The Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA) has released a statement ahead of the 2019 Federal Election calling for a fresh approach to national education policy making.
AHISA’s CEO, Beth Blackwood, said that for too long deficit model thinking had prevailed in education policy development.
“Over the last decade, politicians, business and industry leaders and policy-preneurs have sought to build a case for change by claiming that Australia’s school system is failing,” said Ms Blackwood.
“Australia’s schools are far from failing; they are demonstrating that they are agile organisations responding in innovative ways to the challenges of digital disruption and rapid social and technological change. If Australia’s schools are to continue this successful transformation, they need strategic, bi-partisan support from governments.”
She added that “the push and pull of party politics on policy development threatens to act as a brake on the transformation of Australian schooling.”
AHISA has put forward three foundational principles for governments to adopt to empower national education policy making in Australia:
· National leadership to be expressed through bi-partisan policy commitments across the education continuum, from early learning through to tertiary provision;
· Trust in and respect for the professional expertise of educators; and
· Recognition of and support for diversity in schooling provision to meet the needs of all learners.
“Australia needs a compelling national vision for education to engage educators, students and their families, and the wider community,” said Ms Blackwood. “This can only be achieved through a strengths-based approach to policy development, not a misleading presumption of failure.”