Academic Michael Apple : More freedom in Serbia
A WORLD-RENOWNED education expert whose lecture was dumped by the Education Department because his views on performance pay were ”too controversial” says he is allowed more academic freedom in Serbia than in Melbourne.
”At no time was there an attempt to silence me at all even though I was speaking to school administrators,” visiting US academic Michael Apple told The Age of his time in Serbia.
Professor Apple had been preparing to speak at a seminar for Victorian state school principals and senior staff on November 9 until he was told the invitation was revoked.
An Education Department spokeswoman said there had been a ”misunderstanding” and the department had ”not engaged any expert” for the presentation.
”The department decided that Professor Apple’s message – which focused on educational policy at an international level – meant he was not the most relevant speaker to address the workshop,” she said.
But Professor Apple said he had planned to talk specifically about improving local schools and how they could work more closely with their communities.
”In one of my most famous books, Democratic Schools, I show exactly what it looks like to have empowered local schools.”
Professor Apple has previously criticised performance pay for teachers, which lies at the heart of protracted negotiations between the education union and state government. The union strongly opposes the performance pay plan, which it considers punitive and divisive.
The Education Department had contracted Melbourne University’s Graduate School of Education to run a series of seminars on professional development for state school staff.
The school had booked Professor Apple to do the November seminar but later told him he was not required because the department feared his speech ”may be too controversial”.
Earlier this month the school sent Professor Apple an email, seen by The Age, to ”release” him of his commitment to give a presentation on November 9.
Professor Apple is among the 50 most important educational scholars of the 20th century, according to Melbourne University’s website.