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Stanhope flings the brown stuff around in his fight with the P&C

By johnboy - 3 August 2006 21

Our Brave Leader is really laying it on thick as the ABC reports on a fight between Jon Stanhope and the P&C association.

The P&C’s want to “Live in Canberra” promotional materials to reflect the 2020 school closure program. The Chief Minister says that would be premature until the “consultation” is finished.

As anyone who has wasted hours of their lives going to the “consultation” meetings knows, it’s a pretty worthless process.

But more importantly the Chief Minister must know as well as anyone that every nearly every school earmarked for closure in the plan is finished. No parent is going to enroll their child in a school they know is going to be shutting down before the child finishes. If Jon Stanhope wanted to have a consultation process he could hide behind, he shouldn’t have pre-empted it with 2020.

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21 Responses to
Stanhope flings the brown stuff around in his fight with the P&C
Charo 4:43 pm 04 Aug 06

I don’t understand the extreme reactions to school closures. My loyalty lies with the public school system not individual schools, the ACT Public school system is overstretched and needs to regroup to regain it’s capacity.

There are some points I want to make:

1 Public consultation can take many forms, putting up a proposal and seeking comment is a legitimate way to consult. This proposal is attempting to examine and make decisions about a complete restructure of a school system, it may be radical but it’s timely and necessary. Unless you want the government to spend years talking to every school and every parent and never actually achieve anything and let the system collapse. Then of course they’d be accused of stalling and being indecisive. By all means engage with the consultation and have your say but just saying no it won’t work and the sky will fall in isn’t going to help.

2 School closures are no novelty to Canberra, in Weston Creek former governments have closed Fisher and Holder Primary, Holder High and Stirling College. It hasn’t reduced house prices in the area, far from it. The sense of community still exists it just moved with the students to new schools. If the parents of Fisher and Holder students screamed as loudly as the Cook parents they’d still be open and with 15 students between them.

3 In response to the comment that “Some parents actually like sending their children to a smaller school as they believe the “community” links are far greater and that the kids learn more when in smaller classes with a smaller population”, I say this; small schools mean small peer groups, and peers can be a critical element in learning. So if your child only has a small pool of peers and is not fitting it where do they go then?

Small schools also mean limited access to speciality teachers to extend students. There is no real evidence that small schools provide higher educational outcomes. A small school needs more parent volunteers to be involved in maintaining and fundraising for the schools. As a parent with kids in public school I can tell you that it is a real challenge to get parents to volunteer in schools. They’re usually stay-at-home parents and the numbers who can do that are dwindling, or they’re working parents stressed out from a job, child-rearing and volunteering at the school. As for sense of community, all schools big and small have community spirit and if you find a school without one, create it, school communities are not a product of school size or location.

4 There is an ideal in Canberra that all children should be able to walk to school, I ask you to stand outside a school in the morning and watch how many cars there are. Only a few? Hardly. A school bus system could be used for primary school children to do a round of the surrounding suburbs and take them to the nearby school. I caught a school bus in another state to my ‘local’ school, it took 30 minutes and was no big deal. Actually it was a sort of mini community. Teaches kids to consider using public transport too.

emd 3:33 pm 04 Aug 06

Can’t speak for other people, but my agenda is pretty simple:
1) Make sure there’s decent pre and primary schools for my children to start attending in the next three years.
2) Make sure the wholesale routing of public education doesn’t destroy my nice suburban community in the process.

bonfire 1:30 pm 04 Aug 06

at a belco communist council meeting one of the save our schools peopel bored us all with his 7 oint plan – except for the two old farts in the audience who took umbrage when he said that (paraphrased) ‘as an educator for 27 years it is clear that students in private schools are less able to cope with the real world than govt school students’. The guy with the obvious toupee really went off.

Im not sure that his point was relevant to the school closing argument, but it certailnly alienated possible supporters.

There are several agendas running here.

Roland GRNS 12:32 pm 04 Aug 06

Ian Morgan from “Save our School” in a media release titled “More Signs of Govt. in Crisis” wrote “The Chief Minister has chosen to misinterpret Jane Gorrie’s call as asking for immediate closure of schools, in an attempt to score a cheap political point. This is clearly non-sense, and the Chief Minister is not fooling anyone – except perhaps himself.”

emd 9:52 am 04 Aug 06

They say they want to improve the education system and offer more choices to slow the move towards private schools. Yet look at what they’re doing:
1) Closing small schools with special programs and loyal families. This will not endear them to other public schools in the district. It will just result in them moving their kids to small independent schools with special programs and strong community spirit.

2) The consultation process ends two weeks before end of school term. So for schools planned to close end 2006, life suddenly becomes a shit-fight to get your kids into a decent school for 2007 “just in case”. Hence the current DET efforts to calculate how many demountables to put on which other school ovals for next year. Do we really want to educate our kids in demountables because the government doesn’t want to take their time on a proper consultation process or transition plan? I suspect many parents will choose private schools who have actual brick buildings.

3) Closing a swathe of small schools and redistributing the students to larger schools will create playground gang warfare. So even more parents will leave the public education system.

Mr_Shab 9:42 am 04 Aug 06

Nyssa – I thought the proposal to close Cook primary meant that the displaced students would move to the nearby Aranda and Macquarie schools. They’re still very nearby (I know – I live in the area) and if the money that is being paid to keep a one-lung operation like Cook open is spent on the two others, it’s a good think IMO.

Your statement that this will create schools with over 1000 students is not valid in Cook’s case. It will only add 70-ish students to the neighboring schools – which are currently nowhere near the 1000 student mark.

Also – are class sizes really smaller at Cook? Or are the students crammed into composite classes?

I’m interested to hear the opinion of someone within the department, as living in the Cook area means that I am privy to a lot of “Keep Cook Open” hyperbole, and not a lot of fact.

VYBerlinaV8 9:27 am 04 Aug 06

You know what I’ve always liked about Cook? If you get a marker and cover up a little bit of the send ‘o’, it says ‘Cock’. hehehehehehehehe

publius 7:43 am 04 Aug 06

Stanhope and his team have to close down many public schools now. That is because they said they would and they have said it is vital that they do. If they don’t they will look (even more) foolish. The consultation they are undertaking after an announcement is therefore shameless. Many in our community bought their houses as there were near to public schools. Many families we are trying to woo to Canberra have exactly the same concerns. This whole fiasco will discourage those families who would normally place their children in the public school system from coming here. It is a huge disincentive. You don’t want to disrupt your children’s education by moving and then find you might have to move them again to another school when you are here. In short this entire school closures process has created uncertainty.

nyssa76 10:41 pm 03 Aug 06

Schools like Cook Primary – actioned to be closed – are small.

They aren’t under resourced. In fact, Cook Primary is far from it.

Some parents actually like sending their children to a smaller school as they believe the “community” links are far greater and that the kids learn more when in smaller classes with a smaller population. Creating schools with 1000 students has proved to be deterimental to a students learning.

2020, you aren’t a rep for the Minister or ACTDET are you?

johnboy 10:23 pm 03 Aug 06

Fine arguments which should have been put to the people before announcing a half-baked hitlist.

2020 10:15 pm 03 Aug 06

The problem with 100-student schools is that they are are under-resourced and the kids just don’t get the benefits they would at larger schools. You wouldn’t design a school system that way, and we have one like that because of demographic changes. But being straightjacketed by nostalgia to keep open schools for which there is inadequate need is hopeless policy.

johnboy 5:47 pm 03 Aug 06

wow, that’s some pedantry you’re wearing as a fig leaf there.

areaman 5:20 pm 03 Aug 06

but hang on…

“But more importantly the Chief Minister must know as well as anyone that every school earmarked for closure in the plan is finished.”

johnboy 5:18 pm 03 Aug 06

I’m sure they’ve already factored in their token concessions to public opinion.

areaman 5:16 pm 03 Aug 06

Not that I entirely disagree with you JB, but I’ll bet you $100 that not every school marked for closure under the 2020 plan will actualy shut as a part of it.

I’d guess that pretty much all of the schools due to shut this year will, after that i think there’s still some wiggle room.

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