Parents who wish to send their children back to school when Term 2 starts next week should be able to do so, Shadow Minister for Education Jarrod Bleijie said today.
Parents working from home have been ordered by the Palaszczuk government to keep their children at home and away from school for at least the first five weeks of term two.
Advice provided directly from the office of Education Minister Grace Grace instructs parents that are working from home in any capacity to keep their children at home and actively participate in home-schooling.
Mr Bleijie said the advice is confusing and ridiculous.
“Having schools open for some children but not others runs the risk of creating a two-tier education system that will leave some kids behind,” he said.
“Any parent knows that it is simply impossible to simultaneously work and supervise home-schooling for children.
“How can parents possibly make phone calls, attend video conferences, and undertake their normal duties whilst supervising one or more children and ensuring their kids are not falling behind in their schooling.
Mr Bleijie said the Palaszczuk government is causing unnecessary distress and alarm for parents currently working from home.
“Premier Palaszczuk has said many times that anyone that can work from home should work from home. But now she is saying that those same workers who are parents must do both – work and home school at the same time,” he said.
“I have had parents contacting me in tears saying they will have no choice but to either take extended leave without pay or quit their job as a result of this decision by the Palaszczuk government.
“It is frankly disgraceful that this state government is making parents choose between an education for their children or a job to pay their mortgage and bills when the health advice says schools are safe and should stay open.
“Anyone with a job is considered an essential worker, yet Annastacia Palaszczuk is blatantly discriminating against the tens of thousands of workers who are now working from home by saying that their job is somehow less demanding or important than those workers still working in an office building or workplace.
“Queensland’s education results were heading in the wrong direction before coronavirus hit us, so the damage to our children’s future cannot be dismissed.
“The Premier has got this one wrong and it needs to be reversed – you simply can’t have a situation where children are being forced to stay at home and miss out on their education because the parents have to work to pay the bills.”
Jarrod Bleijie said the State Government needed to revise its advice to parents, teachers and principals by the end of this week.