Davos surrounded by barbed wire for the WEF
Speaking to the assembled business leaders, bankers and politicians at the World Economic Forum, Australian billionaire Rupert Murdoch attacked US teacher unions
Australian media billionaire Rupert Murdoch called on Barak Obama to take on the US teacher unions in order to reform education in the country. Murdoch and his media outlets like Fox News in the US are some of the main cheerleaders for the neo-liberal political and economic policies which have brought the world economy to its knees while enriching the few people like him who are its main proponents. He is on record as saying he wants to see, 'as little government as possible, as few rules as possible' - a situation which has allowed him to avoid vast tax bills in Australia by moving his family company to the Bermuda Stock Exchange. Murdoch was a consistent supporter of the Iraq war and according to some sources 'the 24th member' of neo-liberal British prime minister Tony Blair's cabinet.
Though he is in favour of a complete free for all for the very rich, Murdoch is not in favour of a lack of regulation for teachers - on the contrary he and his neo-liberal allies think that every moment of their day should be managed and accounted for. He is also on record as saying that teacher unions have been allowed to set curricula in the US which 'don't teach them the right things.' In fact teachers have been in the forefront of opposing the neo-liberal Bush policy 'No Child Left Behind' which amongst other things emphasised rigid testing regimes and league tables and stifled creativity in the classroom. Meanwhile the same neo-liberal policies have seen education budgets cut - particularly in developing countries - in the interests of debt repayment and economic liberalisation - with disastrous effects on school systems particularly in Africa.
It is interesting to watch the world's billionaires carrying on with business as usual at Davos while all over the world the vast majority of people are suffering because of their reckless pursuit of profit and destruction of public services - many examples of this effect can be read on this blog. As well as being addressed by Rupert Murdoch the assembled masters of the universe were also given the benefit of the wisdom of management guru Benjamin Zander who encouraged them to think outside the box and be more creative. Perhaps it would be better for the world's children if they kept their ideas to themselves and let the rest of us get on with struggling to rescue education from the dead end of privatisation, cuts, managerialism and sterile accountability measures into which it has been pushed.
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