Education must be a high priority

We need to support our schools and our school teachers. 

Their decision to strike is about more than appropriate wages; it is about appropriate support so that schools can become better learning communities to enhance community life and work. 

Rather than putting the onus on teachers in isolating and punitive ways, we need to realise that good education is as much about school environment, and supportive vision from parents and citizens. 

‘Excellence’ in teaching requires a nurturing and supportive leadership and no less from Ministers of Education and governments. 

It requires long term envisioned planning, including appropriate pay for professionals and budgets for resourcing teachers, including good mentors and so forth. 

Supportive environments need to be encouraged. 

The current approach, the so-called ‘reward for excellence’, will always create an environment of suspicion and low morale. 

‘Excellence’ may well depend on the nature and make-up of a class, and all too often it depends on a student’s social and economic background, parent and community support. 

The strike may have disrupted hard working families, as Minister Hall may have said (Gippsland Times 11/9) but it will not be as disruptive in the long term to community and family life as our failure to value and resource education appropriately. 

We can say the same about recent cuts to funding for TAFE colleges. 

And yes, there is a cost in supporting good education and vocational training. 

Lack of vision and commitment is amazingly short sighted and we will reap the consequences not only, but especially, in rural and regional Victoria.