Removing the shadow of privatisation
The new Labor Government in Victoria has moved swiftly to end the former Kennett Government's Self-Governing Schools Program. Education Minister Mary Delahunty announced in Parliament on November 9 that the Program was officially dead. It means that the 51 schools who took the Kennett Government bribe to go into the Program will be returned to the state system, the Minister saying that "self-governing schools will have the same funding and employment conditions as all other state schools for the new school year". The announcement marks a clear break from the policy of winners and losers under the Kennett Government. All Victorian schools will now be treated equally and all children will have the same chance to succeed in a united state system of public education. Ms Delahunty also announced that: * no further schools will be granted self-governing status; * all future employment of teachers and principals will be under the Teaching Service Act 1981; * steps will be taken to encourage teachers and principals employed by school councils to transfer back to employment under the Act; * funding for staffing and student support services will be on the same basis for all schools; * there will be no further funding for specialist centres and there will be a review of their operations. The Victorian Branch of the Australian Education Union (AEU) said that while the union played a significant part in the campaign to end the self- governing schools program, the true victory belonged to the community. "The end of this policy is a vindication of the opposition that came from ordinary parents, teachers and the wider community", said the AEU. "In particular AEU members at Blackburn High School, Sandringham Secondary College and Frankston High School led the fight and made self-governance and state education a major election issue that contributed to the defeat of the Kennett Government. "The recent state election was the first and only time that Self-Governing Schools had been put before the Victorian electorate for endorsement. It was overwhelmingly rejected. "The AEU is pleased to see the end of the self-governing schools policy. It means that schools will be equitably funded and it removes the shadow of privatisation from our state education system."
* * *Acknowledgements: AEU News