Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 14 Hansard (Wednesday, 7 December 2011) . . Page.. 5857 ..
MR DOSZPOT (Brindabella) (5.03): Once again, for the second time this afternoon, we come to this incredible situation where the Greens are defending the indefensible from the government’s point of view. We have the situation where the Australian Education Union have made a case for the retention of this position. I quote from their letter, a letter written to the former minister for education, Andrew Barr:
Dear Minister Barr,
We wish to express our deep concern that the ETD is planning to cut one of the two ESL executive officer positions at the end of 2011.
I think the Greens ought to be paying attention to this as well. The fact is that the Australian Education Union thinks it is a bad move. Dr Marina Houston, the president of ATESOL, has written an additional paragraph, an initial email, regarding the support of these positions:
The issue of funding ESL support in schools is critical for our multicultural community, as many children from diverse backgrounds—
Are you listening to this, Ms Burch? You are the only one from your side—
MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mr Hargreaves): Mr Doszpot, direct your remarks through the chair, please.
MR DOSZPOT: I apologise, Mr Assistant Speaker. Ms Burch’s interest in this topic is quite interesting to note. The president of ATESOL has made the following comment in support of the importance of this position:
The issue of funding ESL support in schools is critical for our multicultural community, as many children from diverse backgrounds are growing up in homes where languages other than English are spoken and they are learning English as an additional, or second language. Many children have English language competency which is well below the one which is needed for successful learning in the English-medium school system. And for many children, school is the only place where any systemic teaching of ESL can occur. We know at present we have increased numbers of children with very high ESL learning needs—
such as most refugee background children. She continued:
These children’s ESL learning needs persist once they are still exceptionally high when they enter mainstream schools after several months in an introductory English centre.
Dr Houston goes on to say:
We are particularly concerned that removing the second ESL officer position—