Created on Monday, 22 February 2010 16:51 Written by Administrator
The determination of the Barnett Government and Minister for Education, Dr Liz Constable, to further expand the IPS program should be a major concern to the community on two levels:
Firstly, it is unbelievable that Education Minister Liz Constable should announce more independent public schools before any realistic results can be known from the first group of schools. The Business Plans for the initial 34 IPS schools are not due until May 2010.
Secondly, this government’s approach to public education is divisive and clearly undermining of the public’s confidence in the provision of quality education and level of community engagement in our government schools.
The Minister claims that feedback from the 34 Independent Public Schools, which began at the start of the year, has been overwhelmingly positive and that the schools had already experienced a surge in community involvement.
The irony is that, again, we see a lack of clarity as to how a high level of local support is to be measured. Key stakeholders, such as teachers and parents, cannot draw comfort from this continuing vagueness and the question might be asked who is the local decision making for?
The union continues to have major concerns with regard to the impact of the IPS on the working conditions of its members. The possibility of shifting staffing profiles is counter to strong recommendation from the Twomey Taskforce, that establishment of career path opportunities for teachers and administrators is critical to counter teacher shortages.
Staffing of rural and remote schools and the more difficult metro schools is increasingly at risk, as the IPS program expands.
The Barnett government should be focussing on improving resourcing of public schools, supporting good practices in schools and school communities, not shattering the public education system, a fundamental institution in the WA community with a proud history of over 100 years.
What changes has the new system made to the education of children? It is incredibly sad that the education of our children is playing such a minor role in all of the moves by both the State and Federal Governments.
Clearly, the voices of professional educators are not being listened to by politicians whose main concern is the next election – not the future of our children.