Saturday, May 26, 2012

Education Cuts - Grrr!

One of the pleasures of Sunday morning is checking out the papers on line. This morning's Age has further details of the State Budget's cuts to state schools. The EMA funding which supports kids as poor as many of those who attend my own school has been slashed savagely. Parents will still get something, but much less, and schools will get nothing.

We use this money to subsidise excursions, camps, equipment, etc. The college principal says we'll be losing around $100,000 and that we're going to have to go more "user pays". Pays how? Last year, when deciding which students to recommend for a Western Chances Scholarship (for bright kids who have little money but could do well with support) I discovered about two thirds of my wonderful, much-loved class were on EMA support - I was spoiled for choice!

Now those of them who can't afford to pay won't get what everyone else can have.

It's very simple. The western suburbs are safe Labor seats. Why bother when there are no votes to be had? The same, of course, applies to any government.

This man, Baillieu, who went to Melbourne Grammar and was born into wealth and privilege doesn't get it, or want to. Maybe our students should start growing forelocks to tug at their "betters".

I work so hard to meet the challenge of my limited budget, which is probably less than Scotch College spent on a balloon to launch the National Year of Reading. I find cheap or free options so the students can have a taste of book-related pleasure. Last year I was very lucky to be offered a free visit by the State Library for which I must thank Adele Walsh. This year we went to the library for the Persian exhibition and a tour of the Domed Reading Room. Soon, we will be enjoying a visit to another school which is sharing an author visit with us. I've done book launches and encouraged entry in writing competitions and arranged for our students to read manuscripts for a publisher. I've taken them to Booktalkers and th Melbourne Writers' Festival - all things cheap or free. Sometimes I have used a bit of my tiny budget to subsidise these excursions, or taken from my own pocket.

Looks like I'm going to have to do all this for a long time to come - or more.

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