10 May 2007
"This is a budget about Peter Costello's future, not the future of education for Australia's young people'' said Lynne Rolley, Federal Secretary of the Independent Education Union of Australia.
"Once teachers and parents get past the hype and look at the detail of Peter Costello's budget, they will be both disappointed and cynical about his budget for education" she said.
"Throwing a lot of money at a grab bag of issues in the hope that the Australian electorate will be impressed by largesse is not going to work. Parents and teachers will see there is no sense of an overall plan to address the needs of early childhood and school education over the next 10 years" she said.
"And once again, it is policy which comes with the threat of Minister Bishop wielding her big funding stick. There's no collaboration with stakeholders, no inclusion of the teaching profession in a number of policy areas, and no sense of a cooperative approach with school employers. It's take it on my terms or leave it", said Ms Rolley.
"There are many instances of the grab bag approach but two provide an insight into Minister Bishop's failure to use the expertise and professionalism within Australian education," she said
"For instance, the Minister's home page announces that the national consistency in curricula agenda will be ‘cemented in place' and while this will happen in consultation with peak employer groups, it will leave out the very professionals who have both the expertise and commitment to ensure success in this endeavour - the teachers," she said.
"And again, the Minister's quick-fix policy for students not meeting literacy and numeracy benchmarks after 4 years of schooling is a voucher system with private coaching clinics. Yet when this was introduced in a previous budget, less than 50% of parents used them", said Ms Rolley.
"These are wasted funds. There needs to be a properly funded, cohesive intervention strategy, based on the recommendations from the 2005 National Inquiry into the Teaching of Literacy. This involves early intervention and resources for reading support programs in schools, including the provision of highly trained specialist teachers with specialized skills in teaching reading. This is what was recommended from that National Inquiry," said Ms Rolley.
This budget for education is lazy, expensive and uninformed. Parents, teachers and students will see it for what it is - Costello's eye on votes to buy him the PM's chair.
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