Who is counting the numbers?

Monday June 26, 2006

Planning on going to a community forum? -– bring your own megaphone -– the microphones never work!

Don’t get too exited though, even if your question is heard, it doesn’t mean it will be answered.

Some very good questions and concerns were raised at the community forum at Copland College on Monday evening, unfortunately we heard not much more than the rhetoric that has abounded in all of the government documentation on 2020 so far.

The community position that these varied proposals for the delivery of education across the territory lack consistency and legitimacy across the system is countered with the argument that they provide an increase in choice for people, and that the public system needs to mimic what is offered by the private system. We are assured that our system is big enough to offer a range of choices.

The questions on calculation of school capacity, and the need to re-visit formulas for calculating this are simply ignored – we are assured that the students will fit, and the extra funding will create the ability to provide options.

When pressed for a specific answer to the question of how THIS proposal for Belconnen North West will improve outcomes (including but not limited to educational) for students and encourage public enrollments – we are told again of the benefits of offering a range of models, but no specific answers are given. We are told that a significant factor in educational outcomes is the quality of teaching, but the leap of how the quality of teaching will improve with these changes is left for us to make. The catch cry “why fix something that’s not broken?” receives resounding applause from the audience.

We are assured by the Minister that if there is a strong community view that neither model (for Copland/Charnwood/Melba) is wanted, it will not proceed. Who is counting the numbers?

Anja Livingston
26 June 2006

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