My children attend a public school in the Town Of Northam, Western Australia, and I have become increasingly alarmed to find more and more evidence that suggests Colin Barnett’s intentions to degrade our public school system.
In a letter I wrote to the Principal John Pisan of Northam Senior High School, dated the 5th of February 2013, in regards to a recently administered school program called “LIFE”.
“Firstly there was no expression of intent to place my daughter until two days prior to the beginning of school, which was a somewhat abrupt dictation of the schools intention to place my daughter into the LIFE program. After seeing my daughters timetable I was taken aback by the sheer lack of information, and having no information provided for the program my concerns became apparent. Another caregiver was not even given the courtesy of a last minute phone call. I shall like to quote from your ‘Principals of Learning and Teaching’ posted on the school web site. “Learning occurs where student, home and school have a common goal, interact positively and are mutually supportive”.
It was brought to my attention by Marie Anne Morgan (deputy principle) that the program will guide the students into vocational training such as TAFE. This may be ok for some, but children should not be labelled as non-achievers destine for low skilled jobs. All children should be given the opportunity for higher education no matter what level they are in at present. Children learn at different speeds and this program, which I am led to believe, aims to fast track children into lower educational outcomes.
In the TAFE Directors Australia East Meets West TDA 2012 National Conference, the State Premier Colin Barnett stated that directors should give high priority to industry training, namely mining. It was made clear that educational State funding is sourced through industries, giving little choice to what funded programs may entail. I understand this gives educational institutes little flexibility in terms of programs provided. This is as I understand it, also the situation for the Federal Government. This idea is very similar to the situation in times past when industry was the sole focus for education. The stolen generation was implemented in the agriculture industry and denied any further education, so to fill a labour shortage, as was the child migrants.
This situation is denying our children the right to choose. I fear that this LIFE program and other public school programs are implemented in this political strategy, therefore I urge you to make sure that your staff are aware so that their proposed programs are addressing these issues. I also believe it is your duty to make parents and students aware of political agendas.”
After alerting my concerns to the Principle he informed me that I was correct in my assumptions to government policy, and recently I learned from a school news letter , that children where taken on an excursion to help determine the childrens future direction. On this excursion the children where taken to see the recently down graded Agriculture university to agriculture and mining TAFE. They then where taken to see the local abattoirs and later taken to the local McDonald’s family restaurant so they could experience some ‘LIFE’ skills, by making their own hamburgers. This is the level of education that our state Government has for our children. These are the out comes for the “National Assessment Program-Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests. My daughter whom is a average student that does not perform well under the testing environment, but other wise does perform as a average student, was placed in this program as a direct result to this line of testing, which fortunately I objected to. Other parents are less informed and unaware of such changes to education and their children are being subjected to this kind of degradation. The state received additional funding for these so called learning programs (2012).
Taking this substandard line of education into account, why is our state government paying Chinese students that are studying leadership roles in industry in China, to study English, so that they can come here and lead our industries. Incentives for these students are free VISA’s and free air ticks to come to Australia to work. Why aren’t we putting this money into educating our own? The reasoning behind this, is foreign investment and deals being struck between our government and industry. Barnett was otherwise quoted as saying to foreign investors “Our children are a very multicultural and will be good for experimentation”, and here is something else.’my daughter just happened to tell me the other day that, they are permitted to use the library only after supplying their finger prints. What, I ask is happening to our privacy and rights? Our children’s rights to choose and who is protecting their liberties? I would like to say this; “Is this state becoming a police state where our rights are reduced to what production line will we be permitted to work on? It sounds like communism to me.
Barnett (2012) Media statement: Ischool’ In as students Head Back to Class Announcement.
http://www.austrade.gov.au/Invest/ Why-Australia/Highly-Skilled-a… Retrieved 31st of January 2013
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