Page 101 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 9 February 2010

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there has been no significant educational improvement for those communities that had their schools replaced by a super school. The processes adopted by the Stanhope government at the time of the school closures were flawed. What the government did manage to do was effectively undermine community confidence in the government’s ability to follow due process. Even up to the time of the committee hearings evidence was still coming to light about the way in which research was skewed to suit the argument used by the government that small schools were educationally less effective.

The minister was chastised by the committee for using the research findings of Professor Brian Caldwell on small schools to justify school closures. The misuse was even confirmed by Professor Caldwell himself. Others in the community have gone so far as to call for the minister’s resignation over this misrepresentation. I will now quote from the media release issued by Save Our Schools in September 2009:

The Committee’s report concludes:

The Committee has concluded that Professor Caldwell’s research had been used to support a particular policy conclusion when … it supports the provision of quality education services in school settings of various sizes including in small schools. The Committee also observed that this interpretation has been used to support a decision-making process without significant contact or verification of the interpretation from the author.

That was on page 47 of the report. It continues:

What this tortuous language means is that the Minister has misled the Assembly—

and I am still quoting from the press release—

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mr Hargreaves): Mr Doszpot, I would ask you to withdraw the statement that the minister has misled the Assembly. That is not acceptable. That can be the subject of a substantive motion. Mr Doszpot, you said that the minister had misled the Assembly.

Mr Seselja: Just on the point, Mr Assistant Speaker—

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER: It is okay, Mr Seselja. Continue, Mr Doszpot.

MR DOSZPOT: The press release continues:

and the public about the research on small schools. It says that he also failed to take proper steps to ensure that he was using the research correctly in making his decisions to close schools.

The Minister has even been effectively condemned by his own ALP colleague on the Education Committee, Joy Burch. She made no dissent on the Committee’s conclusion, despite dissenting from many others.

This government and this minister have developed a reputation for misrepresentation at many levels. As I mentioned before, there are many in our community who believe that Minister Barr has no choice but to resign following the Assembly report on

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