[Discuss-sudbury-model] Update on Booroobin's battle to retain accreditation

From: The Booroobin Sudbury School / Derek Sheppard <booroobin_at_squirrel.com.au>
Date: Thu Aug 21 10:58:01 2003


We thought it might be useful for you to know what's been happening in the battle to retain our accreditation, since our last communication.
  a.. It is now 60 days since we hand delivered our Submission in response to the Board's proposal to withdraw our accreditation.
  b.. There had been no response of any kind - legislation does not require any or set any timeframes for the Board to act. The legislation is about the Board's rights and our responsibilities. The only response we received was a letter in response to our letter following the NSSAB after 50 days. The letters will be soon posted onto our web site.
  c.. The International Democratic Education Conference in Albany New York heard from one of our Students, Ben about our circumstances. IDEC has happened annually for the last 11 years, and for the first time was held in the US. It was attended by over 500 people from 25 countries and over 90 Schools. IDEC considered, debated and agreed on a Resolution in support of Booroobin. A Petition was also compiled and circulated. People we respect as individuals and representing Schools, signed the Petition. Details will be soon put on our web site.
  d.. A few people have written letters of support on their own initiative. Each is independently written and quite individual. Every letter has been sent to the head of the Queensland Labor government, the Premier, with copies sent to media. All letters are shown in the Communiqués section of our web site.
  e.. The Premier's office has prepared and sends a standard response to correspondents. The standard response follows below. This seeks to distance him and the government from the Board - except that the same Labor government under different Ministers have caused the greatest problems for the School; this government created the legislation and the Board; this government has instituted an Appeal process which is political, not judicial.
  f.. We are working on a media and public consciousness raising phase. We have undertaken interviews on radio and in print media, usually getting reasonable and supportive coverage. As much as possible, and when they're available Students also participate in interviews. Currently we're trying hard for State wide print coverage, and expect to get some in the next week or so. We cannot yet get national coverage, even though the potential and likelihood of a national curriculum means that what is happening to Booroobin could be repeated elsewhere, unless diversity, choice and our rights are actually respected and not just given lip service. Our interview on ABC local radio station 612AM in Brisbane went well even though we were subject to the usual conservative questions.
  g.. Our local Member of Parliament has written and asked questions of the Minister for Education and also to the Premier asking for a meeting with us.
  h.. The Premier was interviewed by the presenter on the same ABC radio station 2 days after we were interviewed. Following our interview there were phone ins. 90% of the phone calls were supportive, which no doubt surprised the presenter, who predicted the opposite from her older, conservative audience. And we are sure that government listens to these programs. Given the letters that we sent to the Premier, the letter from our MP, letters from people expressing their support, all addressed to the Premier, responses written by his Staff, and the interview and phone ins, and probably briefing by his Staff before going on air, you might expect that the Premier might have publicly acknowledged knowing about us when he was asked about the School by a caller (who we don't know). We believe he was not being truthful. Unfortunately, this lack of truthfulness has not yet been reported by any of the media that we wrote to. We tried to also speak to the Premier on air to publicly dispute this misinformation, but he ran out of time.
  i.. An online Petition will soon be available, for anyone, anywhere in the world to sign.
  j.. Our MP will ask questions in Parliament of the Minister for Education after it resumes on September 9.
  k.. We were interviewed by national public radio station ABC JJJ, with the interviews with a parent, Staff and Students going to air on Wednesday, August 20.
  l.. Students, Staff, parents and friends of the School will be undertaking a Booroobin to Brisbane walk on September 10. The walk is a fundraiser, and a demonstration of our commitment to the School its philosophy and principles, and also to, if necessary, deliver letters of support to parliamentarians. The walk will be continuous, allowing for 5 minutes breaks every hour and cover a distance of some 100kms over about 30 hours. Practice walks have commenced. We hope at least one person will complete the whole walk in the allotted time. Media coverage will be sought. Sponsorships are needed.
Regards, Derek Sheppard
The Booroobin Sudbury School - a centre of learning
Ph +61 07 5499 9944 Fax +61 07 3251 0470
Homestay boarding accommodation
Ph +61 07 5499 9943

From the Chief of Staff to the Premier:

Please quote: MCU

1 August 2003

Dear Mr .................

Thank you for your email message of .......... concerning The
Booroobin School. I have been requested to reply to you on the
Premier's behalf.

The Premier referred this matter to the Honourable Anna Bligh MP,
Minister for Education who has advised that the issues you have raised are
matters that since 1 January 2002 fall within the jurisdiction of the
Non-State Schools Accreditation Board, and before that date, within the
jurisdiction of the Minister for Education.

The Accreditation Board has been established under the Education
(Accreditation of Non-State Schools) Act 2001 and given statutory
responsibility for, among other things, approving the accreditation of new
non-State schools, approving changes to accreditation of existing
non-State schools, and ensuring continuing compliance of these schools
with the statutory accreditation criteria.

Prior to the Accreditation Board taking up these legislated functions on 1
January 2002, the Minister for Education was responsible under the
Education (General Provisions) Act 1989 for granting approval to operate
non-State schools.

The Premier is not able to become involved in matters that by law are
regulated by other persons or bodies.

Please feel free to contact Mr Laurie Vogler, Director, Office of
Non-State Education on telephone (07) 3237 9947 should you wish to obtain
further details in relation to this matter.

Again, thank you for contacting the Premier's Home Page.

Yours sincerely

Rob Whiddon
Chief of Staff
Received on Thu Aug 21 2003 - 08:54:26 EDT

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