A former principal has launched a blistering attack on federal Education Minister Dan Tehan claiming he has “frankly lost the plot”, accusing him of not understanding how schools work.
Education expert Adam Voight, CEO of Real Schools, accused Mr Tehan of “political point scoring” after he angrily attacked Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on ABC’s Insiders earlier today before being forced to withdraw his comments hours later, admitting he’d “overstepped the mark”.
On Sunday morning, Mr Tehan accused the Premier of “taking a sledgehammer” to education and exposing vulnerable children to disadvantage by encouraging confused parents to keep their kids home from school.
“This is a failure of leadership from Dan Andrews. And it is the most disadvantaged children who are being most affected,” Mr Tehan told Insiders this morning.
“It was this frustration that led me to overstep the mark in questioning Premier Andrews’ leadership on this matter and I withdraw,” Mr Tehan said in a statement this afternoon.
But Mr Voight showed no sympathy during an interview on The Sunday Project and did not hold back in his assessment of the Minister’s comments which came as a teacher at a Melbourne primary school tested positive for the coronavirus.
“It’s hard not to conclude that at a federal level we have an Education Minister who is out of his depth, who does not understand the way the schools work and has frankly lost the plot,” Mr Voight told The Sunday Project.
“To have him come out today and attack the one politician that pretty much most of our educators in and around Victoria trust – when he had one of his colleagues the other day come out and encourage parents to ring the police on their principal if they wouldn’t let their child into the school, because every great home-school partnership is underpinned by an arrest warrant – to have him have the opportunity to stand up for kids and to stand up for parents and educators and not do it because he’d rather ring political points, says everything.
“It resulted in parents who are confused and don’t know where to look.
“I worked in education for 26 years. I’ve never seen the workforce feeling so disrespected by its Federal Government. That’s got to be something to fix.”
Earlier today, it emerged that Victorian authorities were frantically contacting parents after a teacher at a Epping’s Meadowglen Primary School in Melbourne tested positive for COVID-19.
It is understood the staff member had not had any recent contact with students and the school was closed for three days while an intensive clean by workers in face masks and protective clothing was undertaken along with contact tracing.
Mr Voight said as the world was 12 to 18 months away from creating a vaccine, to say schools would be 100 per cent safe was “not achievable”.
“It stops us from having a sensible conversation about appropriate level of risk and a point to support schools to help them with the appropriate low level of risk,” he added.