If it happens there, will it happen here?

15 05 2013

As the US school year draws to a close, LM_NET (the listserv for US and international school librarians) is being increasingly peppered with stories such as this one Pasco superintendent proposes eliminating media specialists, literacy coaches.  (In fact, the decision has been made and all Media Specialist, Technology Specialist and Literacy Coach positions have been eliminated with a proposal to amalgamate the three roles into one super-job, expected to  provide the same services to the same number of clients as previously.)

The decisions are being made by administrators who may never have worked in a school but public-appeal politics has got them into a position of power.  The decisions are also being made despite the decision-makers being presented with all the research about the difference school libraries make; TLs , parents and students making presentations at board meetings,; the intervention of the state equivalents of ASLA and so on – the mighty dollar rules and it would seem no one seems to realise the implications of sinking schools, their students and their future below the bottom line.

Can it happen here?  Can we stop it?

Despite the looming federal election and the almost universal belief that there will be a change of government in Canberra, education does remain a priority and the activity of recent weeks in relation to getting Gonski’s recommendations implemented show that even ‘hostile’ state governments are committed in some way.  So, while there’s focus and money, what should we be doing to get some of it?  If we didn’t get what we wanted through the Federal Inquiry because the key issues were ‘matters for state governments to decide and the Federal Government doesn’t interfere in states’ business’ , what should we be doing to raise our profile at state level?

  • Who are the people with the power to decide, implement and sustain change?
  • What is the situation in your state?
  • What ideas does your state association have that others might emulate?
  • Do you have a strategy that has worked that should be shared?
  • What can The Hub do to support your actions and activities?

We are here, prepared to be your voice but you need to tell us what you want us to say and to whom. Make your voice heard so that what may be the whisper of one becomes the shout of many.

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One response

15 05 2013
Erica Jolly

This is an important warning. On behalf of Graduate Women-SA I have contacted the Senior Policy Adviser of the SA Department of Education in the hope that we do not yet again follow actions in the US that are destructive of quality education. We should not follow a nation which has even lower educational standards than we have. Local autonomy has been used here as an excuse by governments for lack of support for alternative avenues of learning in this time when the digital revolution is making some Principals act hastily. Ask the Friends of the Libraries and the parents of the schools where libraries with all kinds of media still exist to fill in the Softlink Australian School Library Survey for 2013. Keep on trying to keep us aware of what we could lose. Thank you.
Erica Jolly
Education/health liaison – GW-SA

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