IF I was the parent of a child in the state school system, I would be worried.
If my child had autism or some other disability, I would be distressed and very concerned.
So, too, if my child was struggling at school, or falling behind the rest of their class.
At a time when the Hodgman government is promising a record spend in education it has taken 266 jobs from the sector that has led to resource cuts in schools across the state.
Next year teachers and students will be working in very different environments.
One Northern school will lose several teachers.
Other teachers are having their working hours dropped.
This will lead to class sizes of up to 29, no learning support teachers and a reduction of teacher assistant hours.
Some schools are reporting the cutting of literacy and numeracy programs at a time when Tasmania sits below the national average, and some are cutting sports programs at a time when we are constantly reminded about the prevention of ill health and obesity, which should start young.
Gifted children may not be able to participate in special programs to foster their talents, kids who love music or might like to try, will miss out, and school libraries will suffer as librarian hours get chopped.
School is finished for 2014 but some students weren’t told who their class teachers will be next year, causing higher angst for those with autism, and some teachers on contracts don’t even know if they’ll have a class – or a job – to come back to.
Simply because schools may not be able to afford them.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Tasmania.
While the desire of this new Liberal government to want to leave a legacy is understood, there is some confusion in the contradiction of its pursuits.
It is spending $45 million to extend high school to years 11 and 12, which will include five extra teachers for those schools that do, and then another $8 million for specialist literacy and numeracy teachers.
It says that 2000 extra students will be staying in school for years 11 and 12 in the next four years, and Tasmanian students will be at or above the national average in NAPLAN tests after six years under the Liberals’ leadership.
Yet how can they justify ripping teaching resources from schools while at the same time promising to raise education standards in the state?
This is not saying that Tasmanian teachers are not up to the task but that their personal strengths, skills and stamina will surely be stretched as thin as the resources in their schools.
The “fixing the budget mess line” just doesn’t cut it, and parents cannot forget the now hollow promise that frontline services would not be cut.
For the state’s sake it is sincerely hoped that this record spend of our money and the years 11 and 12 extension – with its hope of changing education culture in Tasmania – pays off.
It would be nice for our educational standards to be lifted and for Tasmania to be a true part of the national race to international educational excellence.
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