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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 11 Hansard (20 September) . . Page.. 3373..


Victims of Crime Regulation 2000-Victims of Crime (Victims Assistance Board) Appointment 2005 (No 5)-Disallowable Instrument DI2005-195 (LR, 1 September 2005).

Vocational Education and Training Act-

Vocational Education and Training Authority Appointment 2005 (No 3)-Disallowable Instrument DI2005-194 (LR, 29 August 2005).

Vocational Education and Training Authority Appointment 2005 (No 4)-Disallowable Instrument DI2005-196 (LR, 1 September 2005).

Vocational Education and Training Authority Appointment 2005 (No 5)-Disallowable Instrument DI2005-197 (LR, 1 September 2005).

Education

Discussion of matter of public importance

MR SPEAKER: I have received letters from Mrs Dunne, Dr Foskey, Ms Porter and Mr Pratt proposing matters of public importance to be submitted to the Assembly. In accordance with standing order 79, I determine that the matter proposed by Mrs Dunne be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

The state of education in ACT schools.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (3.46): It will not have escaped members' notice that in recent weeks education has featured prominently in media and public debates, not only with regard to this government's pre-emptory decision to close and demolish Ginninderra district high school and other schools in the Belconnen area, replacing them with a monolithic mega-school, but also with regard to some of the more general and ultimately more fundamental questions of curriculum disengagement or, to use the government's newspeak, curriculum renewal. I say "disengagement"because that, in the final analysis, is what this attack on traditional curriculum is about.

The practical upshot of the proposed changes, if they get through, would be to disengage the department from its responsibilities to students, parents and teachers alike and the government as a whole from its declared responsibility to provide the best possible opportunities for all Canberra children in the public school system. Far from providing opportunities, especially to those who do not come from high-income families, the mooted curriculum reforms would significantly reduce opportunity and decrease upwards social mobility, as I shall explain.

Unfortunately most people and most parents are not aware of what is going on. The Canberra Times went into relative detail about the proposed changes but it would take a lot more than a week's articles in a broadsheet to alert the broader community to the nature and extent of the attack being mounted on their children's future.

This is not of course a problem confined to the ACT or indeed Australia. What is peculiar to Canberra, however, is that, whereas everywhere else the problem is already entrenched and some governments are belatedly trying to do something about it, the


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