Don’t be gulled by government school autonomy shell games. While principals may want to order their own photocopiers and rid poor performers on their staffs, local empowerment of staffing will break the statewide transfer system which fills positions in remote rural schools, corrode teacher collaboration, force principals to master marketing instead of lead learning, further disadvantage disadvantaged school communities, and lead to increased privatization of public schools with sponsors calling the shots.
What started under Thatcher to break unions and transfer responsibility to school principals, has spread like an epidemic by neo-liberal US, English and Australian governments.
Look at the record of academy schools, charter schools and independent public schools. There is no evidence that local empowerment improves learning outcomes. On the contrary, eventual reduced funding and staffing, especially for low SES schools, leaves them to wither and decline. As Scott Fitzgerald of Curtin University states, so called school autonomy leads to “recentralisation of control over teachers through curriculum policy frameworks that are held in place by testing regimes, performance pay and league tables.”