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Update, update.
I spent the weekend in Hobart, completely failing to go to an SCA event because I forgot to look for garb in the shed. Yes, also because I didn't make any new garb, but I'm pregnant and tired and not a little bit crazy, so shut up. I took the small girl and my mum to the Tarremah Waldorf-Steiner School Spring Fair (my sister, a member of the school's first graduating class, declined our invitation, probably a good thing since she'd hardly have been a stirling advertisment for the school, hungover and grumpy and refusing to come out from behind her sunlasses), and I must say it is always the best school fair of the year. Gorgeous little villagey school, interesting bands, wheelbarrow rides provided by the boundlessly energetic (and keen to impress girls with their physical prowess) older boys, really yummy food with fantastic choices for vegetarians, the gluten and/or lactose intolerant, and those who prefer organic produce, the greatest kids craft room, face-painting with no cartoon character involvement, and beautiful, beautiful toys, books, craft supplies, and education resources for sale. It breaks my heart that the only school in the state is in Kingston, and that the small girl and her sibling/s won't have a chance to go. The only choices available to me up here are private education (expensive, and I think it puts far too much pressure on children to succeed at the cost of enjoying their education), Catholic school (the option we've chosen, even though I'm deeply concerned about the whole religious indoctrination thing and am hoping that the small girl takes to heart my mum's insistence that it's all a load of crap), or the state education system.
Let me say a few words about the Tasmanian state education system:
Up.
Shit.
Creek.
Barbed.
Wire.
Canoe.
No.
Paddle.
First there were the ELs. Not content with that, we now have the Tasmania Tomorrow reforms, under which TAFE has been merged with the upper secondary colleges to create Academies and Polytechnics that (in theory) specialise in pre-tertiary subjects and pre-trade subjects respecitvely (as far as I can tell, the colleges that have so far been converted comprise both Polytechnic and Academie, so it's difficult for me to see the actual fucking point).
It has also created an unholy shitfight.
For the first weeks of this year, no-one had access to any kind of budget, leaving teachers buying classroom supplies out of their own pockets, the staff classifications and pay-scales from the TAFE system have been shoehorned into the new institutions, creating unrest, resentment, and in many cases outright alarm (my mum, who is doing the same job she has been doing for almost 25 years, has been downgraded from a Teacher/Librarian to a Librarian, meaning that she does the same work, gets the same pay, but gets less than half the paid holidays she used to).  Colleges were assured that they would not be forced into the scheme if the majority of the teaching staff voted against it. The majority of the teaching staff at Elizabeth College voted against it. Their principal ignored them, and they are being forced to join anyway (he gets paid a lot more as the head of a Polytechnic, and is is rumoured to be planning on retiring at the end of next year, so why should he give a shit what happens?). Our Labor Premier has over-ridden the Teachers' Union, and announced that for the good of the students (not for the sake of his ego or political career, good heavens no) the reforms will be going ahead whether they like it or not.
The shame is overwhelming.
Teachers are leaving in droves; some taking long service leave, some taking stress leave, some simply retiring.
My mother, who for her entire life has been a staunch supporter of the public education system and a dyed-in-the-wool Labor Party True Believer, told me yesterday that she's really glad that my siblings and I finished our education before the reforms began, and that private education is the best choice for the small girl. I was still reeling from that, and though perhaps I'd misheard, when she said that Sue Napier would make a good Education Minister, and that's who she'd be voting for next year.

It's the end of the world as I know it.
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