President’s comment – 26 July 2013
Waiting for Damocles!
At the close of business today (26 July 2013), the foreshortened consultation process on the first round of school closures will come to an end. The QTU has put in a submission on behalf of each of the school communities affected. The submissions can be found on the QTU website, listed under each school’s web page.
We now await the Minister’s decisions on the futures of these eight schools and the teachers, students, parents and caregivers, and local communities of which they are a part.
Much has been said over the life of this process about the failings of the Government’s communication strategy and the related consultation methodology, and the failure of many local political representatives (MPs) to stand up for their schools and communities.
Ultimately, it has been left to small but highly motivated groups of parents and community members to spearhead community campaigns in support of their local schools. At the forefront of each of these campaigns have been Parents and Citizens Associations, particularly their leadership, supported by school staff and students and other concerned parties. On behalf of the 44,000 teachers and principals of the QTU, we offer them our congratulations and thanks for the energy and effort they have expended in defence of their schools.
One common theme in the range of community consultations and meetings I have personally attended, and in correspondence between P&Cs and the QTU, has been the deep and abiding respect of the parent and community body for the work of the teachers and principals at each of the eight schools. The quality of the education delivered, the demonstrated care and concern for the students of the schools and the preparedness of teachers to go above and beyond expectations time and again has been widely acknowledged. To be held in such high regard by the people we serve is something about which all educators should be proud.
This campaign has taught us much about the proclivities of the Queensland Government. We are now even better prepared to stand with those school communities that will be targeted for the next round of school closures that the Minister has promised will occur in 2014. Until then, the sword of Damocles is poised and only the Minister has the power to take his hand off it!
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