6 December 2006

Liberals education policy, dumb meets dumber

| johnboy
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Bill Stefaniak is a pretty cagey politician, it’s just a shame about his policy.

He and Vicki Dunne have put out similar, but subtly different media releases (Vicki Dunne, Bill Stefaniak) announcing their new policy for school closures.

“IIn Government the Liberal Party will commit to: the cancellation of school closures scheduled for December 2008; A School Reinstatement Fund to help communities re-open schools closed by the Stanhope Government in 2006 and 2007; No school closures initiated in the first term of a Liberal Government (2008-2012); and Community Committee on the Future Direction of ACT Schools”

(I think, but am not sure, that IIn is the way IIncompetents spell “In”)

So now we have a choice:

1) The ALP’s 2020 plan which shows all the signs of being scratched out on the back of a beer coaster but will (in however half-arsed a fashion) bring the number of schools down to a much cheaper level.

2) The Liberal plan to do nothing until 2012 by which time we’ll all have forgotten what the question is.

As good politics the Liberals have the virtue of letting Stanhope and Barr wear the heat and then reap the rewards of the school closures while in Government, with the added bonus of their escape clause that they will re-open schools “wherever possible”. Don’t bet that it will be “possible” to reverse too many closures. Just one or two high profile ones you would imagine.

Save Our Schools and the P&C have bought it hook line and sinker.

Andrew Barr has put out a media release but the Chief Minister’s server has gone walkabout at the time of writing.

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Yes it’s Wednesday. I’ll be walking around with my mobile on radio (student muck up week) with one ear on the news and the other on the “video” being shown for the kids.

Then once that’s done, the teacher’s may also find out where they are going to teach next year. Then again, sources in DET say it could be in January.


Wednesday next week is D-day.

I”m surprised it took them so long to come up with this pfairly obvius opposition policy.

When is Barr going to make his big announcement anyway – school is nearly over for the year.

The Libs may score a few votes from parents still upset that their school is subject to closure. But by the time they get Government, most parents will have found other schools, and may not be willing to return to their old one (which either party might try to close again if they need to cut education costs).

But will they improve the quality and cost-management of ACT education?

I’d like to see an alternative policy that addresses the reasons parents are turning to private schools in the first place. As well as proper demographic studies to determine where schools will be needed over the next 20 years.

Meanwhile, we still have no bus services in Chifley, so it looks like Pearce & Chifley parents will all be driving their kids to school (including right turns against the traffic flow on Hindmarsh and Melrose Drives). Pretty poor planning, given that Chifley has had more babies born than anywhere else in Woden over the last few years, and has a higher percentage of families choosing public education (based on ABS figures from August 2006 and DET figures on the Towards 2020 website).

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