The Greens say a Senate inquiry into school disruption, initiated by the Liberals and backed by Labor, risks being used as a platform to attack overworked teachers and First Nations, disabled and neurodiverse students.
Quotes attributable to Greens spokesperson on schools, Senator Penny Allman-Payne:
“Labor and the Coalition today voted to set up an inquiry into school disruption. While disruption and lack of student engagement in Australian classrooms is a complex phenomenon worth exploring in its proper context, the inquiry's terms of reference are deeply concerning.
“Instead of seeking to investigate the causes of disruption and student disengagement without prejudice, the terms of reference are loaded with assumptions and value judgements.
“I hope I'm wrong but I'm really worried that this inquiry will be used as a cudgel against overworked teachers, struggling parents and disadvantaged kids. I'm especially concerned that it's going to provide a forum to target First Nations, disabled and neurodiverse students.
“Public school teachers, parents and carers have been telling us for years that their schools are understaffed and under-resourced and that this is worsening student outcomes and entrenching inequality.
“Perhaps the Senate could spend some more time inquiring into that rather than giving a soapbox to anti-public school culture warriors.”