Reform can fund school libraries

13 06 2013

Hello all,

Georgia here, back at the screenface.  In this lead up to the federal election and in face of the legislation for education reform currently being debated, I have been writing to those federal MPs who were on the House Inquiry committee. They are the ones who should be most aware of the value and decline of teacher librarian positions.  I thought they might be interested in events in the US where a group of senators ensured that the role of qualified school librarians is a part of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.  Considerations are currently being made for amendments and changes before it goes to the US Congress.

My question is which legislators will speak up for school libraries in the current Gonski and national education reform debate?

We have received a response from at least one parliamentarian, which shows continued support.  Further debate will take place in the Senate next week re the National Plan for School Improvement, The Australian Education Bill 2012.  This is an opportunity for you to remind your local federal senator  about the role of quality teacher librarians in school improvement.  And a chance to lobbying your state government, if they haven’t signed up to much needed public school funding (Gonski) needed for staffing and resourcing school libraries.

Dear Georgia,

RE: Action for Teacher Librarians?

Thank you for the information from the US.

I share your frustration that the debate is currently about quantity, not quality.

Much of the real debate as to why we need the National Plan for School Improvement has been lost amongst the squealing of State Premiers who do not want to sign up to a school funding system that forces them to account where the federal dollars have actually been spent.

Although the Australian Education Bill has now passed in the House the debate will be in the Senate next week where further speeches will no doubt, be made.

Yours Sincerely,

Mike Symon
Federal Labor Member for Deakin
Phone: (03) 9874 4544
Fax:     (03) 9874 4644

Canberra Phone: (02) 6277 4255
Canberra Fax      (02) 6277 8451

email: Mike.Symon.MP@aph.gov.au
Mail: PO Box 232, Mitcham VIC 3132

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Empowering Local Schools to dismiss teacher librarians

7 03 2011

Someone should tell the state premiers.  It’s been good spin for you for the past few years, but meanwhile who will be running your reading challenges when all the teacher librarians have turned out the lights? When all the books are left to parents to purchase for their child’s iPad or laptop?

Books of the Year? Sorry, can only afford to download Wind and the Willows and Alice in Wonderland and Macbeth.  Share those with bub on the knee.

What is it with Inquiries?  Do they give the imprematur to speed up the very practices being investigated for their negative effects?  Wrong word, of course. Imprematur is license to print.  We are talking here about the license to burn, discard, disregard the print.  Unless its out of copyright free print or disjointed, unverifiable, unedited, non-narrative print. Because you sure won’t find narrative non-fiction or a free Book of the Year on your laptop, Sally and Johnnie and Mohammed.

Mad?  Yes I’m mad! When I hear that the South Australian government has negotiated away any safeguard for teacher librarian positions, and school support officers are trying to cope with supporting teacher curriculum needs and students who need to be taught how to find reliable information.

Mad when I hear that Western Australia’s government is going full-steam ahead with its “Independent Public Schools” program. Teacher librarians of 20 years are suddenly supernumaries and feeling betrayed.  Library Officers get Level 2 pay to do a professional teacher’s job.  Teachers and students get short changed.

Do the real independent schools do this?  Hardly! New $8 million Resource Centre Learning Hub Libraries with four full-time professional staff speak loud and clear to prospective parents. (“Libraries turn a fresh page,” Sun Herald, 27 Feb 2011) They are saying, “We know quality libraries support quality teaching and learning.”

So what is Julia’s Empowering Local Schools policy really about?  Without the funds of independent schools, it can only be about shifting the responsibility and the blame. Even Julia knows that NAPLAN literacy results have been correlated with well-staffed and well-stocked school libraries.

So premiers, be sure you have a license for your bookmobiles. The challenge will be that the next generation can read at all.

Write a letter to your local federal member and to the House Education and Employment Inquiry committee now.