Vote for the full Gonski

3 09 2013

A vote for the full Gonski has the best chance of increased funding for government schools. Cash-strapped principals can retain specialist teachers, such as teacher librarians, and resource iCentres/libraries to support quality teaching and learning.

Check out the stance of Labor, Liberal and Greens at http://igiveagonski.com.au/ to see the difference in their support for education.  Make your vote count for our children and students.





LSLD/Funding linked to outcomes: The truth will out

11 04 2012

[19] Plan may cost schools millions
LAURA SPERANZA
8 April 2012
Sunday Telegraph – Page 24 in Local Section.
THE NSW government plans to deny schools millions of dollars in school bank account interest used to buy equipment and classroom resources, but haven’t yet told principals and parents.
Despite moves by the state government to give schools greater control of their budget and finances, school bank accounts will be controlled by the NSW Department of Education from October this year.

[27] Wealth key to school success ANALYSIS REVEALS CHILDREN FROM WELL-HEELED HOMES GET AHEAD IN EDUCATION
JUSTINE FERRARI, NATIONAL EDUCATION CORRESPONDENT
7 April 2012
The Australian – Page 1 in Local Section.
EXCLUSIVE
FAMILY and money are the most influential factors in a child’s success at school, with elite independent and government schools serving students from well-off and well-educated backgrounds dominating the list of the nation’s highest achievers.






Inquiry Report Gap Analysis #3: Funding

2 06 2011

According to the Children’s Book Council of Australia survey (2010) submitted, sectors and schools vary markedly in school library funding. The average library budget for an Anglican school was $44,762; for independent schools $37,220; for Catholic schools, $20,732 and for government schools: $10,606. (36% of these were $5,000 or less. 3% were $1,000 or less.) In NT schools, most of which are remote, over half have budgets under $500 according to the 2008 Australian School Library Research Project.

Yet the issue of funding is sidelined in the School Library Inquiry Report.  ASLA had suggested “The Ministers of Education establish a formula for funding the resource collection of school libraries Australia-wide based on a minimum per-capita amount and negotiate with Governments to commit to meeting a national funding agreement for school libraries on an annual basis” (ASLA sub). This has not happened.

Since the 2008 Council of Australian Governments’ intergovernmental agreement, federal funding has been handed over to states and territories “providing them with increased flexibility” (Report p. 12).  Although school libraries in Australia virtually came into existence through federal funding for resources and training, they do not see this as their role now.

Yet grants could be given to BER libraries, for DER programs in libraries, for literacy through libraries.  There are many ways the federal government can fund school libraries, as they have in the past. At the least a much need increase in public school funding would directly affect library budgets.

While reducing the cost of online database subscriptions is recommended, the question of funding is left to

Recommendation 10

The Committee recommends that the Commonwealth Government, through the Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood and Youth Affairs, discuss ways to enhance partnerships with state and territory and local levels of government to support school libraries and teacher librarians.

So it remains for us, concerned parents, citizens, educators and school library supporters to continue to press the state and federal governments for funding standards and adequate, dedicated funding.





South Australian Graduate Women speak out against school library closure

30 03 2011

With permission, here is part of a recent submission to the current Federal Review of School Funding from a member of  Graduate Women – SA.  Submissions close today 31 March in Australia and can be submitted from

http://www.deewr.gov.au/Schooling/ReviewofFunding/Pages/Submissions.aspx or from

[The final report on the Review of Funding for Schooling (Dec 2011) otherwise known as the Gonski Report]

Further submission to the Review of School Funding – March 30th 2011

Graduate Women-SA

Dear Panel,

The Graduate Women-SA, affiliated with the Australian Federation of Graduate Women with concern for the education of girls and for social justice, and affiliated with the IFUW with consultative status with UNESCO, has been made aware of the capacity of Principals in South Australia to decide which staff they need to have to fulfill their estimation of a school’s staffing needs.

However, student counsellors and teacher librarians are no longer considered essential members of staff. That means that Principals may replace student counsellors by what were once chaplains but now are Christian Pastoral Officers or workers with all the possible intrusion of sectarian influence that such a position creates. Public schools are secular in order to recognise and value the wide range of family-held positions and to free students from any form of pressure from different religious organisations….[section on school counsellors]…..

The second issue is the decision not to include teacher librarians as essential members of staff. Teacher librarians have been at the forefront of helping schools to meet the wide range of changes in resources and ‘tools’ available for learning since 1975. They have helped teachers broaden their knowledge, helped individual students explore areas of interest outside the specific subjects they are studying, provided support for students and their parents with particular needs, been there before school, during lunch times and after school to answer questions or meet all kinds of needs – intellectual, emotional and psychological. Teacher librarians, working across subjects, have helped staff and students to make links with other subjects. That interdisciplinary capacity has helped to broaden the horizons of students, staff and families. Today, because they are not tied to subject specific requirements for My School results, they are even more valuable in that their support for students’ literacy is non-judgmental and is not tied to passing or failing.

Some Principals in public secondary schools, convinced that they need to be at the forefront of the ‘digital education revolution’, have decided they do not need teacher librarians and, indeed, that they do not need libraries. In one metropolitan South Australian school the Principal has decided that the library will be redundant in another two years, believing that leasing e-books will be an appropriate alternative. While e-books may be the answer for subject-based texts, there will be a new level of costs to be factored in by schools as the loan is for a limited time.

Dispersing the non-fiction held in a library to subject areas defeats the purpose of a library where students and staff have the opportunity to explore across a range of disciplines and find unexpected connections. In the 21st century, we are becoming aware of the interconnectedness of so much that we saw as separate in the past. Graduate Women-SA urges the panel not to lose sight of the fact that face-to-face connection is important for the development of interpersonal skills and human relationships, the quality of which lie at the heart of learning.

What will be missing, if more Principals follow this approach, is the broader vision. Students do need to explore beyond the boundaries set in place by this or that subject-based curriculum. Do we want Australian children and young people to have those narrower options? Do we want them to continue to have the narrow outlook of the 20th century when one was considered either ‘academic’ or ‘non-academic’? Do we want citizens unable to recognise the connections between human and natural events? Do we want to perpetuate the past?

All resources, including books, need to be fostered in schools. Decisions to get rid of books are decisions to narrow options for students. Teacher librarians, as non-subject specific members of staff, are in the position of helping to enrich the intellectual and emotional lives of students. They contribute to improving the literacy level of students. Browsing is different from surfing. Time is secondary. A book cannot be removed from the computer once the time allocated for the loan is reached as an e-book can. The leased e-book just disappears when the time is up. What does this mean for the person for whom such time pressure undermines his or her capacity to learn?

School Principals, who have the broader visions for the future, should not be penalised because some schools decide that academic study via the computer is the way to go. Graduate Women- SA requests that the Independent Panel take into account the impact on public schools of these recent decisions by Principals who have sought to save their salaries and replace teacher librarians with subject teachers.

Graduate Women-SA asks, in this submission to the Independent panel, that it recognise the integral roles of student counsellors and teacher librarians as part of the human infrastructure of public schools. Where decisions to undermine these positions are already taking place, we request that the panel takes it into account and quarantines funds allocated to schools to counteract the impact of such short-sighted approaches to the salaries for student counsellors and teacher librarians. Not all Principals, given the Local Empowerment Policy, will be driven by this narrower technological focus. Funding for schools should not force future Principals, and their communities, down this narrower pathway.

What will be missing, if more Principals follow this approach, is the broader vision. Students do need to explore beyond the boundaries set in place by this or that subject-based curriculum. Do we want Australian children and young people to have those narrower options? Do we want them to continue to have the narrow outlook of the 20th century when one was considered either ‘academic’ or ‘non-academic’? Do we want citizens unable to recognise the connections between human and natural events? Do we want to perpetuate the past?

All resources, including books, need to be fostered in schools. Decisions to get rid of books are decisions to narrow options for students. Teacher librarians, as non-subject specific members of staff, are in the position of helping to enrich the intellectual and emotional lives of students. They contribute to improving the literacy level of students. Browsing is different from surfing. Time is secondary. A book cannot be removed from the computer once the time allocated for the loan is reached as an e-book can. The leased e-book just disappears when the time is up. What does this mean for the person for whom such time pressure undermines his or her capacity to learn?

School Principals, who have the broader visions for the future, should not be penalised because some schools decide that academic study via the computer is the way to go. Graduate Women- SA requests that the Independent Panel take into account the impact on public schools of these recent decisions by Principals who have sought to save their salaries and replace teacher librarians with library officers or school support staff.

Graduate Women-SA asks, in this submission to the Independent panel, that it recognise the integral roles of student counsellors and teacher librarians as part of the human infrastructure of public schools. Where decisions to undermine these positions are already taking place, we request that the panel takes it into account and quarantines funds allocated to schools to counteract the impact of such short-sighted approaches to the salaries for student counsellors and teacher librarians. Not all Principals, given the Local Empowerment Policy, will be driven by this narrower technological focus. Funding for schools should not force future Principals, and their communities, down this narrower pathway.

A copy of The Hub’s submission to the review can be found here.





My School 2.0 needs school library info

3 03 2011

At last, more information regarding school funding and the disparity between private and public schools.  This disparity has also shown up in surveys done of school library funding and staffing. The Inquiry into School Libraries and Teacher Librarians Report should recommend that these figures also be included on the My School website.

As it is, we have some telling statistics from the Children’s Book Council survey of 2010 of 624 schools around Australia.

Anglican Schools:

Average Library Budget: $44,762.

80% of Anglican school library budgets are greater or equal to $20,000.

5 stated that their budgets are unknown. One commented: “We do not have a budget. We spend until told to stop.”

Independent Schools:

Average Library Budget: $37,220.

74% of Independent school budgets are greater or equal to $20,000.

6% of those schools had library budgets of over $100,000.

Catholic Schools:

Average Library Budget: $20,732.

39% of Catholic school library budgets were greater or equal to $20,000.

Less than 1% were $50,000 or greater.

43% were $10,000 or less. 22% were $5,000 or less.

Government Schools:

Average Library Budget: $10,606.

13% of government school library budgets were greater or equal to $20,000.

Only 2 (.5%) of the 375 schools had a budget exceeding $50,000.

66% had a library budget of $10,000 or below. 36% were $5,000 or less. 3% were $1,000 or less.

Further information can be found in the submission made by The Hub to the current federal review of school funding at https://hubinfo.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/school-funding-sub.doc  The deadline for submissions is 31 March.  Have your say on the funding, and resultant staffing, of school libraries.  Go to http://www.forourfuture.org.au/ for further information.





Everyday advocacy

16 02 2011

Carolyn Foote, an Austin, TX teacher librarian who will be part of the upcoming Your School Library advocacy online conference, recommends creative use of web tools in fighting cuts to staffing and funding to inform your community and politicians of your value.  They include student made websites to “Save Our Library”, online petitions, wikis and blogs to Rescue Our Librarians. “It’s time to use the tools at our disposal to demand equity for students in our own districts and across the country. And we have to be willing to take matters into our own hands,” says Foote.

“When communities accept library closings as ‘the new normal,’ then all libraries are in trouble,” says Lori Reed, learning and development coordinator at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library in North Carolina.” Reed started the site Save Our Libraries where anyone can share their story of library funding and staffing cuts and the strategies used to stop them.

What can you and your students do to save your library, now and for the future?

See Foote’s School Library Journal article, “Everyday Advocacy,” for the full story.





Reply from NSW Shadow Ed Minister

26 02 2010
NSW pilot and TL staffing
Date: 26 February 2010 4:58:29 PM
Dear Georgia
Thanks for your email about the trial of new flexible staffing arrangements.
It seems the Commonwealth are hell bent on imposing market based reforms that have proved to be a failure in other parts of the world.
I have taken a firm stance against league tables and have been critical of many of the other measures that Julia Gillard has imposed on schools.
I agree that the trial is probably more about covering problems of under funding of schools by allowing Principals to cannibalise what they might see as less essential staff and replacing them with what they might see as more important front line, teaching staff. What this covers up is a lack of funding to keep positions like teacher librarians while also being able to employ additional teaching staff.
I support more autonomy for Principals to make decisions about their schools and how they use their budgets but it is very dangerous territory when the government is pressuring Principals to get high NAPLAN results for the MySchool website if they fear they will be measured by those results. This can badly distort what happens at schools when the focus becomes entirely about NAPLAN results.
I am in regular contact with the Teachers Federation as well as the Principals groups in NSW and this is an area we have discussed at length. I will continue to consult with them and other groups, such as yourself as this trial continues.
Thank you again for your email and please stay in touch.
Adrian