Tuesday, April 23, 2013

An answer to a letter

Do you remember when I wrote a letter to NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell? It was almost a year ago. 

Well, today I received a reply! 

I guess my email address was filed away in the PR office under "reply to with bulk email when we need to impress people who complained about the massive education budget cuts and/or removal of Disability Support Funding".

In case you can't read the text in the photo image of the email, it says this-

Historic Achievement for NSW Students, Teachers and Parents

Today the Prime Minister and I announced NSW would be the first Australian State to agree to the “Gonski” national education reforms.  

This is great news for students, teachers and parents. It will mean more resources and a fairer system – and assist our aim of higher standards and a better education for our children.

The agreement will deliver an additional $5 billion for NSW schools as well as continue the NSW Government’s education reforms, including improving literacy and numeracy, raising teaching quality and empowering principals and school communities to make local decisions.  

I am proud of this historic reform which could not have been achieved without your advocacy. I congratulate you for your efforts.

Yours sincerely

Barry O'Farrell MP

Isn't that nice? 

Except for a few things.....

Last year the state government removed $1.7 billion from the general NSW education budget.

The amount the NSW government is contributing to the Gonski reforms is... (wait for it)... $1.7 billion.

The amount in the letter the letter I received of $5 billion is misleading. He wants us to think that is coming from the NSW government, but in reality that is the amount coming from the federal government.

Although the fact that Gonski is going ahead in NSW is encouraging in that there is allowance for extra funding to be given to schools that have students with additional needs attending, there is no real sign of the disability support funding farce being resolved.

And how about this little gem.... Mr O'Farrell is going to pay for the states contribution by (among other things) cutting funding to TAFE (which is an educational institution) again! I can just imagine the discussion.....  "I know, let's fund the increase to education spending with cuts to the education budget". 

Call me a cynic if you will, but Mr O'Farrells statement that the NSW government will "focus on what's most important in education, which is giving our young people the best possible start and opportunities in life" seems a bit hollow. And his statement that "the state had always supported the Gonski principles and had been preparing the way for the funding overhaul" does appear to be true, however maybe not in the way he would prefer voters to believe.

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