Quick chats a positive experience

Community members are receptive to conversations about funding for public schools, teachers participating in Fair Funding Now! week of action activities reported. Volunteers had affirming moments when interacting with the public, working alongside their colleagues on a common goal.

The week of action culminated in a national door knock on 9 September. Across targeted seats, supporters knocked on hundreds of doors, securing support for the campaign from all pockets of the community.

Sutherland Association Secretary Ashleigh Saunders travelled to the federal seat of Banks in Sydney as a part of Federation’s neighbouring seat strategy. “It was really wonderful to visit people in Banks,” Ms Saunders said. “We had conversations about our shared concern for kids and really connected over our disgust for the way the Morrison Government has continued to treat public school families unfairly.

“One-on-one conversations with engaged people in marginal electorates will keep education funding at the front of people’s minds as the election cycle heats up. As teachers we need to educate the public using the same strategies we use to educate our students every day. We know it works.”

Participating in her first door knock, Emma Bruce from Parramatta Association made the trip to Banks to campaign for better support for students with disabilities.

“As I walked from house to house I learned about the importance of these conversations,” she said.

“Each person I spoke to understood the need for fair funding for our students and their children but were unaware of our campaign until three public school teachers in green shirts knocked on their doors.

“Every person that I encountered shared their reasons for supporting fair funding for public schools and it was truly inspiring to have these one-to-one and person-to-person conversations.”

Thousands of members, supporters and volunteers spent the Fair Funding Now! week of action educating parents and the wider community about the importance of fair funding for their children’s future.

The week of action unified communities from all corners of the state to send messages to Prime Minister Scott Morrison that they want his government to fund schools on need, not politics, and called for the immediate restoration of the $1.9 billion shortfall created by the Liberal-National Government in Canberra.

Teachers were interviewed on radio, ran street and fair stalls and handed out leaflets at train stations and school gates, to explain to voters how schools are missing out on billions in funding and encourage them to actively campaign for change. These events complemented hundreds of school activities and parent meetings that took place throughout the week across the state.

On 5 September, members and supporters gathered at the electoral office of Mr Morrison to hear from AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe and present — on behalf of the Fair Funding Now! campaign — a letter signed by more than 10,000 concerned voters warning the Morrison Government against making special deals with the non-government sector.

“The 2.5 million students who attend public schools have been forgotten by the Morrison Government. Our public school students deserve better,” Ms Haythorpe said. See report page 9.

The Fair Funding Now! campaign will continue to highlight the critical need to fairly fund the nation’s public schools. For more information and to sign-up to the campaign, members are encouraged to visit fairfundingnow.org.au.