Useful infographics from Stanford (and why South Africans should read them)

So many post ideas, so little time.

Coming soon:

  • a reflection on the analytical uselessness of the will/capacity dualism.
  • a useful history lesson for those of us who don’t remember apartheid spatiality (and WOW so many people DON’T!)
  • some political cartoons (a picture tells a thousand words… and my blogs are approximately a thousand words 😉 )
  • a PhD output! A useful infographic of my own!

But for now: here are some interesting bits from around the world on education policy issues:

Stanford has produced three extremely interesting infographics on education topics, primarily around public investment in schools and the effects of a charter-approach to ‘school reform’:

Privatisation/marketisation? Or investment in public ed?

Check out here the differences in education performance between similar countries who took different approaches as to how to improve their public education systems. The results are telling:


This infographic illustrates the segregating effects of widespread ‘reform’ using Charter Schools in New Orleans post Hurricane Katrina. Outlined well in Naomi Klein’s work on shock politics, it reveals how market forces incentivise schools to pick what Stephen Ball refers to as “easy to teach learners” and transfer the negative externalities of those selection effects onto struggling schools who cannot pick and choose.

NOTE: this is a model being ‘trialled’ in the Western Cape in South Africa. Our marketized education system is already replete with these issues and now a model that exacerbates inequality is being punted as the solution.

Finally, this infographic details research done on Charter Schools in a more mixed system in California. As highlighted in my article a while back on The Conversation, privately managed but publicly funded schools open up serious loopholes for the mismanagement of public funds.

And the evidence continues to mount that their output results, when controlled for the type of student they attract, is no better than their publicly funded equivalents… this article just recently on studying the alleged benefits of academies in the UK (academies are the British equivalent of American Charters, or what in SA are being referred to as Collaboration Schools).

The features highlighted in each of these infographics regarding schools that struggle are visible and extreme in SA’s struggling schools. We need to start having conversations about the limited conditions of possibility in these schools for change due to their dire unresourced state (and how the myth of ‘we spend so much on our schools‘ comes from a particular quarter and serves certain political interests).

Just to reiterate for the uninitiated… these infographics matter for SA because South Africa has often, repeatedly, borrowed education policy suites from the UK and the US lock, stock and smoking barrel. It’s really not served us well.

More coming soon

…on the time pressure and scarcity experienced by South African teachers in schools where no private top-up funding from parents can add a little breathing room to the timetable. Brace yourselves. It’s not pretty reading.