I was asked by The Age to respond to questions about the Victorian State election to be held on 29 November 2014. Here is my response:
Many voters see election manifestos as generalisations of intent. This might be a bleak assessment but the platforms of the Victorian Coalition parties and the Australian Labor Party do at least provide education expenditure or commitments. Money isn’t everything, but education needs whatever is available.
Both sides say they want to improve teacher quality – that’s an area that we can continue to make a contribution through our professional learning programs for school leaders, teachers and staff.
The Coalition and Labor are committed to providing greater support for students with disabilities – we despair at the unfairness of funding for some parents whose children have special needs. Another anomaly that needs repairing is unfair distribution of funding for early learning places at Independent schools.
The ABS says Victoria continues to experience high population growth, which increased last year by 108,800, with many settling in Melbourne’s new suburbs in the west and north. Some of these families face educational challenges. We have schools that are helping to meet their needs and we look forward to our schools being able to extend their work.
We support Independent schools but we also want to work for the benefit of education with whatever government is elected. The answer to resolving perceived educational shortcomings and the economic challenge of providing the best possible education for the changing Victorian demographic is greater cooperation between the three education sectors and the state and federal governments. Is this too much to expect?
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