BY NOREEN NAVIN
SYDNEY — The tenacity and determination of teachers, students and other members of the local community has forced the overturning of former NSW education minister John Aquilina's decision to close Dulwich and Marrickville high schools. The decision, made by new education minister John Watkins, means those schools will remain in public hands, but three other schools, Erskinville Public School, Redfern Public School and Hunters Hill High, are still fighting for survival.
Students and teachers at these schools are hoping that the legislative council's inquiry into the ALP's proposed restructure of the school system will block it.
Dulwich and Marrickville high schools were saved after a year-long campaign involving vibrant rallies, noisy marches, speak-outs, weekend community stalls and petitions.
Inspired by this success, the NSW Teachers Federation held another rally against school closures on July 15, outside the education department building in the city. The lunchtime rally was attended by 400 teachers, students and parents who cheered loudly and enthusiastically as speakers such as Maree O'Halloran, president of the NSWTF, Bev Baker, president of the Parents and Citizens Association and Dee Brierly, a parent from Hunters Hill High School denounced Premier Bob Carr.
A year 12 student at Hunters Hill, Steve Nemmitt, told the crowd that Hunters Hill High is the highest performing co-educational comprehensive school in NSW. "What's the story — what's the reason for closing it down?", he asked. Answering himself: "Real estate!" For further details of the campaign, contact Save Our Schools on 0438 641587 or 0415 437 997.
From Green Left Weekly, July 17, 2002.
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