Students With Disabilities Betrayed
The lack of support for students with disability in our schools is an urgent crisis, and the lack of action and broken promises of the Abbott Government is a disgrace.
We need your support to let politicians know this issue matters – we have set up a petition at http://www.igiveagonski.com.au/disability . Please, take action and sign the petition.
There are over 100,000 students with disability receiving no funding support in Australian schools – that’s one-in-three.
Students with disability deserve an education that recognises their potential and treats them as individuals. Too many are not getting that education.
The Abbott Government has failed to keep its election promise to introduce the needs-based disability loading recommended by the Gonski Review, which would begin to address this funding shortfall.
On March 24th we are taking action to raise awareness of this issue and tell the Abbott Government that funding the full disability loading in the May Budget is essential.
The AEU, together with Children with Disability Australia, will be taking a delegation of parents and students with disability to Canberra to meet with MPs and media to highlight the damage lack of funding is doing to children with disability.
Half of all parents of a child with disability say their child has not been able to fully participate at school, due to a lack of necessary support. At the same time, over half of educators believe they do not have the support, professional development and resources they need to teach students with disability well.
Every year this Government neglect continues another cohort of students with disability will leave school with their potential untapped and their prospects for higher education or work needlessly damaged.
There are thousands of educators doing an incredible job in providing opportunities for children with disability in our schools, going above and beyond to give these students a quality educations.
But we need to back this up with the resources recommended by the Gonski Review.
At the last election both major parties promised they would implement the “disability loading” recommended by Gonski.
The Coalition said that: “The current funding arrangements for students with disability and learning difficulty are unfair and inequitable. If elected to Government the Coalition will continue the data collection work that has commenced, which will be used to deliver more funding for people with disability through the ‘disability loading’ in 2015.”
This data collection work has not been completed, and the loading has not been introduced.
This inaction by the Abbott Government shows a complete disregard for the problems faced by students with disability, who are some of the most vulnerable in our community.
We need to tell the Abbott Government that continuing to fail these children is not acceptable.
Properly funding students with disability will cost billions of dollars, but is an investment in their future and in basic justice, and it is an investment we must make.
Correna Haythorpe is the Federal President of the Australian Education Union.