Governments regularly resort to spin to deceive the public and avoid accountability. The NSW Minister for Education, Sarah Mitchell, adopted this underhand practice in her response to criticism by Save Our Schools that she failed to implement Department of Education protocols for consulting on school closures and amalgamations in the case of the Murwillumbah super-school.
She claims there was widespread consultation. As evidence, she says the Department of Education and School Infrastructure NSW ran workshops in the schools and surveyed the communities about the plan. Her claim is completely disingenuous.
This is a furphy. Department documents show that the only consultation was on the design of the new building. There was NO consultation on whether the schools should be amalgamated prior to the Minister’s announcement last October. It came as a complete shock to the community. Since then, the only consultation has been on the design of the building.
Continue reading “Minister’s Spin Rewrites History”
The NSW Minister for Education, Sarah Mitchell, has ignored her Department’s protocols in forcing the amalgamation of four Murwillumbah schools into a single super-school. The protocols provide for detailed consultation with school communities and specific criteria to be met before schools are closed or amalgamated. Instead, the amalgamation was announced without any prior consultation with communities.
The Minister has treated the Murwillumbah community with breathtaking arrogance and contempt in bulldozing the amalgamation through and refusing to fully consult with state principal, teacher and parent representative bodies and with local school communities. The only consultation will be on the design of the building, not on whether the schools should be amalgamated.
Continue reading “Minister’s ‘Cloak and Dagger’ Tactics on Murwillumbah Super-School”
There needs to be a serious conversation about the direction being taken by state governments in Australia to close schools and merge into large single super schools. Parents need to band together and say enough is enough!
Every bad outcome you have imagined for your school merger of up to four schools will come true. You will see an increase and more violent bullying assaults occurring; you will see more wagging, you will have a lowering of expected and academic standards; your children will become numbers and get lost in poor administration; they will be offered more choices that can’t be delivered; many will not form lasting relationships with their teachers and peers; you will be ignored if you try and advocate for your child; students with special needs will be worse off; low-socioeconomic and disadvantaged students will fall through the cracks along with previously above average students; they will be treated like robots encouraged to perform to a level playing field and the ‘so-called’ new well-being programs will fail with teachers unable to cope with the problems the new systems create.
Continue reading “Super-school Chaos”
The following is a press release issued by the Save Our Schools – No Transition Group in Shepparton, Victoria. It shows that the Shepparton schools merger plan was not formally agreed by all four school councils as required by the School Merger Guidelines.
We have evidence that the Shepparton Education Plan was not formally agreed to by all four school
councils as required by School Merger
Guidelines, prior to the announcement on
19 April, 2018, by Education Minister, James Merlino, that it would proceed.
Despite a requirement that the
motion to accept the model proposed by the Strategic Advisory Committee be
passed at a properly constituted meeting with a quorum, it appears that the
motion was not passed in accordance with School Merger Guidelines and School
An FOI request written in September, 2019 requesting written
advice to the Minister as required by School Merger Guidelines that all four
councils had voted on the plan at a meet ing with a quorum has been completed
and together with existing evidence appears to confirm that two of the four
schools did not pass the motion to
accept the recommendation of the
Strategic Advisory Committee of one school
on one site, based on the schools
within a school model, before the announcement in April 2018. It was not voted
on until months later when it was finally carried.
information is that three of the four schools did not pass the motion prior to
the announcement and it was never voted on by one and later ratified by two.
In fairness to
all concerned parties, this plan needs to be halted until this issue has been investigated
and satisfactorily addressed with adequate consultation with the families of
Greater Shepparton as requested at a public meeting in August, 2019.
The following is a letter by a member of the Stop Shepparton Super-School group in response to a refusal by the local Independent MP, Suzanna Sheed, to discuss the super-school proposal.
The Executive Committee of Save Our Schools No Transition in Shepparton has been trying for months to obtain a meeting with our local Independent MP, Suzanna Sheed, in order to present to her the reasons and concerns of members of the community that are against having one huge super school in Shepparton with no choice for schooling and poor communication about its planning.
We have been aggressively refused a meeting with Ms. Sheed. She needs to remember that she was elected to represent her constituents.
Continue reading “Local MP Refuses to Discuss Shepparton Super-School”
We have been fighting
hard for over six months to have our voice heard on the merger of four Greater
Shepparton secondary schools into one school of 2,700 to 3,000 students. We
have met a stony wall of silence. We have been told ‘You need to get on board
for your children’s sake, during this difficult time of transition.’ Frankly,
if one more educator, politician or mayor says that sentence again, we might
The decision to
amalgamate the four schools was made during September/October in 2017. The
so-called ‘community consultation’ involved only an online survey and two
workshops held in Mooroopna and Shepparton on the same day, that families of
secondary students could attend. The consultation was not advertised either in
time or adequately for parents to take part in.
Continue reading “Stop the Shepparton Super-School”
The following is an open letter to Victorian politicians and education department officials from a member of the Shepparton community.
I am concerned about the lack of evidence to back the Victorian Education Department’s claims that the super school is the best option for education in Shepparton. Studies have shown that large schools do not improve academic outcomes and small schools perform better in academic outcomes, discipline, mental health and safety. In the USA and UK large schools have been made into smaller ones. Studies show smaller schools graduate a larger proportion of their students than do large schools. Schools with populations of diverse or disadvantaged backgrounds should be limited to 600 or fewer students. Schools with advantaged students should be capped at about 1000 students.
Continue reading “Shepparton Community Continues the Fight Against Super School”
The Minister for Education, James Merlino, is treating the
Shepparton/Mooroopna community with breathtaking arrogance and contempt in
refusing to provide any evidence that the new super-school will improve school
outcomes. He has repeatedly avoided fronting the community to justify the
The Minister claims that the merger will boost student
results. Yet, two years after the plan was first mooted, he hasn’t provided any
evidence for his claim. When faced with a direct request for this evidence at a
community meeting in Shepparton, government representatives couldn’t provide
There is good reason for this failure and the Minister’s
attempt to bluff it out – there is little evidence to support his claim!
Continue reading “Shepparton Super-School is Unlikely to Improve Outcomes”
Labor Government has announced that it will merge four secondary schools in
Shepparton and Mooroopna into a new “super school” of about 3,000 students. The
merger is being strongly resisted by of the Stop Shepparton’s Super
School Facebook group. A
community meeting earlier this month called for an independent review of
the decision. Many
parents are concerned because the merger will restrict public school
options in the area.
Continue reading “Vic Govt Has Failed to Justify Shepparton Super School”
This article is re-printed from the website of US blogger Jan Resseger. The title is amended as suggested by Diane Ravitch.
In her profound and provocative book about the community
impact of Chicago’s closure of 50 so-called “underutilized” public schools at
the end of the 2013 school year, Eve Ewing considers the effect of school
closures on the neighborhoods they once anchored. Ewing’s book, Ghosts in the Schoolyard, is
about Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood and a set of school closures in
Chicago in which 88 percent of the affected students were African American, and
71 percent of the closed schools had majority-African American teachers.
(Ghosts in the Schoolyard, p. 5)
Continue reading “The Futility of School Closings”