Shedding light on teachers’ strike
The State Government and teachers in NSW public schools are again in dispute.
At the centre of the dispute is the government’s proposed Local Schools Local Decisions policy.
On the one hand the government argues that it is about giving more autonomy to schools through increasing the power of principals with particular regard to staffing.
On the other hand teachers are arguing that it is not about improving the learning outcomes for students but rather a cost-cutting exercise in which the government will shift the responsibility to principals.
The danger of the proposals is that the budget will be the priority, not the education of children in our schools both in our area and in the state.
Two very different views. Little wonder that parents of children in public schools are probably confused.
Perhaps the following might shed light on what really is at stake here.
It is what teachers have asked Barry O’Farrell and the Minister for Education, Adrian Piccoli, to guarantee.
Before making a judgement, parents might consider if any of the following are unfair. Will any of the following diminish the opportunity to give greater autonomy to schools, bearing in mind that over 80 per cent of all executive positions in schools are already determined by interview as are over 55 per cent of classroom positions?
If the answer is no, then I would urge parents to support teachers in their efforts to making sure there is a well-funded public education system available for all children.
The government has been asked to guarantee that:
• class sizes will not be increased;
• funds for public education will not be reduced in real terms;
• there will be no overall decrease in the level of permanent teaching positions;
• there will be no overall decrease in the level of school executive staffing;
• the current harmonious award system will be maintained;
• there will be no decrease in the level of specialist teaching positions;
• school executive structures will be determined by curriculum and the number of teachers; and
• key decisions at the school level will be made co-operatively by principals, teachers and
Michael Lambert, President, Moruya Teachers Association.