AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL FOR THE DEFENCE OF GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS - D.O.G.S.

PRESS RELEASE 113#.

COMMITMENT TO PUBLIC EDUCATION SHOULD BE THE FIRST PRINCIPLE and basis for the

review of education and training legislation:

OPEN LETTER TO MINISTERS OF EDUCATION AND BUREAUCRATS

for assessment of their personal commitment to public education

6 JULY 2005

Dear Sir/Madam,

This letter is a survey of the personal commitment in both word and deed of the Ministers of Education and major administrators of public education in Victoria to the public education system itself. We are carrying out this survey because we believe that such commitment should be the basis for any consideration of the Review of Education and training Legislation in Victoria.

Public Education is at its lowest ebb since 1872. In that year the percentage share of pupil population was 82.04%. In that year J.W.  Stephen introduced the 1872 legislation with the words:

“We wish to create a system of education for the whole country and we do not wish for rival schools".

The administrators of the public schools system were similarly supportive of that system.

In 1972 the percentage share of pupil population was 75.82% and in 2004 it was 65.21% (the lowest ever).

Appallingly, public school percentage share has declined for every year of the Bracks ALP rule.

We trust that those who receive this letter will be honest in their response to the eight part commitment test in Attachment A:

WE REQUEST THAT YOU:

1.                  GIVE YOUR NAME AND POSITION AND

2.                   RESPOND TO THE EIGHT PART COMMITMENT TEST BELOW, WITH  THE ANSWER YES OR NO TOGETHER WITH EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT YOUR ANSWER.

In your response to the eight part test we suggest you peruse the detail presented in Attachment A.

We will report on your response - or lack of it - on our website.

Eight Part Commitment Test:

1,    Commitment to the strongest possible public education system

2.     Major Commitment Test: school attended by your own children (public or private)

3.     Membership of Private School Council (past or present)

4.     Any history of working within the private school apparatus

5.     Involvement with private schools at the administrative level

6.     Commitment to public education must have primacy over commitment to one or more of the following:

               i.       party political ambition

ii.                   Own importance

iii.                  Career

iv.                 Decision making processes

v.                   Success of a particular political party

7.                              Commitment shown by past actions and words

8.                              Future commitment to public education in words and actions.

We believe it is more than time to get rid of the uncommitted, the time servers, the careerists, the opportunists and the agents and acolytes of the church school faction from the public school system. It is more than time that only those committed in word and deed should be involved in the administration of the public school system.

It is ridiculous that there is no requirement for public education employees to be committed to public education in word or deed whereas this is the primary commitment for employment in the private sectarian sector.

The present situation is intolerable. Why is commitment required in sport, private school education, business, war and politics, but NOT in the most important institution for our liberal democratic society? 

Attachment B entitled “Why a Commitment Test?” elaborates this argument.

We are aware that there are persons past and present in the Education Department who have failed and would fail the above test. Their inadequacies are in large part the reason for the parlous political weakness of the public education system at the present time.

For instance, we have known for eighteen years of one person in a key position in this Review who over eighteen years ago moved from the private to the public sector over one weekend. How many more persons involved in this Review have a similar background?

 On another level, how many of the current so called leaders are like Michael Kevin Collins?  We will be interested to discover in your responses - or lack of them?

Yours in anticipation,

RAY NILSEN

PRESIDENT DOGS

Attachments

 

ATTACHMENT A

 

DEMONSTRABLE COMMITMENT TO PUBLIC EDUCATION

THE FIRST TEST FOR EMPLOYEES AND DECISION-MAKERS

IN PUBLIC EDUCATION:

The Minimal Eight-Part Public Education Commitment Test
 

To whom should the Commitment test Apply?

The Commitment Test should be applied to any person involved with or wishes to be involved in public education, be they bureaucrats, consultants, principals, teachers, support staff, union officials, activist or support bodies.

            1. Commitment to the strongest possible Public Education System:

The commitment required is a commitment to the strongest possible public education system as obtained within the Free, Secular, Universal public education system which is Public in

      Purpose

       Benefit,

       Access

       Accountability,

       Control

       Ownership and

      Funding

Each school within the public school system has all of the above seven features.

2.      The Major Commitment Test

School attended by your own children - Is it Public or Private?

The major test for those who have or have had a child or children should be the primary or secondary school attended by that child or children at both the primary and secondary level. Obviously, commitment can be gleaned from where children receive their education at both the primary and secondary level.

If the public school system in which a person administers , teachers or is employed or involved is not good enough for their child or children at both the primary and secondary level, then obviously this will be a good measure of whether they are good enough for the public school system themselves. There is no greater test of commitment for people with children than where they send them to school.

                  3.         Membership of Private School Councils  

Is or has a person been a member of a private school council?

Involvement with a private school council indicates a commitment to the private, and not the public school system.

                        4.         Work History within the Private School Apparatus

In current and past re-structures, highly paid permanent positions have been given to persons who have worked in private school teaching, bureaucratic and activist positions. Persons who have worked at any time in the private school system or its supporting apparatus cannot and should not be considered for appointment.

            5.         Involvement with Private Schools at the Administrative Level

There are certain people at various levels in public education who should not be considered suitable appointees. They have already been too involved and compromised by their administrative dealings with the private school sector. These people cannot engender the trust required for the positions they seek or hold. Those people in the Victorian public education system know to whom this injunction is directed.

6.      Commitment to Public Education Must have Primacy over Commitment to One or More of the Following:

      Party political ambitions

      Own importance

      Career

      Decision making processes

      Success of a particular political party.

The troubled and aggressively religious environment confronting the public school system has been increased and compounded by people whose commitment to public education ran a poor second to their commitment to one or more of the following:

      Their own party political ambition

      Their own importance

      Their own career

      A quiet life

      Decision making processes

      Party political success.

The Parliamentary and bureaucratic scheme is littered by such persons.

            7.         Commitment Shown by past Actions and Words

Particularly for those applicants who have had no child or children under their control, one cannot gauge their commitment through their children’s schooling test. One needs an overarching assessment. This is the sum total of their words and actions in relation to public education in the past, present and future.

8.         Future Commitment to Public Education in Words and Actions

As well as applying the Commitment test to past events, choices and actions. An undertaking should be obtained for future commitment to promote and strengthen our public education system with committed words and actions.

ATTACHMENT B

WHY A COMMITMENT TEST?

            1.         More than Time to Impose the Commitment Test:

A Commitment Test should have been applied more than 130 years ago. In the present highly competitive situation it is now time to turn the public school system personnel into an effective fighting force. Not surprisingly, private school operators overwhelmingly require commitment to the particular school’s aims and philosophy as a condition of employment, whether the person is a director, bureaucrat, principal, teacher aid, rowing coach etc.

The public school system must now do likewise.

            2.         Intolerability of Current Situation.

The current situation is intolerable. One pressure group, the private religious schools is represented by persons who are required to be committed whilst public schools are represented by persons who are not required to be committed. In fact, some employees in the public system are best described as covert or overt private school agents or party political promoters.

            3.         Imposition of Commitment Test Grounded in Logic and Practice.

The imposition of a commitment test is grounded in logic and practice.

A commitment test is the wise fighting and competitive strategy. It will maximise the chance of maximum effort and outcome in both quality and quantity. It will minimise the chance of interference with the maximum effort to preserve, promote, and obtain the strongest possible public education system.

            4.         Why is Commitment required in Sport, Private Religious School Education, Business, War, and Politics?

      Why does the football coach require total commitment from the footballers in their quest to win the Grand Final?

      Why does the Roman Catholic Church require commitment from the lowest to the highest paid personnel and positions in their education system?

      Why does business require commitment from its managers?

      Why did the allies in the Second World War expect total commitment from the free world in their fight against fascism?

      Why did the Victorian ALP pass the Equal Opportunity Bill but exempt political parties and religious schools from the operation of the Act?

            5.         Why is Commitment Required?

  • A committed person is a better and more convincing salesman and saleswoman.  People judge a person by their actions rather than their words. Observers will be highly suspicious and critical if a person gets their money from one organisation but promotes the competition or patronises the competitor. For example, if a person gets his pay from the public system but sends his children to private schools what are the public school parent and pupil to think?

            The failure of public school employees to send their own children           to         public schools is damaging the public perception of those schools.

  • Committed personnel are more likely to have consistency, strength, and depth in their application to their task.
  • With a committed workforce, fellow workers- team members can have greater faith in their fellow members, so that other persons will perform their task to a maximum effort and therefore they can concentrate on their particular part of the task. This lifts the overall effort and quality of performance.
  • With a committed workforce, personnel are less likely to have disillusion, disinterested persons effecting the general morale and attitude of the rest of the workers.
  • If all personnel are in accord with the aims, less mental energy and time is wasted in internal friction. This permits more time and effort to be spent on overall objectives of the enterprise.
  • With a committed group of people, one is able to have a more open and frank discussion of all options because there will be less fear of offending people and less fear that certain people will reveal plans, strengths, and weaknesses to the opposition. It helps to eliminate the listening posts.
  • Personal commitment means that there is less likelihood of whiteanting of the enterprise or fifth column style activities.
  • Confidentiality in important matters can be retained more easily with a committed workforce.
  • A committed person will engender more sincerity, trust, and effort in others.
  • If a person is really committed to the outcome that they are involved in, there is a greater chance of providing inspiration and optimism in others. A committed person also provides a proper model for others.

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
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Last modified:Wednesday, 06 July 2005