The key for effective local decision-making is, and will be, principal and parent training. Principals and parents need to be aware of the difference a TEACHER librarian makes. They will have to learn performance management of their teacher librarians, what makes an excellent TL and an excellent library. How are literacy and teaching and learning supported by quality school libraries?
Julia’s fact sheet states: “Principals will have a greater role in staff performance management within existing enterprise bargaining arrangements. ” So the role of the teachers unions is very important. The AEU (which included SA appendix), Tasmania, NSW, and Qld unions did make submissions to the Inquiry and appear as witnesses. So did the NSW/ACT Independent Education Union. Yet AEU has told me it has no resources for a TL campaign. Teacher librarians must get involved with their unions and urge them to negotiate agreements which will not allow teacher librarian positions to be traded away. They must actively support campaigns to educate principals and parents, such as has been done in Canada, for example.
Julia says, about Empowering Local Schools,
“An additional $6.9 million will fund implementation, including the development of a specific training course for principals on leading and managing a more autonomous school, the development of innovative governance models and a longitudinal evaluation. “ Who are the school library experts to advise on such training, when so much corporate knowledge has been lost?
“The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership will lead the development of a training course for principals on the fundamentals of leading and managing local schools with greater levels of local independence. “ Again, who can advise the AITSL? ASLA can not do it all.
“From next year the Gillard Labor Government will also work in partnership with education authorities to prepare for a transition to more empowered local schools. Funding of $17.7 million over four years will be provided to education authorities so they can provide support and training to principals and make other necessary changes like modify IT systems to support schools becoming more independent. “
So who in academic or systemic advisory positions will be able to advise on school library management training? Will academics at CSU, QUT, and ECU be able to step up to the plate? Will advisors from WA CMIS and NSW School Libraries and Information Literacy unit find the time, especially as the former has already been restructured out of their DET and the latter is about to be restructured?
“The rollout will also build on good practice from established models presented by Victorian Government schools, Catholic and Independent school systems.”
Victoria! Their DET didn’t even appear at the Inquiry. Although SLAV did, their de facto advisory and training body. Brisbane Catholic Ed would have some expertise to offer though, since they are sponsoring TL training at QUT these days in order to very wisely staff qualified teacher librarians! (Hale BCE:-)
“It will also capitalise on existing trials being rolled out as part of the Teacher Quality National Partnership, including 34 Independent Public Schools in Western Australia. “ Can anyone tell me if school libraries have been considered as part of these programs ?
And we will have to educate parents if they will have increased local control. As it is now they don’t even necessarily know the difference between a clerical assistant and a teacher librarian.
“Enhanced school governance arrangements,” says Julia, will give “school councils or boards responsibility for strategic planning, and oversight of the school’s operations and finances. This will enhance parental and community ownership of local schools. “But a great many resources and programs will need to be put in place if this local ownership will actually improve student learning. There is very little research which shows it will.
“Each school will determine what needs to change to improve student outcomes, drawing on the knowledge of teachers, parents and student performance information like NAPLAN and MySchool. ” It would be great if the stats for school library staffing and funding could be included in the MySchool data, as the Inquiry committee was exploring. The Softlink survey reported on in their Inquiry submission showed that the link could well be there between NAPLAN results and school library staffing and funding.
School libraries are just so far off the radar when you look at leadership sites like Principals Australia and parents sites like ASCCO.(Though ACSSO has greatly supported TLs in the Inquiry. See comment below). We all have a lot of work to do.
More to ponder:
Principals and other staff members will also be offered additional support and training so they can effectively exercise their new responsibilities, and generate better outcomes for their students. (GP: Again, who has the expertise to provide this on school libraries? Academic and corporate knowledge lost.)
By providing greater flexibility over the mix of staff within a school, principals will be able to devolve administrative responsibilities (GP: so more sacrificing of TLs to free up executive?) that currently occupy much of their time so they can focus more on school leadership, teaching and learning.
Individual teachers will also have more power to contribute to and shape school decision making processes. Individual teachers know better than anyone what needs to change within the school environment to improve the performance of their students, and this reform will empower them to make those changes with the support of the principal and parents. (Yet there has been no pre-service and little in-service training re collaboration with TLs.)