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Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Pass me that Soapbox

With Ms Gillard, Mr Rudd and our very own Ms Bligh constantly beating their own chests about education, NAPLAN testing, a national curriculum, safety nets and how single-handed they will tackle numeracy and literacy problems in our schools, I feel I need to add my opinion.

Here in Queensland, the "smart state", we have policies in place stating that 26 students are deemed too many for one classroom, ie the largest number of students in any one classroom will not exceed 25.

Keeping up?

This same policy that applies to city classrooms also applies to one-teacher schools such as ours. So if your school enrolment is less than 26 you will have one teacher only. As is the case at our school this year, with only 24 students enrolled, we are losing our second teacher. Our new principal (who has never been a principal before) will teach 8 year levels from Prep to Year 7, aged from 4 to 12 years (he has never taught the early grades before) in one classroom.

We're the "smart state".

Can anybody begin to explain to me how it is possible for one teacher to adequately educate 24 students in 8 year levels. In one classroom.

Mr Rudd, in his infinite wisdom, as he worked to boost the economy and revolutionise education, provided our small country school with a $250,000 new state-of-the-art classroom last year. We are using it as a library as we have no need for a new classroom, after all we only need one for all of our students. Ms Bligh, also bolstering our economy, and in the process running our state into the greatest level of debt ever recorded, also gave us a $50,000 playground. We tore down a perfectly functioning playground that our children loved, so QBuild could construct a new one.

We're the "smart state".

And now, as Day 8 approaches, the day when enrolment figures are uploaded, and our staffing allocated for the year, all we hear about is Ms Gillard's new pet project, the "my school" website. Whereby everybody can see the progress of a school, see the problem areas, and address them! Ain't that great!!!

These people aren't serious about educating our kids. Not up here anyway, because there just aren't a lot of votes to be bought in regional Queensland where these problems exist.

So while my youngest is given play dough to entertain her for the day, and my oldest is assigned work and left to work independently for the day, I will continue to be sickened by the politicians and their "political speak" about what they are doing for education in this state and country.

8 comments:

  1. Well said! How ridiculous it all is. I agree, too back patting themselves on the back and not enough actually listening to what is wanted. These pollies just want to get themselves seen in the TV and the press - play their game but send this to the TV stations - such as Soapbox on Channel 7's Sunrise, in fact anyone who'll give you an ear - well, perhaps not Ms Bligh or a politician!

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  2. er, that should read 'too much patting themselves on the back!

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  3. I am hearing you but its not just Qld!

    My old Primary School in regional NSW has 17 children enrolled this year and has been a one teacher school for fifteen years or so. (We had 35 kids enrolled in my day) Because all of our kid's smarts come from shiney new buildings a new library has been built to make the kids smarter. Oh but wait, only one teacher to supervise .... the new building is a separate and detatched from the other classrooms ... so the kids can't actually go to do a library session unless the teacher packs up everyone from the classroom and takes them all to the library (can't have unsupervised kids running amok in the library). I can see that it wont take much for the kids to be smarter than the policy makers on this one.

    Then, the school fence needed repair - minor stuff that a capable farmer could knock over in an afternoon. Strain some wires, resecure the wire netting where next door's bulls jumped over last year...you know the drill. Well NSW Dept of Ed announced that a new fence was in order for $30k (yes, THIRTY THOUSAND DOLLARS). Fortunately the Principal is a sensible woman (married to a farmer) and put her foot down. The repairs were made for less than $1000 (SAVING = $29k).

    So much waste and so little real help is provided.

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  4. That is so crazy and unbelievably frustrating I'm sure. I agree you should get in touch with media on this you have explained it so well. Good luck. x

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  5. Can you not, as parents, offer to take it in turns and help out with the younger ones in the classroom?

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  6. I have a different issue in my town. My children attend the local Catholic school. There are 21 students enrolled this year with 3 teachers. We are thrilled, why wouldnt we be. The problem is that the people of the town seem intolerant to a non-gov school. 24 kinders started this year at the local public school while my daughter started with only 1 other student. What is so crazy about this is that we have a perfectly good little school. There is much respect for each other, excellent teachers, a dynamic parent body and still we cannot get local people to consider our school. The public school scored very low on the 'my school' website, has huge bullying issues and very noisy crowded classrooms. Our school will close if we do not get any more enrolments which is causing alot of stress. We take heart with the knowledge that our children are getting so much more than most other kids in our town and their results show this. Its disappointing to know that education is not valued where we live and that we still have to put up with comments such as 'you get bible bashed there' and socially you are out if you attend the Catholic school. In any case we will stick with our school. How could we give up individual tutoring every day and the nurturing that our children receive. I am blown away every time I hear other families say negative comments about our school.
    How crazy is that we could have 2 totally opposite issues with our schools and very frustrating. Really enjoyed reading your post.

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  7. You must be ready to tear your hair out in frustration! It's start to finish ridiculous. Pure politics. Grrrr. Meredy xo.

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  8. Very well said Fiona. I'm sure Kochie and Mel would love to hear it. We have a beautiflul new library and the kids aren't allowed to use it in their lunch hour.

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