It’s Back to the Future with Peter Garrett

3 11 2011

Your letters are being answered, but Garrett’s office seems to have gone through some time warp!  Replying to your requests for a government response to the teacher librarian Inquiry Report, our federal education minister Peter Garrett is repeating the cop out from four years ago: “responsibility for the day-to-day management of schools, including allocation of staff such as teacher librarians, rests with state and territory education authorities.” (See full reply here.)

It appears that our minister has not read the Inquiry Report.

It appears that our minister does not know that the federal government is taking a HUGE interest in controlling what happens in our schools.

It appears that our minister does not know that the federal government funds the training of specialist teachers such as pre-school teachers.

It appears that our minister does not know that the federal government directly influences territory schools.  It has demanded, mandated, English-only in schools and tied funds to fulfilment of that requirement in the Northern Territory.

It appears that our minister does not know that the federal government funds universities with teacher and teacher librarian training courses.

It appears that our minister does not know that the federal government can intervene in other state areas of responsibility, such as health care.

Maybe he needs to be told. Has he looked at the recommendations? They certainly don’t recommend telling the states how to staff their schools.  Instead they ask for the workforce data to be collected, for a national digital and information policy to be developed, for funding for a core set of online databases, for additional MySchool library data provision, for longitudinal studies, for ideas to enhance partnerships and the establishment of a national dialogue on training needs.

Where does it say that the federal government will direct states and territories in their staffing?!!

Of course, the Inquiry recommendations should have also included a national policy on school library services, including staffing recommendations, and the immediate need for funding of tertiary training places.

Even then, we know the federal government doesn’t want to tell the states what to do.  Ha!  That’s not what the National Curriculum and AITSL and NPAs and MySchool and NAPLAN are all about, or is it?

I think Peter Garrett needs to be told, don’t you?

Email Peter.Garrett.MP@aph.gov.au  or use his feedback form.

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