Illawarra teachers will join a mass statewide protest in response to growing anger over the NSW government’s proposed $1.7 billion education cuts.
NSW Teachers Federation president and former Keira High School principal Maurie Mulheron today announced a weekend community protest to be held in Sydney and major regional centres next term.
‘‘This will involve not just teachers but parents and members of the community,’’ he said.
Mr Mulheron said protests would be held outside the offices of state MPs, near TAFE campuses and at other public venues to harness ‘‘community outrage’’ over what he called ‘‘the biggest attack on public schools and TAFE colleges in decades’’.
NSW Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli last week announced more than 1800 job cuts to TAFE and public schools, as well as a freeze on private school funding, saying he had to make tough decisions in difficult economic circumstances.
‘‘We must focus on delivering education and training in the most efficient and equitable way and that is why the government has had to make a number of tough decisions,’’ Mr Piccoli said at the time.
As part of its campaign, the teachers federation is also holding public meetings and Mr Mulheron will tonight attend a Dapto Leagues Club forum for public school parents, students and teachers.
In the private education sector, the Illawarra Grammar School headmaster Stephen Kinsella urged parents to hold the government to account for an ‘‘unfair, unprincipled decision’’ which posed ‘‘a direct threat to TIGS, our students and our families’’.
In addition, Keira MP Ryan Park has launched a petition in an effort to gain 10,000 signatures and force the government to debate the cuts in parliament.
‘‘I have had thousands of phone calls and emails from people of all backgrounds, all schools and TAFE, who are very concerned about these changes,’’ Mr Park said.
‘‘This has to be a grassroots campaign that involves not just teachers, students and parents but all community members because schools and TAFE are community assets owned by all of us and there to serve the community.’’