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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 6 Hansard (14 June) . . Page.. 1782 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

It is a retrograde and regressive proposal that we establish league tables. It is genuinely regressive and it disturbs me greatly to think that there are some schools and some people, who we can probably all easily identify, who will be targeted and especially disadvantaged as a result of going down this path.

The summary that the P&C Council has provided of this is absolutely true. It reflects my long-time experience of education here in the ACT that high ranking schools will select good students, whether deliberately or otherwise. The high ranking schools will select good students and reject bad ones. Any parent who has had a close association with a school knows it happens. It might not happen formally, but it happens.

The best teachers move to the high ranking schools. That is indisputable. You just have to look at the educational qualifications across schools and there is no doubt this happens. Separate schools develop for the well off and for the disadvantaged. There is no doubt that that happens. Low achieving students are ignored and, through being ignored and having their particular needs ignored, are further disadvantaged. They suffer disadvantage as it is and through this process are further disadvantaged, marginalised and pushed to the edge. The prospect of us printing and publishing league tables of all our schools is quite outrageous. This is genuinely regressive and an appalling thing to do to our schools and to our children.

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Business, Tourism and the Arts and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (5.55): Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, we have just had the most amazing speech from the Leader of the Opposition, a man with a law degree who said it is okay to be judged on anecdotal evidence. He says we know that it happens in Belconnen, but when you have the truth before you and you can actually get the figures out that would refute his anecdotal evidence-which he is willing for students to be hung out to dry on-

Mr Stanhope: What a goose!

MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The Leader of the Opposition will come to order. Minister, you have the call.

MR SMYTH: When you actually have the truth that would stop that anecdotal evidence from driving a school down, you do not release it. This is the man who has said that they would have open and transparent government, that they would reform things. But when they are put to the test about putting out information that the government has at its fingertips so that the public can make their own decisions, they do not want to do it. You have to ask why they do not want to do it. It defies any logic not to allow people to understand what is going on in their education system. The reason lies in the example that Mr Berry started with when he referred to the article about the disaster of Mount Druitt High School in the late 90s.

Governments of both ilk in New South Wales knew what was happening at Mount Druitt. It was not until the facts were put on the table and it was revealed the state Mount Druitt High had got into-not what Mr Stanhope would tell you would happen: that it would get even worse-that the government and the community worked together to make Mount Druitt better. I have stories for later on of students that came into classes after that event that did better and better. The resurrection of Mount Druitt High School

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