If anything the financial crisis has heightened the profile of education globally rather than reduced it. Indeed Education International’s own Education in Crisis website (pages.ei-ie.org/handsup/en) is tracking the impact of the crisis on education in every region. Many governments are demanding changes to their education systems which are already damaging education rather than enhancing it. Yet the evidence is that public education systems are far more effective than privately run alternatives. The media and press globally are aware that education now has the capacity to generate big stories and that global developments can have significant impacts on each country’s education system. The best education stories can be a mine of information and analysis both for those interested in educational practice and policy.
Worlds of Education invites you to tell us about stories you have come across which you think are important and interesting for education and teachers globally. To start with we have looked at key stories in the Times Educational Supplement (TES). It is an educational magazine which has recently decided to give its international educational stories a much higher profile. We have selected a few which have a real global resonance on teachers and their working lives. We look forward to your recommendations!
Themost recent TES article which has attracted the greatest amount of comment recently is William Stewart’s analysis of the contesting key policy players in global educational change the 14th December last year. For those that want to about the GERM, (Pasi Sahlberg’s critical acronym for the ‘Great Education Reform Movement’), this is essential reading. Its only problem is that Education International wasn’t asked for its views which we pointed out to the TES at the time! www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=630951
In direct contrast there was a very interesting and moving May 31st article by Kerra Maddern on teachers going back in time and advising their younger selves about how to make their way in their careers. www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6337130
In the same edition you can find a fascinating analysis of the pitfalls of state funded ‘independent’ schools such as charter schools and academies by Laura McInerney www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6337131
The fundamental dangers of using assessment to rank teachers publically are highlighted in a devastating article by Stephen Exley published on March 8th, ’Named, Ranked and Shamed’ about the suicide of a Los Angeles’ teacher Rigoberto Ruelas because he had been described by the Los Angeles Times as ‘one of the least effective teachers’ in its published teacher rankings. www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6323230
The 3rd May story by Irena Barker, ’The country which found itself without any schools,’ about the lockout by employers of teacher union members in Denmark is a classic description of obdurate and backward actions by those in charge of education. It could have been called ‘How to destroy teacher morale and undermine education’. www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6332435
The persecution of the Bahrain Teachers Union including its leader Jalila al-Salman and the Union’s courageous fight back is featured in Kerra Maddern’s article in the 10 May edition. It includes comment from EI Executive Board member and NASUWT Deputy General Secretary Patrick Roach who led a deputation to Bahrain. www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6333649.
Another story about the fight back of teacher unions against state oppression appeared in 14th June edition of the TES. ‘Teachers risk all to join Turkey Demonstrations’ by Irena Barker describes how accusing teacher union activists of terrorism in order to silence them has become an increasingly familiar tactic of the Turkish Government. EI General Secretary Fred Van Leeuwen is quoted attacking this policy backed by EI research www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6339841
Finally, there is an important story by William Stewart about the OECD’s proposal to enable schools to use its tests from its Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6338471 in the June 7th edition. Worlds in Education will carry more on PISA after the OECD launch of PISA 2012 in December.