Dear Mr O’Farrell

Originally posted on October 30th 2012.

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You have proved you are a greedy bastard. Cutting $1.7 billion from public education in NSW…seriously?

You are putting jobs in jeopardy. You are cutting down on the quality of education for students – be they primary, secondary and tertiary. You are reducing support for students with disabilities or students from a Non-English Speaking Background.

What will you do with the $1.7 billion? Spend it on crap that NSW does not need?

I pay tax. I want to see my tax go towards quality education. I want my tax to go towards human rights issues.

But I have no say in where my tax goes to.

I, as a concerned member of the NSW Deaf community, do not want to see deaf and hearing impaired students be denied access to quality education they deserve more than anything. I do not want them to be denied access to Auslan interpreters. I do not want them to be denied access to notetakers or live captioning.

If you go ahead with the cuts, then how would school be able to afford said access provisions for deaf and hearing impaired students?

Imagine me as a parent of an intelligent deaf boy meeting with the school principal to discuss access.

ME: Mrs King, I would like to see that Mark has an educational interpreter at all times in the classroom. Can you provide that?

Mrs King: Um, no. You see, the school’s budget does not have any funding for that.

ME: How about live captioning, provided by AI Media?

Mrs King: Err…no we cannot afford that either.

ME: So Mrs King, how will Mark get quality education if you cannot afford what he needs? He deserves to get the same education as his hearing peers. I do not want him in a special needs unit. I want him mainstreamed.

Mrs King: It’s the only way we can do for Mark – to put him in the unit.

ME: Screw this. We’re moving to England.

 

Now, for deaf adults who wish to study at TAFE – with the education cuts, they won’t be able to get access to interpreters, notetakers, specialist teachers/consultants and courses designed for deaf students. Enrolling at a Registered Training Organisation would be a last resort for most, but the major issue with most RTO’s is their unwillingness to provide interpreters. A lot of deaf adults who have studied at TAFE across NSW have said they are extremely grateful for the support they received while studying and I am sure they would be rather concerned about the impacts the education cuts will have on current and future deaf students.

The budget cuts would have a significant impact on Auslan courses offered at TAFEs across the state. With less Auslan courses being offered, we would see the number of new Auslan interpreters decreasing. I am absolutely sure that no one wants to see this happen. We do not want to pick up on the example of Kangan TAFE, which was faced with the threat of closing down the Diploma of Auslan course…or some other Auslan related course – I, for the life of me, cannot remember – but it had an impact on those who wanted to become interpreters. There’s already a shortage of Auslan interpreters – and we still need MORE. MOAR. However you want to put it.

Now, moving onto the topic of Asian languages in schools across NSW.

While implementing Asian languages into the curriculum is a great idea, but have you even thought about introducing Auslan into the curriculum? Or even changing the policy of the use of sign language in schools across NSW? The policy is SO outdated – 20 years even! Queensland changed its policy in 2008 and introduced Auslan in schools across the state and employed a number of deaf people and CODAs as Auslan Language Models (otherwise known as Language Assistants, or even specialist Teacher Aides). They even have Educational Interpreters in schools with deaf child/ren enrolled! Victoria has implemented Auslan as a LOTE into their curriculum. Come on NSW – we all know this state is capable of doing something similar.

I’ve already said too much.

Over and out,

S.

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