Channels of communication have become clouded

By Shepparton News

Plans to profoundly change secondary education in Shepparton continue to create disagreement as evidenced during yesterday's visit by the Minister of Education.

James Merlino was here to reveal a leadership team for the new Greater Shepparton College, and to announce free bus travel for students during the transition period as the new school takes shape.

These details are welcome and will help to provide some clarity during what has become a fraught process of communication between disgruntled parents and bureaucrats.

The small number of parents who confronted Mr Merlino to air their concerns outside Wanganui Park Secondary College were an example of the frustration being felt by some in the community at the proposed changes.

Whether they were representative of the views of the majority of parents is difficult to assess - their numbers were few, but it was a working day and the politician's visit was not publicly announced.

The group's vocal confrontation was undoubtedly conducted out of desperation in the belief they are not being listened to.

However, we believe these changes will, and should go ahead.

As we have previously stated - something must be done to halt the decline in school retention rates and the rising imbalance in enrollments between Shepparton schools.

Unfortunately the channels of communication between parents and education authorities have become clouded with emotion, misinformation, cynicism and doubt on one side and heavy-handedness and remoteness on the other.

We desperately need to create a positive feeling of excitement and pride around this new educational venture - it is, after all, the future of our children we are talking about.

As we know, children watch and listen to the actions of adults and are always in need of positive role models.

To help defuse what has become a tense argument, and to further our need for clarity and inclusion, The News will act as a conduit for questions and answers between parents and education authorities.

Readers' questions about the proposed education changes can be submitted to [email protected]