Greens, teachers and parents fear LNP schools plans spells ‘D E C L I N E’ of small State Schools
“The LNP are clearly out to wreck the Queensland State school system” says Andy Grodecki, Greens candidate for Beaudesert. “The Beaudesert electorate has 17 small state schools that are close to where rural families live. With their ‘Building our Future Schools Fund’ and ‘Independent Public Schools’ the LNP plans to turn their backs on the students and families who to send their young ones to these local small state school. How can the LNP candidate for Beaudesert support this two pronged attack on our schools? How can he reject the government’s basic responsibility to properly fund state schooling that educates 70 per cent of Queensland’s children?” Asks Andy Grodecki
“On one hand the LNP plan to give three times more to the rich schools by spending 75% of their Building our Future Schools Fund on non-government schools that educate only 30% of the students. Then in a cunningly-veiled move to ‘increase in independence’ in schools, the LNP plan to follow in the footsteps of the NSW and WA conservative Governments and tear up all the provisions that have maintained standards in our small rural and regional state schools in competition with the unfairly well-funded larger private schools”.
Andy Grodecki says “At first glance the LNP ‘Independent Public Schools’ plan, to give Queensland Principals and local communities greater control over hiring and firing teachers and managing the school budget, may seem harmless. However everyone knows that a School Principal can turn around the whole culture of a school for good or bad as a result of the hundreds of decisions the Principal makes. This is why there are checks and balances on how and where funds can be spent and to maintain the right mix of experienced senior teachers and new teachers”.
“Most of our State School Principals do an amazing job under very difficult circumstances and our P&Cs are fantastic at raising much needed extra funds. Unfortunately there is no training, qualification or mentoring for Principals. The Greens will reinvest in our state schools including providing structured training and support for teachers aiming to become Principals. Under current arrangement a teacher without management experience can become Principal overnight. Teachers I have spoken to are very concerned that under the LNP’s plan inexperienced Principals will be able replace experienced teachers with much cheaper trainees or teacher aides and use these funds to respond to a noisy parent who wants the perimeter fence renewed”.
“As the LNP’s policy bites it will create a two-tier state school system in Queensland. Hard-to-staff schools will become impossible-to-staff schools. There is a well established teacher transfer system in Queensland that means new teachers must move around the state to gain experience and help ensure children across state have equal access to quality education – this system will fall apart as the LNP allow Principals to hire and fire”.
The Greens candidate says “These changes will hurt rural and regional communities the most and hit the small state schools in the Beaudesert electorate hard. The parents I have spoken to and the Queensland’s state school teachers and principals are appalled by these attacks on state schools. The Queensland Teachers’ Union that is not politically affiliated and represents 96 per cent of teachers and principals has assessed the LNP proposal as utterly failing Queensland’s state schools”.
“The LNP’s ideologically driven proposals go completely against the recently released David Gonski national Review of Funding for Schooling that says that for too long funding for schools has been poorly served by the policies of successive governments at all levels. It has been ad hoc and politically driven. Private schools already receive more than a $1000 per student in capital spending than state schools”. Andy Grodecki says “The Greens policy will remove politicians from the decision making by introducing educational funding on a needs basis. It will be based on the socio-economic index, number of special needs students, and number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students within schools to ensure that schools and other institutions are well-resourced and appropriately staffed, including higher student-teacher ratios or added support personnel. We cannot allow LNP politicians to mess up the education of the 70% of children that use our state school system”.