What will the Inquiry into School Libraries and Teacher Librarians be able to say about the current push by Julia Gillard for locally empowered schools. 15 years of principal autonomy in staffing, with no conditions for retention of specialist staff, has resulted in Victorian government schools having qualified teacher librarians in only 13% of their schools. Under the Independent Public Schools (IPS) trial in 34 Western Australia schools, half of teacher librarian staffing in some high schools has been lost this year. Another 64 schools will participate next year.
Under the Locally Empowered Schools program, 1,000 public schools throughout the country will be offered control of their own budgets, staff appointments and long-term planning. This policy is being implemented through an expansion of the National Partnership Agreements which offer no protection for specialist staff such as teacher librarians. Under the guise of improving teacher quality, teaching quality supported by professionally trained teacher librarians is being thrown out with the bath water.
Join with US (Keith Curry Lance, Stephen Krashen and more), Australian and UK activists and researchers to exchange ideas on what we can do to influence federal and state policy. Advocacy conference goes live on Friday 4 March.