Education should always be a priority for politicians no matter where you fall on the political spectrum, and for good reason. Not only is investing in education good for a strong economy, but it is investing in our most precious commodity – the minds of our future.
However, as the new school years begins, our teachers and children are already a step behind after the Coalition chose to cut $3.8 billion promised to schools under the Gonski Reforms. In more practical terms, such a cut will directly lead to the sacking of 1 in 7 teachers, and as a parent of two children I am all too aware of the negative effects of large class sizes on both a child’s learning and development.
What makes Mr Turnbull’s decision even tougher to swallow is the fact that our schools are in dire need of repair and resources. In NSW alone, the Department of Education has an outstanding maintenance debt of $775 million, with only a paltry $65 million allocated to address the statewide shortages of supplies and infrastructure problems.
Closer to home, since the Coalition took power in 2013, Macquarie schools have lost an estimated $34 million in funding. While for the Coalition these are just numbers, imagine the difference $34 million could make to our children’s education, with extra teachers, extra support and state of the art resources. Not only are the Coalition forsaking the potential and the futures of our children, but they are crippling our educators who, everyday face shortages of even the most basic resources and supplies.
Our children’s education is not a commodity, it is a resource and together we can send the government a message that education is not something that can be overlooked or dealt with simply in terms of numbers and figures. This government needs to understand that their promise to support the Gonski reforms is one promise they simply can’t go back on.