Janine Freeman MLALabor Member for Mirrabooka

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Community Benefits from Quality Education

Friday 20 Sep 2013

Member for Mirrabooka, Janine Freeman MLA has criticised the State Liberal National Government for its cuts to local schools.

In a speech to Parliament, Ms Freeman outlined how schools in the Mirrabooka electorate will be gutted $1.6 million.

Given the cuts Ms Freeman said she understood why Teachers, Education Assistants and support staff had to make a stand for quality public education for our kids.

Ms Freeman detailed the particular injustice of levying schools to pay for leave liabilities mismanaged by the Education Department.

"At a school such as Boyare Primary School, which had a school grant allocation of just short of $216 000 in 2012-13, about $18 000 will be taxed by the Barnett government because of the education department's long service leave levy."

"Westminster Junior Primary School will lose $15 000, with the average loss to schools in the area from this "teacher tax" being around $18 000, that is in addition to the cuts to other funding totalling in losses to primary schools of over $100 000 and high schools in the area around $200 000."

It is dishonest of the State government to tell parents and the community that these cuts are a precursor to the student-centred funding model, when they are in fact simply cuts.

Ms Freeman spoke about the distress of the debate, and of seeing Principals with their heads in their hands as they despaired at the impact the cuts and reductions in Education Assistants would have on students, teachers and parents.

"At the recent teachers' rally one of the placards read, "Open a school and close a prison".

Ms Freeman referenced a Save the Children International published paper that noted that every year of successful schooling that a boy undertakes, reduces by 20 per cent the chance that he will be involved in violent crime. "This is not only a tax on our teachers; the education of our children but on our community's future... Because when our young become disengaged from schooling because the education they are receiving cannot meet their needs - alienation replaces motivation."

Studies have established the link between parents' education and children's economic, educational and socio economic status therefore the removal of ethnic EAs from schools is detrimental to a generation of newly arrived migrants in our schools.