Julia Gillard’s vision for schooling will live on

I am deeply saddened that Julia Gillard is no longer our prime minister. She has done more for school education in her three years as leader of our nation that any other PM ever has.

Under Gillard many public schools got their first new school buildings in decades and this forged fresh connections in school communities and gave families more pride in their local schools.

I saw this happening all over the state of NSW where public schools paid a premium for their BER buildings. It was a new beginning in many ways for public schools.

Gillard had a deep understanding of the issues our schools face and an infectious optimism that the rifts, battles and inequities in schooling in Australia could be fixed.

I could go on about her achievements in education but Gillard’s greatest legacy to me, and to most public school supporters, of course is the Gonski school funding reform legislation. Like everyone else, I am hoping Kevin Rudd will keep the momentum going for us there. I am worried he will be distracted by other issues, that he feels more personally passionate about, as he campaigns to get Labor back into office.

I don’t believe for a minute Julia Gillard was as hated by ordinary Australians as political commentators and shock jocks say she was. I was so hoping she would go to the (real) polls so we could show her she was not.

I do know, no matter what happens now, Julia Gillard’s vision for school education will remain a shining light, and public school supporters, like me, will fight on to try to make it happen.

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