there is a question as to whether the announced review of teacher education by TEQSA is within power.
    The NSW minister is well within power to do what he is proposing in relation to teacher preparation in that State and there appears to be not much Greg can do about it, short of getting the TEQSA act amended so that it overrides the State law.


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