Politics kid from Sydney’s west takes charge of education in NSW


“I have been with [federal education minister] Jason Clare,” she said. “As one of the largest providers of public education in the world, we must lead the way. “

Her son attends a private school. She said she made the decision because “we’re in one of the suburbs where the government hasn’t built a school”.

NSW Secondary Principals’ Council chair Craig Petersen said while dealing with school staff was an obvious and immediate challenge, changing the “damaged culture” of public education was a bigger challenge ahead. challenge. “We need to rebuild confidence in NSW public schools and in the quality of the sector.”

One of the first moves by the new government was the sacking of the head of the NSW Department of Education, Georgina Harrisson, a career bureaucrat who served as principal of NSW’s 2,200 public schools for two years.her successor is acting secretary Murat Dizdar, ex-garbage worker, then school teacherwho was one of the department’s most senior officials before assuming his current position.

Bringing a former public school teacher and principal into the acting role is a symbolic step after seven years of work under Harrison and her predecessor, former ABC boss Mark Scott.

“We’ve been elected, I think clearly, to make systemic change for most teachers across the board,” Car said. Admit that you’re not getting paid enough. It’s the truth.”

Last May, public school teachers resigned in support of better wages and working conditions.

Last May, public school teachers resigned in support of better wages and working conditions.
Credit: getty

The NSW Department of Education and the Teachers’ Federation have begun negotiations to raise teacher salaries, but Carr would not discuss the issue further.

She also confirmed the new government would ditch the previous Coalition’s Rewards for Excellence scheme, led by education academic John Hattie, which planned to provide high salaries for some outstanding teachers.

“We’re not going to pay a handful of teachers significantly more than others. We’re going to negotiate and give all teachers more opportunities in terms of salary, conditions and workload,” Car said.

Cars grew up around Penrith. Her father, Noel Guillaume, is of French and Indian descent, and they met her mother, Ann, while working at a bank.

Year 12 book of Prue Car; Car and her three-unit English teacher, Michele Elborough.

Year 12 book of Prue Car; Car and her three-unit English teacher, Michele Elborough.

She spent her schooling career in the Catholic system, attending Our Lady of the Word College in Emu Plains and then Caroline Chisholm College in Glenmore Park, where she was captain and pupil of the school .

during an interview this Catholic Weekly, She said she “grew up with beliefs that influenced everything I did, including politics”.

Michele Elborough, her three-unit English teacher, recalls early signs that she would be drawn to a career in politics. “We will discuss in class Jane Eyre, or Yeats, the conversation would turn to politics or political thought. This is very unusual. “

“Friday nights, I’d be driving her and her classmates to Western Sydney for so many random debates and public speaking competitions… omg, come to think of it, I’m sure that’s something you can’t do as a teacher these days matter.”

Elborough said that Car was very diligent and hardworking when he was a student. “She put a lot of pressure on herself. One day, she handed me this picture of Keating, and I’ve kept it ever since.”

Carr, 40, has served in Parliament for eight years and has held a shadow education role since 2019.

Car in 2011 with former NSW Labor leader John Robertson at an election campaign.

Car in 2011 with former NSW Labor leader John Robertson at an election campaign.Credit: petre

After dropping out of her arts degree at the University of Sydney (which she dropped after the NSW Young Labor Party “went on”), Carr landed a job at the office of then NSW Premier Bob Carr in 2003. Work, he remembers her “lively and self-motivated” trick there. “She was in charge of liaison with backbenchers, which was more important than it sounded. My impression was that her attention to detail would get her up the party,” he recalls.

Following her term as a Penrith councilor, she was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly and was a member of Londonderry in 2015. Four years later, she replaced Jihad Dib as shadow education minister.

Last winter, on the eve of her campaign, she was diagnosed with cancer after doctors found a fast-growing tumor in her kidney. Following immediate surgery, she took two months off to recover and returned in September.

A key election promise of the new Minns government is the construction of a suite of new high schools from Gregory Hills to Schofields.

She blamed the previous government’s failure to build public high schools in high-growth areas of Western Sydney as one of the reasons parents abandoned the sector.

“In the neighborhood where I grew up, the government didn’t build enough schools. Then parents often felt compelled to send their children to non-government schools because there were few options. There were no public high schools around Marsden Park, but there are now. “


As an opposition figure, Carr was also an outspoken supporter of the non-government system, declaring himself a “big fan” of private schools at a meeting of principals two weeks before the election.

One policy idea borrowed from independent schools by the new government at the election was a commitment to offer the International Baccalaureate in state schools, an idea criticized by experts who say it will undermine the HSC and deepen an already worrying education divide.

It is this divide, and stemming the decline in academic performance in international exams, that is another daunting task for the new government.

“The indisputable data is that we have regressed on outcomes,” former prime minister Bob Carr said, stressing that reversing academic achievement was Carr’s main functional policy challenge. “You can’t convince me that we can’t do better in maths and science and we are destined to be surpassed by Singapore.”

“Given the additional resources [governments have] Investing should we beat any benchmark. I don’t think the new program will spark as much public interest as a marked shift in school performance,” he said.

In the past fortnight, Car has announced a number of initiatives, including reducing teachers’ administrative workload and beginning a review of a controversial conduct policy introduced in term 4 last year that limits the length and duration of suspensions the school can issue. frequency.

“We’re not giving schools the tools to deal with behaviour,” she said. “The implementation of behavior policies has made it worse. One of the most important things teachers do is manage behavior in the classroom. The government has to make sure it doesn’t make it harder for them to do that.”

Donna Cross, who was appointed by the coalition as NSW conduct adviser, is understood to remain on, but it is unclear in what capacity.

as Herald revealed this weekThe government also suspended the release of nearly 30 syllabi to allow teachers to focus on new math and English lessons.

Carr said the government was moving forward with a review of almost 200 NSW Department of Education policies and programs, ranging from school report cards to excursion forms.


“There will be no changes to NAPLAN,” she confirmed. “Our priority right now is to improve outcomes by getting more teachers into the classroom.”

Meanwhile, Car’s former teacher, Elborough, who is now a supervisor of classroom student teachers at Macquarie University, said after working in Catholic schools for more than 30 years, she was appalled by the “rundown state” of some state schools she goes to every week. Visit her college job.

“It blew my mind, I’m often overwhelmed by the differences in these sectors. You do notice differences between Catholic schools and private schools and some public schools, especially in the west.”

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