Communities trial works, despite hiccups

Tony Koch; 19/9/09

A year ago, when cutting welfare to parents who don’t send their children to school was introduced on a trial basis in four Aboriginal communities in Cape York, alarm was raised that the measure was racist and unenforceable. There have been hiccups, but the aim of the scheme is being achieved: children are attending school. The simple view is that it is not too much to expect parents to ensure children attend school, but the issue is much more complex. It should also be remembered that it is not “one strike and you are out”. If a child misses school on a number of occasions without a legitimate reason, responsible appointed people interview the parents to see if help is needed.