Not a good news week

25 08 2008

It hasn’t been good news for school libraries around Australia in the last week.  First we hear of South Australia’s Department of Education and Children’s Services (DECS) enterprise bargaining which threatens to implement full time face-to-face teaching loads for teacher librarians.  Then we read this story in The West Australian in which teacher librarians are set to be moved from their “non teaching” role to classroom positions. (what do TLs have to say about being described as “non-teaching”?)

Now we realise there’s a teacher shortage, so something has to change, but I have a different solution.  Let’s get rid of history.  Then all the history teachers can be used to make up the shortfall.  It’s not a very useful subject, and the only students who find it helpful are those who want to be history teachers, so it’s a win-win situation.

I could be wrong, but should this decision ever be made in an Australian state, I predict it would attract significant media attention, with criticism from all sides. Yet the redistribution of TLs is on the cards with barely a (media) whimper, despite the best efforts of the associations and unions.

One hubber makes the astute observation that the largest number of non-teaching teachers in schools may well be the principals and their deputies.  Perhaps that’s the answer?

This week we read of Victorian education minister Bronywn Pike’s plan to improve performance in low performing schools.  Send in relatively unqualified novices!  Genius or madness?  I suggest it fails to recognise many of the qualities that great teachers possess.  It’s fashioned on two overseas models, but I don’t know if there’s much evidence that it actually works. Meanwhile, the overwhelming evidence that libraries make a difference continues to be ignored. Victorians might like to pen a letter to Ms Pike this week, as I will be. In the meantime, I managed to get a few words in today’s Age newspaper.

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