S: Queensland Job Cuts Author: Jennifer Owens
FC: Queensland Job Cuts | Author: Jennifer Owens
1: Student number: w0059578 Course code: EDO2104 Families and Society Assignment 2 Date submitted: 15th October 2012 Word count: 3,791
2: In society there are numerous local, state, national and international issues that impact on families in some form or another. In recent news, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has made headlines in relation to his public sector job cuts, as a result of the 2012/2013 budget release. A total of 14, 000 full time employees will lose their jobs. Queensland Treasurer, Tim Nicholls stated that ‘The total number of people receiving a redundancy from the public service under our fiscal repair program is 10,600. The difference is explained by not filling currently vacant positions and the removal of temporary and contract staff whose contracts are coming to an end’ (2012). Helbig and Ironside report that ‘The major cuts will help the Newman Government achieve its target of wiping the state's payroll of 14,000 full time equivalent workers to save $3.7 billion by 2015-16’ (2012).
3: This issue has been chosen as it directly affects 14, 000 families across Queensland. With so many losing an income, families may be put under financial stress which may develop into further issues. Families trying to make ends meet may result in ‘tension, depression and hostility’ (University of Southern Queensland, 2012). Cheal (2002) states that ‘Earned income is the most important economic resource for families in an urbanised and industrialised society, since most of the things that people need have to be bought. In a professional context as a beginning teacher, it is important to be aware of families who may be experiencing financial difficulty and continue to provide support for students and their families.
4: Examination of biases, assumptions and pre-understandings Initially, I had differing opinions as to whether I was for or against this decision of Campbell Newman’s job cuts in Queensland. Whilst I knew something had to be done in order to reduce the state’s debt, I thought it was unfair to force so many Queenslanders out of work due to the previous Government’s mismanagement.
5: LNP Perspective The recent cost savings and increases in certain taxes announced in the Queensland budget were based on the findings from the Peter Costello Queensland audit report that was completed in July 2012 (Queensland Government, 2012). The report accuses the Labour government of living beyond its means, and suggests the previous Queensland premier should have cut other areas more aggressively instead of investing more heavily in the areas of emerging need such as waste and water services (National Affairs, 2012). Tim Nicholls stated that ‘State debt stands at $62.7 billion this year but the budget will return to an operating surplus of $17 million in 2013-14 (Skyes, 2012). Campbell Newman has based the 2012 budget on this.
6: Currently the most controversial element of Newman’s response to the report is his cutting of public service jobs. A state-wide Reach TEL poll, commissioned by Nine News found that ‘Support for the LNP has dropped to 44.2 per cent, down 12.3 percentage points since July 2’ (Hurst. D, 2012). He has also had to face a number of union strikes and protests on a weekly basis. ‘Mr Newman acknowledged job cuts hurt people, but insisted the measures were necessary to tackle the state's financial position’ where debt levels are increasing (Hurst. D, 2012).
7: Queenslanders were given the option to either accept voluntary redundancy or redeployment. Campbell Newman (2012) stated that ‘Around 70 per cent have chosen to accept a voluntary redundancy and we have put $800 million on the table to cover their entitlements.’ (ABC News, 2012). If Campbell Newman believes job cuts will save Queensland money, won't redeployment still cost money? How much money will be saved and is it worth upsetting the Queensland public for this? ‘By that I mean we will provide the best services possible at a cost that provides value for money. We can and will do more with less," he said.’ (Hurst, 2012) Has Campbell Newman considered how families affected by this will be able to ‘do more with less’?
8: Public Servant Families Affected The response by public servants regarding the recent mass job cuts in the Queensland state budget have resulted in a number of protests by Unions and its members. One of the most recent rallies protesting against the job cuts held in Brisbane had 5000 to 10000 protesters. Footage of this can be accessed through the following external link as Mixbook did not support the embedding of the video: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/national/unions-plan-huge-protest-march-over-queensland-public-service-job-cuts/story-fndo45r1-1226472275084 (The Courier-Mail, 2012).
9: Staff that are awaiting or have already lost their job positions, are now faced with the daunting task of facing unemployment or having to accept lower valued positions. Union leaders stated during the protests ‘public sector workers now had "second class status", and some people could end up working at the same job for less money under a new private employer’ (The Courier-mail, 2012). An anonymous public service worker explained that ‘..if you didn't accept two redeployment offers that you would be retrenched with no money. It's possible that these two offers could be for positions nowhere near where you live, and/or for lower paid positions. The overwhelming message was you'd be a complete idiot not to take the redundancy payment, because if you didn't you could be out on the street in a matter of a couple of days with zero money.’ (ABC News, 2012).
10: Are these realistic choices for the public to choose from?
11: It is proven that job loss can have substantial negative effect on people’s social and emotional health. According to Silvia Mendolia ‘ Negative income shock due to job loss can affect the mental health status of the individual who directly experiences such displacement, as well as the psychological well-being of her/his partner; also, job loss may have a significantly detrimental effect on life satisfaction, self-esteem and on the individual’s perceived role in society. All these elements are likely to have repercussions on family members’ mental health’ (Mendolia, 2009). Due to the recent loss of jobs throughout Queensland this could outcome in a downward spiral of mental health throughout Queensland. Stress within families may result in separation or divorce which may lead to divorce in families.
12: Cheal (2002) constantly reinforces the importance of family income. He believes ‘Money is involved directly and indirectly, in most of the things that families do (Cheal, p.108, 2012). The younger generation also may be affected by the job cuts. There are many contributing factors which could influence their level of social and emotional health.
13: The wider community A variety of points of view were put forward by the public concerning the recent job cuts. To determine the public’s response ‘The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) says an Essential Media poll of 1046 people shows Australians "understand" the link between cutting public sector jobs and the reduction in quality of public services’ (9 News, 2012). According to the Australian Bureau of statistics (2012) the projected population of Australia is 22,766,128. Is this media poll an accurate representation of the Australian public’s view if the survey only consists of 1046 people? (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012).
14: Nine News recently conducted a phone survey in which 1131 Queenslanders responded to. ‘About 49 per cent said the measures had “gone too far”, nearly 15 per cent said they had “not gone far enough”, about 33 per cent said it was too early to tell and the remainder were indifferent’ (Hurst, 2012). When rating the performance of Campbell Newman as Queensland premier ‘about 44 per cent felt he was doing a good or very good job (down 7 percentage points) while 42 per cent felt he was doing a poor or very poor job (up nearly 14 per cent)’ (Hurst, 2012). Again, this survey only accounts for a minute amount of Queensland’s population and offers little background information to whether these people have been directly affected by the job cuts. It would be interesting to know the opinions of Queenslanders who have are not directly affected.
15: Re-examination of biases, assumptions and pre-understandings After the examination into Campbell Newman’s job cuts my perspective changed slightly towards whether I believed that it was an appropriate decision for the Government to make. Although public servants were offered redundancy packages or redeployment, many families will still be affected financially for a long time to come. Depending on whether you were affected negatively or positively will influence how you view this controversial issue. As a member of the wider community that has not been affected by the job cuts it is difficult for me to take a stance for or against. Whilst I agree that Queensland needs to take desperate measures to relieve debt pressures, was this the best method of doing this?
16: Within the teaching profession, teachers not only develop relationships with students but also with families, colleagues and the broader community. All families have differing circumstances that may change throughout their lives. These circumstances will often have an impact on the students and may affect their education. We as pre-service service teachers must ensure we are continually ‘Valuing diversity and treating students equitably and with care and compassion while respecting the uniqueness of family backgrounds’ (Queensland college of teachers, 2008). To be supportive of both the students and their families, it is important to ‘have empathy for and rapport with students and their families and caregivers, colleagues and communities’ (Queensland college of teachers, 2008). Campbell Newman’s job cuts in Queensland may have a dramatic effect on those families who are directly involved. Job loss can impact negatively on families in several ways.
17: There are many scenarios that may arise for the families who are under stress, due to the loss of their positions. Three likely negative outcomes have been chosen to be examined more closely and how teachers collaborate with families to provide both students and families with ongoing support. The issues that have been chosen include; - Financial burden – Stress of school fees etc - Abusive relationships between parents – Students may be witness to parents arguing or fighting within the home due to added stress - Separation and divorce within families – Students may feel distressed due to change in family structure
18: In order to support students and their families it is important to be aware of any background issues or recent changes within the family that may be affecting their role within the school. The eighth standard ‘When assisting these families it is important to be respectful of their privacy and not become too intrusive’ (Queensland College of Teachers, 2007) is an excellent reminder of the importance of this. The Queensland Teacher Code of Ethics (2008) supports the importance of ‘acknowledging that relationships with students and their families must be based on mutual respect, trust and, where necessary, confidentiality and acknowledging the contribution these qualities make to students’ wellbeing and learning.
19: The information needed in this situation would be a complete understanding of the family’s financial burden to effectively and efficiently organise an arrangement to ease the stress of school fees. In this situation, involving the principal and accounts department/bursary is essential in establishing a financial arrangement as this is something the classroom teacher cannot organise alone. When it is suspected that a child is witnessing abuse within the family, it is important to recognise the types of behavioural signs indicate abuse. For example an indicator of this may be if student may withdraw themselves from class activities or display negative changes in their behavior. A complete understanding and extensive knowledge of the family’s situation and structure is also important when an issue is suspected. If abuse is suspected it is important not to out-rightly accuse family members.
20: Instead, the principle needs to be notified in order to organise a family meeting to discuss an issues relating to the student. The Queensland Teacher Code of Ethics (2008) reinforces the importance of this by stating that ‘committing to students’ wellbeing and learning through the practice of positive influence, professional judgment and empathy in practice’. Depending on the severity of the situation, differing levels of assistance may be offered to the. This may be anything from family counseling through to notification of the Department of Child Safety. This is not something that a teacher can deal with single-handedly and must seek advice and support from the relevant parties.
21: In some cases family situations may lead to separation or divorce as a result of constant strain caused by the stress of job loss. In this case the school needs to be aware of all changes in the family situation. For example, any custodial rights or changes in living arrangements. Professionalism needs to be kept at a high standard in order to uphold the duty of care for all students within the class. An example of this would be abiding by the legal custody orders. We have a responsibility to ‘giving priority to the education and welfare of all students in our care’ (Queensland College of Teachers, 2008).
22: Ongoing professional learning strengths and opportunities I have created a metaphor that I believe will best portray my personal views and ideals of how teachers and children engage in the learning process, as a basis so that I can clearly explain my professional learning strengths and opportunities both at present and what I aspire to achieve in the future. This metaphor being; ‘Teachers are maps, they guide you to your destination’. I believe that teachers should be facilitators of learning rather than dictators of content. Teachers should provide students with the tools they need in order for them to explore and discover knowledge and understanding that can be used throughout their lives.
23: In reference to the metaphor, ‘Teachers are maps’, maps refer to the tools and learning experiences students are provided with. The second part of the metaphor refers to students being scaffolded by teachers as they create, problem solve and evaluate their own learning to achieve a deep knowledge and understanding.
24: The journey (process) students undergo to reach the end destination (knowledge and understanding) is of equal importance for students. It is important to understand that each student is an individual and they learn in different ways. It is essential to provide a wide variety of learning experiences to ensure that each student is given opportunity to succeed. Fraser (2006) supports this when she stated ‘To embark on a journey, we first have to begin somewhere, and second we need a map. In the case of the Reggio Emilia approach, the map must be one that shows many possible routes.’ (Fraser, 2006, p. 269).
25: I have developed a set of five principles that best explains my professional beliefs in regard to student learning. The first principle is ‘Learning experiences must be relevant to the real world’. In order for students to learn and retain concepts they need to be able to identify how it is relevant to them and how they can apply their knowledge in real life contexts. If students are unable to make links to the real world they are more likely to disengage themselves from learning within the classroom. In the future I intend to leave myself more time to research and plan for more realistic experiences through collaboration with peers and online investigating. I discovered when using this standard through personal experience, how effective it is in a classroom context and how important it is that students see how the content is relevant to them in the world.
26: The second principle is, ‘Students learn through hands on experiences’. In addition to visual and auditory learning, students who are active participants within a learning experience tend to gain a deeper understanding. Hands on learning reinforces the learning experience, enabling individuals to learn their ‘own way’ to ensure effective learning. When on placement I have learned the importance of implementing ‘hands on’ activities into the curriculum. I have realized the importance ensuring that a variety of teaching styles are used in order for each individual to learn. I have witnessed students understanding concepts when the learning style has been changed to Hands in’ as this is the teaching style that they learn best from.
27: I plan to improve my students understanding of concepts through incorporating more ‘hands on’ experiences into everyday lessons through different teaching strategies. One of these being, to introduce new concepts and the other to reinforce already learned knowledge. I believe that this standard an effective way for students to get involved in each lessons content. It is essential that ‘hands on’ learners are provided and granted the freedom of choice to actively learn through the style that best accommodates them.
28: The third principle ‘Self-discovery learning’ is the natural process which students choose to take when both completing educational based activities and throughout their everyday environment. It is important for teachers to act as a facilitator of learning rather than a dictator of content. It has taken me a long time to completely understand the importance of ‘Self-discovery learning’. When on practical placements I was always busy trying to teach the students until I realised the importance of them using the information provided and using it to the best of their ability to complete the given task. e included into lessons.
29: In my future planning, I would ensure that students have all the knowledge that is needed in order to successfully ‘self-discover’. Before students can undergo self-discovery activities they need to develop the skills to work individually before they can undergo self-discovery experiences. Once students have gained the skills to work independently, more self-discovery learning experiences may be included into lessons.
30: The fourth principle is, ‘Student’s individuality and inclusivity’. It is important for each student to be given an equal opportunity to learn regardless of their background and beliefs. Teachers need to acknowledge that each student is different and catered for in the classroom I have always endeavored to build a repour with each student individually although I have minimal understanding of other ethnic backgrounds and must further my knowledge in this area so that I can develop a classroom with inclusive classroom. I will endeavor to plan more extension activities so they are readily accessible if required. This will ensure that students are never constrained in their learning and are always moving forward in their learning.
31: The fifth principle is, ‘Incorporate various teaching styles’. As all students are individuals and learn differently from each other, it is important that we as educators acknowledge this and use various teaching methods. Howard Gardner established ‘The Multiple Intelligences Theory’ (2006) to cater for each individual learning style. Rita Dunn believes ‘If a child is not learning the way you are teaching, then you must teach in the way the child learns.’ (Bruetsch, 1998, n.p.). When on placements I have implemented various teaching styles. As my knowledge of teaching expands so does my understanding of the use of various teaching styles and the importance which they hold. I plan to incorporate various teaching strategies into each lesson. This will ensure that in each lesson students will learn in a way that they feel comfortable. In my future teaching I will take more time to plan and implement learning content in a variety of styles.
32: When referring to the issue of Campbell Newman’s job cuts in Queensland it reinforces the importance of having a complete understanding of each students backgrounds and their family situations. Teachers must build a repour with both the students and the families to effectively achieve this. All aspects of each student’s lives must be known and taken into consideration at all times as it is a vital key to each student’s education. It is essential that a superior staff member and the principle are involved to aid in dealing with this issue. Professionals from the wider community may also need to be contacted and involved in this certain situation. With the school community, students, families and the wider community working in collaboration with one another the most effective outcome can be reached.
34: RESOURCES FOR FAMILIES Centrelink Centrelink is an exceptional resource for all families who are in need of assistance in a vast range of areas. This would be an extremely helpful resource for the families affected by Queensland’s job cuts as this may have caused personal and financial stress, health issues, changes in family situations and of course major job losses. (Australian Government: Department of Human Services, 2012). Centrelink offers a ‘Newstart allowance’ for people who are seeking employment. This allowance would be extremely beneficial for families affected by job cuts. Centrelink can be accessed online using the following URL: http://www.humanservices.gov.au/ or by visiting a branch. It is a reliable resource developed by the Australian Government.
35: Eligibility is based on; - Aged 22 years or more but under age-pension age - Looking for paid work - Prepared to enter into an Employment Pathway Plan and meet activity-test requirements, and not involved in industrial action As a pre-service educator I would recommend Centrelink to all families affected by the job cut as it will assist with reducing the stress and pressures of job loss.
36: Family and Relationship Services Australia Family and Relationship Services Australia (FRSA) is a useful resource for families to assist in ‘strengthening the wellbeing, safety and resilience of families, children and communities’ (Family and Relationship Services Australia, 2012). FRSA works alongside the Australian Government to recognise the changing needs of families and provide them with expert assistance (Family and Relationship Services Australia, 2012). FRSA can be accessed on the internet through the following URL: http://www.frsa.org.au/site/Services_Directory.php?state=QLD. FRSA provides contact details of services across Australia which have been categorised according to specific areas of need.
37: As a pre-service educator FRSA would be recommended in meetings with families to provide them with help and support to guide them through the loss of jobs and the repercussions from this issue. Families affected by the Queensland job cuts would find FRSA extremely supportive and beneficial.
38: School services Every school may provide a range of support services, networks and arrangements with the families to assist with any difficulties or challenges which may influence the student’s ability to learn. As a pre-service teacher families would be encouraged to attend meetings with each family to discuss catering for their differing educational needs. There may be numerous negative effects on families from the job cuts. The support and services the school can provide may assist in reducing the changes in the students and their family’s lives.
39: Schools can provide a range of the following to assist families and students; - Pastrol care - The payment plans - Counseling - Before and after school care - Recognition and support of differing levels of learning - Learning support team - Specialised support network - Staff and student network support people
40: An example of a school which provides such services is the Toowoomba Grammar school. This information can be accessed online by using the following URL: http://www.twgs.qld.edu.au/. In general the information can be accessed either online or via the school administration team.
41: References ABC News. (2012). Queenslanders speak out about LNP job cuts. Retrieved September 30, 2012 from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-09-17/queenslanders-speak-out-about-lnp-job-cuts/4264540 Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2012). Population Clock. Retrieved September 30, 2012 from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs%40.nsf/94713ad445ff1425ca25682000192af2/1647509ef7e25faaca2568a900154b63?OpenDocument Bruetsch, A. (1998). Multiple Intelligences Lesson Plan Book. Tucson, Arizona. Zephyr Press; Lslf edition Centrelink, (2012). Australian Government Department of Human Services. Retrieved September 2, 2012 from http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/centrelink/newstart-allowance Cheal, D. (2002). Sociology of Family Life. New York: PALGRAVE MACMILLAN. Family & Relationships Services Australia, (2012). Family & Relationships Services Australia. Retrieved September 2, 2012 from http://www.frsa.org.au/site/Services_Directory.php?state=QLD Flanagan, R., Jefferson, A., Pollock, R. & Wick, C. (2006) The Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning. Pfeiffer an Imprint of Wiley, San Francisco Fraser, S. & Getwiki, C. (2002). Authentic Childhood Exploring Reggio Amelia in the Classroom. Delmar Thompson Learning, Canada
42: Helbig, K & Ironside, R. (2012). Full list of Queensland public service redundancies. The Courier Mail. Retrieved September 30, 2012 from http://www.news.com.au/national/full-list-of-queensland-public-service-redundancies/story-fndo4ckr-1226471881372 Hurst, D. (2012). Public services cuts 'never to be repeated': Newman. Retrieved September 30, 2012 from http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/public-services-cuts-never-to-be-repeated-newman-20120919-26607.html Mendolia, S. (2009). The impact of job loss on family mental health1. Retrieved September 30, 2012 from http://www.iza.org/conference_files/SSch2009/mendolia_s5043.pdf National Affairs. (2012). Peter Costello's Queensland budget audit report may hobble Campbell Newman's government. Retrieved September 30, 2012 from http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/peter-costellos-queensland-budget-audit-report-may-hobble-campbell-newmans-government/story-fn59niix-1226396477910 Nicholls, T. (2012). Budget Speech. Retrieved September 30, 2012 from http://www.budget.qld.gov.au/current-budget/budget-papers/bp1.php Queensland College of Teachers. (2012). Code of Ethics for Teachers in Queensland. Retrieved September 30, 2012 from http://www.qct.edu.au/PDF/PCU/CodeOfEthicsPoster20081215.pdf
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