Gillard targets parents

This is the Minister for Education Gillards Plan for the improving school communities.

The minister is also the Deputy PM of a government that had the overwhelming support of workers and their unions when we voted them in to kiss the Howard Liberal Government goodbye along with Workchoices.

Is this the government we expected to have or are we just getting more of the same?

As Gillard has said, If it looks like duck, quacks like a duck, waddles like a duck

Parents outraged by strike-breaker plan


April 12, 2010

THE NSW Parents and Citizens Association has expressed outrage at a plan by the Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, to recruit parents as ”strike-breakers” to supervise this year’s national numeracy and literacy tests if the Australian Education Union votes today to boycott the tests.

However, the state Labor government has backed the plan and threatened to take the union to the Industrial Relations Commission should a strike go ahead.

”NSW would support any action taken by the federal government to ensure that the tests go ahead,” said Samantha Wills, a spokeswoman for the Education Minister, Verity Firth. ”But we would hope that teachers would do the right thing so we don’t have to bring in outside supervisors.

”Most teachers don’t support the ban and we would strongly encourage them not to take part.”

But lawyers warned that parents used as strike-breakers and asked to supervise tests could be legally liable if students were injured under their watch.

”There is the potential for legal liability issues that can mean parents are not indemnified for any actions they carry out while undertaking this role,” the chief executive of the Law Institute of Victoria, Michael Brett Young, said.

The Australian Education Union will meet today in Melbourne to vote on a ban on public teachers supervising the national tests.

The federal president of the union, Angelo Gavrielatos, would not speculate on the likelihood of a strike going ahead, but said the union had ”made it very clear that unless measures were introduced to stop the misuse of student data and the further creation of league tables, we could not and would not co-operate on the administration of the test.”

Ms Gillard’s announcement that the government would recruit parents was ”highly regrettable”. ”’It is counterproductive attempting to pit parents against schools,” he said.

”Bottom line, if the government fails to act to protect students, we will.”

Ms Gillard told ABC TV’s Insiders yesterday that recruiting parents was part of the government’s contingency plans.

”I’m asking parents, if we need them, to consider working with us to make sure that the tests continue to run out this year,” Ms Gillard said. ”Parents have literally voted with their fingertips in extraordinary numbers because they want this information.”

Yet polling released yesterday by the teachers’ union showed that 54 per cent of parents of public school children support action by teachers to stop the national tests, while 85 per cent say Ms Gillard should meet with the union to avoid the strike.

The president of the NSW Parents and Citizens Association, Dianne Giblin, said the organisation was ”outraged” by the proposal, and that it was not the responsibility of parents to supervise the exams.

”Such action can only lead to the driving of a wedge between the key partners in a child’s formal educational experience, the parent and the teacher,” she said.

The NSW Greens MP who drafted the legislation backed by the NSW Liberals to prevent the publication of league tables, John Kaye, said: ”It is extraordinary that a Labor Deputy Prime Minister is resorting to scab labour to stymie industrial action by teachers. Julia Gillard’s My School website has already divided parents and teachers, and now she’s turning parents into strike breakers. It’s not worth it. The NAPLAN test is not that good.”

Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 are due to take the National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy tests from May 11-13.

To supervise, parents would have to participate in criminal checks and undergo training. A spokesman from Ms Gillard’s office yesterday said training would be a matter for the states.

The Independent Education Union has indicated private and Catholic school teachers will not support the ban.

2 thoughts on “Gillard targets parents

  1. AEU boycott? says:

    Australian teacher discusses school testing in England

    The AEU supports accountability and transparency in education, but league tables based on raw test results are bad for our students, our schools and our communities.

    Teachers, education support staff, principals, parents and school councils are united in opposing simplistic league tables. They are misleading, inaccurate, damaging, demoralising – and unnecessary.

    Why we oppose league tables

    AEU members who have worked in the UK and United States know the damages high-stakes testing and league tables can cause, by stigmatising schools and students, narrowing the curriculum, stifling creativity and forcing schools to teach to the test. These videos of AEU members who have taught in London and New York speak for themselves…more @


    Teachers facing $6600 fines over test
    May 5, 2010 source

    INDIVIDUAL school teachers could be fined up to $6600 if they defy an order from the industrial umpire and refuse to administer national literacy and numeracy tests next week.

    Fair Work Australia yesterday ruled in favour of the Victorian government, ordering the Australian Education Union and its members to cancel a threatened boycott of the tests, which children in years 3, 5, 7 and 9 are scheduled to sit from next Tuesday to Thursday.

    The union was ordered to issue notices, including on its websites, by 4.30pm yesterday, cancelling the boycott and directing teachers not to disrupt the tests. But the union was defying the orders last night, exposing it to the risk of a financial penalty of up to $33,000 and fines of up to $6600 for each of its officials and members.


  2. Teachers Unions lift ban on naplan says:

    AEU lifts ban on National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN).

    AEU Federal President Angelo Gavrielatos said the decision followed an offer by the Education Minister Julia Gillard to form a working party of educational experts, including representatives of the AEU, to provide advice on the use of student performance data and other indicators of school effectiveness.

    For more see statements…
    Australian Education Union
    Queensland Teachers Union

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