NSW Teachers Union negotiates to save specialist teachers under LSLD guidelines

2 06 2014

The NSW Teachers Federation has successfully negotiated with their state department of education for principals to be able to use Gonski funding to retain specialist teachers, such as teacher librarians.

“Federation successfully advocated that schools should use this funding to create whatever new staffing positions they sought, rather than trade off existing positions and jeopardise the overall entitlement in the future. If a school demonstrates that they can do away with an assistant principal, head teacher or teacher-librarian position today, why would Treasury in the future continue to fund the existing number of positions? As evidenced in Victoria, this reduction in provision is what the devolution agenda is all about.”

While devolution in staffing decisions has meant the trade off of some teaching positions for others, to the long-term detriment of these positions, this does not have to happen in NSW. See full article at “New policy to determine staff mix in schools” by Gary Zadkovich (Education newsletter of the NSW Teachers Federation, 2 June 2014)





Teacher librarians could soon be left on the funding shelf

14 10 2012

Opinion piece in today’s SMH by Anna Fienberg

October 15, 2012

The library is a magical place, inhabited by a cast of invisible people who conduct their lives off stage, yet when introduced to us can transform our world forever.

The library is the heart of the primary school, and it is the teacher librarian who brings it alive.

Yet a slow erosion of this position is under way and a permanent loss of such a fundamental person in our primary schools would have devastating consequences in the lives of our children. Originally a full-time position, regardless of the size the school, the days worked by teacher librarians are now dictated by the number of students.

Read more

 




NSW DEC restructures yet again. 200 jobs to go.

2 06 2012

Education Job Cuts Done in Secrecy SMH 4 June        Education Job Cuts SMH 2June2012

You may not have caught the news Thursday that NSW DEC is “realigning,” ie restructuring, yet again, this time under the recently elected Liberal state government.  You may have not had this news, because the government made no public announcement!

It appears at least 200 jobs of 750 in offices of the DEC will go.  That’s over a quarter!

So in addition to the additional work taken on by self-managing schools, now teachers and principals are to take on a greater workload from head offices. And at a time when the new National Curriculum is being implemented.

This includes cuts to literacy support, including positions in the School Magazine, in this National Year of Reading! Literacy looks to lose 2 of their 5 positions.  There is no mention of the Premiers Reading Challenge. Nor Quality Teaching. Teacher librarians and school counsellors will see cuts to support to schools.

The nationwide respected education journal, SCAN, does not get a mention. Other positions in School Libraries and Information Services appear to  have been cut by about half. (I used to work for this service when it was known as School Library Service and had 60 on its staff!!)

There are fewer Principal Education Officer positions (higher salaries). Where is the support for curriculum leadership? Teacher Librarians are already feeling threatened – this cut in support services does not bode well for their continued expertise !

Two separate entities have been created for pre-school/primary and secondary when NSW teachers are supposed to be implementing K-10 syllabuses next year.

What role will regions have? Will there be duplication?

It has been described as a mess.

Realignment info for NSW teachers was on DEC internal intranet (Contact The Hub for copies.)

Feedback to DDGSchools@det.nsw.edu.au within a week. NSW teachers let your local MP (template) know once again you and your parents are not happy.  Federal MPs must also be pressed for the increased funding to public schools recommended by Gonski.  Education investment is an investment in our future. The NSW government seems determined to undermine our social and economic future.

For further information and updates, contact NSW Teachers Federation





Autonomy threatens TL positions in NSW: Channel 10 News

21 05 2012

TLs get a mention in tonight’s Channel 10 News at five, but don’t blink:-)  Click on Principal Changes.

Thanks to John Hill, the journo, who understands there is an important story here.





Letters to the Editor

20 05 2012

Letters to the editor of your local paper are read by many in the community. Oppose school autonomy with letters like these:





NSW TLs visit local members to discuss “Local Schools, Local Decisions”

20 04 2012

NSW teacher librarians are taking a proactive role to let their local members know the implications of school autonomy for the staffing of qualified teacher librarians in government schools.  MPs, it seems, have not been aware of this and, so far, have welcomed further information, both on the research which shows that school based management does not improve educational outcomes and on the national staffing statistics we have.

We urge all NSW TLs to do likewise.  Here is the background paper we are presenting to MPs for their information.  We are also giving them, when possible, a hard copy of the Inquiry Report, and a request for them to:

  • Oppose “Local Schools, Local Decisions”
  • Stand up for continued core staffing of teacher librarians
  • Stand up for dedicated funding to school libraries, especially in areas of social and economic disadvantage.




Dear NSW Parents and Citizens

25 03 2012

Don’t be gulled by government school autonomy shell games. While principals may want to order their own photocopiers and rid poor performers on their staffs, local empowerment of staffing will break the statewide transfer system which fills positions in remote rural schools, corrode teacher collaboration, force principals to master marketing instead of lead learning, further disadvantage disadvantaged school communities, and lead to increased privatization of public schools with sponsors calling the shots.

What started under Thatcher to break unions and transfer responsibility to school principals, has spread like an epidemic by neo-liberal US, English and Australian governments.

Look at the record of academy schools, charter schools and independent public schools.  There is no evidence that local empowerment improves learning outcomes.  On the contrary, eventual reduced funding and staffing, especially for low SES schools, leaves them to wither and decline.  As Scott Fitzgerald of Curtin University states, so called school autonomy leads to  “recentralisation of control over teachers through curriculum policy frameworks that are held in place by testing regimes, performance pay and league tables.”





No Books? No Libraries?

17 12 2011

In 2007, COBURG SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL, VIC. was a new school with dispersed book collections, virtually no non-fiction and lots of computers. (See article in Access, Nov 2007 by  Jennifer Sargeant, Director of Information Resources).  The principal had said there would eventually be a library “of sorts.”  Is there now?

Also in 2007, MORDIALLIC SECONDARY SCHOOL, MELBOURNE, closed its library entirely, disposing of its existing collection “so that the space could be used for a VCE centre, with the remaining books split amongst each year level. No catalogue, no borrowing system.” Each year since, they had to buy duplicate copies of books for access.  No TL then. What’s happening now?

BULLEEN HEIGHTS SCHOOL, an autistic school in Doncaster, Victoria, didn’t have a library.  Children were using the public library. Are they still?

In 2008, the sole TL at a school of 1000 students was told that all of the non-fiction would be removed from the MACKAY HIGH SCHOOL, QLD  library. The rationale was that students in the era of the Internet do not need books to research information. Some walls in the library were knocked down to form one large area to house a mass of computers.

In 2011 the library, however, is still functioning and a thriving hub, though the non-fiction collection is much smaller.  A staff survey which opposed the removal of non-fiction may have stopped the change.

I am told that MACKAY NORTH HIGH SCHOOL, QLD was to divest itself of non-fiction [see update in comments, this has not happened.] as has CALEN SECONDARY COLLEGE, (P-12) QLD. What do students and staff and parents think?

In 2008, LUMEN CHRISTI COLLEGE, GOSNELLS, WA a consultant reviewing the library suggested the idea of getting rid of non-fiction and replacing the books with computers, because “students in the era of the Internet do not need books to research information.”  Awaiting update. (I would love to know if this “consultant,” who doesn’t know the recreational benefits of non-fiction, is still employed.)

HENLEY HIGH SCHOOL, SA 2010

The Principal of Henley High in November 2010, announced through the Messenger Press  that her school was going ‘Hi tech’, because “few books were borrowed from the library.” Within three years, she expected there to be no need for the use of that space as such. The photograph in the Messenger Press showed empty shelves behind the girl with her laptop near the fiction section that had been retained.  Many books have gone to other libraries which appreciated them. There is now no TL or library assistant. The library is now called a Senior Study Centre.

The worst aspect of it all was the reaction of DECS and the fact that the unnamed spokeswoman for the Department of Education when asked about the loss of the library simply said that schools were moving to computers. She seemed to be unaware that the Federal government has just spent billions putting libraries in schools, public and private, throughout Australia!

Departments of education in NSW and other states are using the coming into play of the Local Empowerment Policy to wash their hands of responsibilities for decisions by principals in schools. It saves so much $$!

Theoretically, school councils might be used as governing councils, but they can be told whatever the principal wishes and their advice can be ignored.

The Local Empowerment Policy, already being abused in WA through the Independent Public Schools program being set up by the Liberal government there, will allow Principals to have free rein but what about funding? There do not appear to be any guarantees built in for principals to include as essential members of staff either school counsellors – that’s why the push to chaplains – or teacher librarians. And in SA the newly negotiated agreement with the AEU has now excluded teacher librarians and school counsellors from the essential members of staff.

So now under a state government “Expanding State High Schools” program, MARRYATVILLE HS, SA Resource Centre looks to be replaced by a General Learning area where a reading room is now, a science building with an “Area supporting Resource Based Learning”, an admin office….in short dismantled and dispersed as at Henley HS.

VARSITY COLLEGE SENIOR CAMPUS LIBRARY, Qld Nov 2011

The school has made the decision to remove all the non-fiction books from the catalogue, cull many and move the rest to the backs of middle school classrooms [sound familiar?]. Senior classes will be expected to rely solely on the internet or the online databases. Some fiction books will be kept in the library space which is being converted into a “digital break-out” space.

It’s all done with smoke and mirrors folks, and under the directorship of a regional director who has publicly stated that we don’t need libraries in schools any more. Many state schools on the Gold Coast now do not have a T/L (NB: Robina, Miami, Palm Beach, Currumbin, Nerang, Southport and others… and others with a teacher in charge who is taken off some classes and spends that time in the library [remember the “good old days”?]. As one deputy has stated, their teacher in charge “sets up displays and orders books”.

MT TAMBOURINE HIGH SCHOOL, Qld. was advertising for a TL for a library with NO books  Awaiting update.

AQUINUS COLLEGE, Melbourne is reputedly going paperless next year. What do these schools know about the availability and licensing of Australia history, art, industrial arts, health, sexuality, poetry, culture, etc. books in e-format that we don’t know?

AND CLOSING DOWN A LIBRARY?

CAMBRIDGE HS, NZ, LIBRARY WAS CLOSED, NOW REOPENED 2011

Philippa Stevenson: Library’s return puts heart back into high school

The school library that was closed to be replaced by a cyber cafe was at Cambridge in the North Island of NZ.  The principal thought it was a ‘museum”.  She was eventually replaced when the decision was reversed because of the publicity and the Department of Education and government got involved.

Some US primary libraries are re-opening (though with no TLs, only volunteer parents many of whom are raising the  funds themselves to re-open their libraries: one school district in California, one in Philidelphia, a school in Michigan.  Clerks are being rehired in 2 Napa Valley schools to re-open their libraries. Belmont CA has rehired 3-4 TLs to reopen six primary school libraries 

And in Windsor Canada Catholic Schools are bringing back libraries and books!!   The Windsor Public Library and the region’s Catholic School system are working on a partnership to save the school board’s libraries from extinction. Last spring, the board made a controversial move to remove most of the books from its school libraries…..

Is there a message here?!

And the latest good news? The US Congress is set to approve $28.6 billion for school libraries.  Thanks to the heroic work of school library champion, Senator Jack Reed.  (Or should it be READ!:-)  Now where is our OZ champion?





1000 more schools to get the blame

21 11 2011

Today education minister Peter Garrett issued a release that the National Partnership Agreements will be extended to 1000 more schools next year.

Please let parents and citizens know they are being hoodwinked. Write to local papers.  Spread the truth of NPAs and local control.

Parents and citizens beware. Global budgeting and staffing in schools is sold to the community as a way for principals and schools to determine their own needs.  In reality, they have become a means by which governments of all persuasions have been able to continually slash education budgets without having to wear the pain. The responsibility, and blame, is handed over to local school principals and parent boards.

Our situation is part of a much larger issue of declining education funding.  Over the past 20 years, education funding in Australia has declined, as funding in other OECD countries has increased.  We are now among the lowest funding countries in the developed world, 28th after Lithuania and Greece.

Under local control of staffing, principals have to hire from reduced budgets and cash in specialist teachers  no longer quarantined in staffing formulas.  The National Partnership Agreements give schools extra funds to experiment with staffing mixes.  What a surprise that they are happier with more staff! But with the reality of state funding cuts, this school based management is the reason we have hemorrhaged specialist teachers such as counsellors and teacher librarians around the country for the past two decades.

Now NSW wants to follow suit. Don’t be hoodwinked by Local Schools, Local Decisions.  There is plentiful evidence to show qualified teacher librarians improve student literacy and learning.  There is no evidence to show that localized staffing, and the dismantling of a state transfer system which ensures teachers in country regions, will improve student learning.

 

Further reading:

NSWTF on 47 NPA trial schools <http://www.nswtf.org.au/journal/education-92-11/index.html>

NSW next in line <https://hubinfo.wordpress.com/2011/10/11/nsw-next-in-line/>





Students support teacher librarians

14 11 2011

Students support TLs

Students in NSW support teacher librarians.