AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL FOR THE DEFENCE OF GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS - D.O.G.S.
PRESS RELEASE 128#.
2 December 2005
BRACKS AND KOSKY MOVING VICTORIA TOWARD THE UK AND NEW ZEALAND
OPTING OUT AS THE PROVIDER OF PUBLIC EDUCATION
Public School supporters must oppose the Bracks government's programme of private/public partnerships and opting out as the provider of public education , handing our public schools over to private "providers" piece by piece or in total. Their advisers are slavishly following UK mistakes . It appears they have accepted the old Thatcherite idea of rolling back the State.
Public education supporters do not want to read on Kosky's website the statement found on the New Zealand Ministry of Education website, namely:
" WE ARE NOT A PROVIDER OF EDUCATION."
Nor do public school supporters wish to hear her imitating statements made by Tony Blair.and his "Opus Dei" Secretary of Education, Ruth Kelly.
Tony Blair, in mid-November declared:
The role of the State was " effectively ENABLING the delivery of services....the single biggest danger we face is that people end up thinking we want the State to do things..... "
The purpose of the Reforms set out in the UK Education White Paper was to " drive the ethos and performance of the school forward in a way that is not constrained by central or local government."
Under the UK plans ( and Kosky's policy makers are following the UK) private and public sector are to be blurred. Consider the following statement of Blair:
" There are great opportunities here, for government and for business. It was not long ago that government and business operated in largely separate spheres. Now, three sectors - public, private and voluntary, overlap to the extent that, at times it is hard to see the join between them."
"The (UK) White paper does not destroy the role of local government ..... in practice, this means they can map local needs and ensure that popular schools can expand and poor schools are closed and make sure that there is proper competition to open new schools. But it does take away the power of the government, central and local, to block change. "
He defended the plans for trust schools - state funded schools run independently of the local authority by trusts made up of parent, voluntary sector, business, and school groups.
" Trust schools can forge links with universities and business sponsors. They can be linked to other schools and educational trusts."
The above statements were made in recent times by Tony Blair and more particularly at a North East Economic Forum in his constituency. His White Paper has created a furore in the last six weeks in the United Kingd
Blair and Kelly's proposals ( which will deliver UK state schools to religious and private commercial corporations ) have led to a rebellion of at least 100 MPs in UK Labor Party ranks. One member, Mr Martin Salter, the Parliament private secretary to the Schools Minister Jacqui Smith. has resigned from his position in protest. It has recently been noted that at least in the UK education raises great passions.
Is this going to be the case in Victoria?
Blair's White Paper proposals is reflected in Kosky's recently released White Paper and what she is proposing in the new round of school closures in the public sector ( See The Education Age 28 November 2005) According to this article ( management of the news media by leaks), she intends to punish the poor and reward the wealthy by tying capital and maintenance costs to "performance". The UK private/public rhetoric is now replacing the "parental choice" rhetoric. No wonder, parents will no longer have the choice of a local or even any public school offering free, secular and universal education.
Victorians should take the opportunity to be alarmed at what has happened with regard to Longerenong Agricultural College near Horsham. This College was run by the University of Melbourne, but the Minister of Education and Training, Kosky, on August 30, 2005 announced that "the preferred provider was to be WorkCo Ltd. "
A "non-profit" provider (operating since 1986) has replaced a public provider. The company employs approximately 55 employees .
On 14 October it was reported in ABC Rural that "WorkCo does not currently employ staff skilled in agricultural training and will need to hire before it takes over the college in January."
A spokesman for Ms Kosky, a Tim Mitchell, declared:
" Our first priority is to maintain the continuity of the education service at Longerenong" Note that he did not say that "the continuity of the education service provided by a public authority in that place. "
Workers received a shock in late November 2005 regarding their pay. The Longerenong head of campus, Gavin Drew indicated that staff face a substantial reduction in salary. It is believed that WorkCo want staff to take pay cuts of about 25%. He said that staff that were under the impression that pay would remain the same have been misled. He indicated in late November that staff had about 10 days to think about their new positions before putting in an application. He said he believed WorkCo would have an interview process with staff who applied.
DOGS call upon the Australian Education Union, Victoria Branch to use the WorkCo precedent as a wake up call and take into account what has occurred in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
There is not one element of a School or an Education Department that cannot be let out to a private provider if the Kosky/Bracks proposals are accepted and enshrined in legislation. Furthermore, it is foolish for anybody in the AEU to talk favourably about public/private partnerships because contracting out of any service is just another method of politicians opting out of their responsibility for public provisions and public accountability for public education.
DOGS are gravely concerned at the failure of the AEU VIC branch to campaign strongly against the massive changes proposed by Kosky and her Thatcher/Blairite advisers in 2005.
DOGS CALLS UPON ALL THOSE INVOLVED IN PUBLIC EDUCATION TO PROMOTE AND DEFEND IN ITS TOTALITY THE PUBLIC EDUCATION SYSTEM ESTABLISHED WITH THE 1872 FREE SECULAR AND UNIVERSAL EDUCATION SYSTEM OF VICTORIA A SYSTEM WHICH IS
For further discussion on these matters, listen to 3CR, 855 on the am dial
12.30 p.m. next Saturday.
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