Kids on school boards inappropriate

October 12, 2017

Victorian Conservatives MLC Dr Rachel Carling-Jenkins has criticised a Labor plan to put school children on high school boards.

Responding to this story today in The Age, Dr Carling-Jenkins said:

"Student members will have full voting rights on the council and it is our expectation will play a key role in deciding the future direction of the school. Full voting rights would include the hiring and firing of staff and voting on sensitive issues - asking them to leave the room means they won't have full voting rights."

"Students already have their say in the direction of the school through Student Representative Councils and Student Consultation Committees. These are the appropriate bodies where students, 'get training to help build their leadership capacity'."

UPDATE 18/10/2017: In an adjournment speech addressed to the minister for Education, Dr Carling-Jenkins called upon the minister to withdraw his decision, stating that "Giving full voting rights to students means they make decisions regarding things like the hiring and firing of staff. They get involved in issues with peers."

"Students would also be involved in very sensitive matters if they were part of such councils, and I believe this is inappropriate. It is also a lot of pressure to put on students in the later years of high school, when they are supposed to be focusing on education...
...I believe it is questionable to have students having such a say in multimillion-dollar budgets, signing off on payments and reviewing and updating policies, for example. This goes way beyond consumer representation."

"Students already have a say in the direction of their schools through their student representative councils and through consultation committees, and I sincerely believe this is sufficient. Victoria currently has a crisis in education. This is not the solution. This is a distraction. We need to refocus on actual education."

Dr Carling-Jenkins concluded by urging the minister to take these concerns seriously, take them on board and withdraw his decision to appoint students to all state high school councils, with full voting rights.

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