Getting Started: things to read and things to know about critical education

Nov 12, 2009

Go Britney!

The Last Fortnight...

It has been a big fortnight. Britney has lip-synched her way through a Perth concert that from most reports was a disaster, with some tickets going for $1500 a go (its Britney Spears people- what the hell is going on here!!!). At much the same time the long(ish) running pay dispute with Queensland state teachers looks like coming to a close with the Queensland Teachers Union accepting a 12.5% rise over 3 years. At the top of the classification scale salaries will come to $83,308 a year (for 2011), with new graduate teachers identified as being the highest paid teachers in Australia (good news for current Education students in Qld!).

This is clearly good news, and pending acceptance by members of the QTU, should bring some equity back into the variant teacher pay scales applied across Australia. But as a comparison, I cant help but think that getting into the lip-synching business for upwards of $1500 a ticket for a 2 hour show is possibly an easier way to earn a dollar. Sure, you might not walk away with that glowing feeling of having positively affected someone's life, or ever feel that bit of ego-induced buzz that comes from saying ‘I’m an educator!’, but you will have world-wide publicity every time you burp, and an audience of millions that you could (if you wanted to) utilise to make a positive influence on the globe (but not in that poncy, self-aggrandising and utterly conceited Bono type of way, please). You also, instead of lining up to adopt a child from Africa, might think about actually putting back the money that you’ve extorted for rubbish concerts and albums into some worthwhile causes to help equalise the capitalist imbalance of wealth and poverty (but lets not get too carried away- there is a new SLK Merc that needs buying).

You see where I’m going here? 12.5% is a good move in comparison to existing pay structures, but when compared to some of the other frivolous rubbish that get remunerated quite well, its a fairly small price.

A Tricky Google Tool

A colleague from, an online union and labour activism orgnaisation, noted the following Google tool: Google SideWiki. Here’s what the good folks at LabourStart noted about SideWiki:

“Unless you're a regular reader of the official Google blog (and I'm not) you probably haven't heard of Google SideWiki. But a trade union activist in New Zealand has stumbled on something that he calls an "awesome new tool for activists". And he may be right.

I won't tell you much more, but will instead suggest you read what Google has to say:

And when you're done, and have set this up on your computer (it will take you less than a minute), go visit and see what I've done to Nestle's global website. “

What a brilliant bit of democratic technology. SideWiki provides folks with opportunity to question the PR spin presented on the web, and in a way not disimilar to Wikipedia, provides for open evaluation by users of the claims and promises made on a site. In the case of Nestle, that same multinational that is responsible for countless imperialist activities around the world, this provides a chance for open critique of the glossy fa├žade of an otherwise grubby company. This is what the web was intended to be- a democratic location of dialogue and participation. SideWiki makes that a bit more possible.

If you’re interested, you can sign up to (strangely enough) at

But please dont use SideWiki on the Critical Educator's Network unless you have really nice things to say (democracy only goes so far when you're intimately involved!!!).

1 comment:

  1. Let's not just pick on poor untalented Britney....Tiger Woods may be a world class golfer and perhaps the greatest golfer (male) that there has ever been....but a man who is worth billions surely does not require the millions being shoveled into the back of his Mercedes just to get him to play golf in Australia....the money available to professional sportspeople (male) is obscene. Even in AFL, a sport totally restricted to Oz, has seen obscene amounts of money paid to these players....when will it end....and when will we see the end to female sports professionals, actors and musicians having to justify their talent in a spread for FHM?