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At education minister’s invitation, Chancellor Klein to push policies in Oz

Australian deputy prime minister Julia Gillard visited New York earlier this year to learn about its schools, and she raised hackles upon her return by pushing the DOE’s progress report and merit pay schemes. Next month, Chancellor Klein will reciprocate the visit, with financial firm UBS footing the bill for a tour of the land down under, Australian news outlets report.

The Australian Associated Press says Klein will “spruik” his policies — that’s a lighthearted Australian colloquialism meaning “to promote goods, services, or a cause by addressing people in a public place” — in meetings with education officials and in a public speech.

Gillard’s opponents accuse her of using Klein as a surrogate in Australia’s current battle over education reform; Gillard says she’s merely trying to “add another dimension to that debate.” She may also be passing the time until Australia has a national education authority that can coordinate the school rankings and performance pay initiatives she announced this summer; state governments agreed to create the national authority but it won’t officially be created until later this year.