The loss of the only Vietnamese bilingual program

  1. FPS has not implemented Vietnamese bilingual best practices
  2. FPS has not retained Vietnamese teachers
  3. FPS has not engaged with the Vietnamese community
  4. A lack of transparency by the school’s department overshadows the axing of the program
  5. The School Council is unrepresentative of the school’s diverse population
  6. FPS has not demonstrated cultural sensitivity
  7. FPS has not reached out to schools & universities in the United States who are successfully running Vietnamese bilingual programs
  8. The change.org petition has broad community support at the local, state and national level
  9. Maintaining a connection to one’s heritage is important as quoted by the Education Minister James Merlino
  10. Compared to the population of Vietnamese speakers, there are disproportionately less Victorian schools and no universities offering Vietnamese
  11. Footscray Primary School is not a logical location for a second Italian Bilingual Program

#1: FPS has not implemented Vietnamese bilingual best practices

#2: FPS has not retained Vietnamese teachers

Past teachers, who wish to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation, have cited examples of humiliation, disrespect and deception. Teachers were made to feel unwanted and disposable.

* No same teacher was rehired in this period.

#3: FPS has not engaged with and fails to see the Vietnamese community as an asset

#4: A lack of transparency by the school’s department overshadows the axing of the program

  • Why have documents relied upon in decision making not been made public?
  • How can parents assess the validity of the decision without understanding the content of these documents?
  • Why did the Department provide extra funding to the school yet fail to oversee its management and delivery?
  • Are there other undisclosed factors that led to the decision?
  • Who is ultimately accountable for the decision?

Does this lack of transparency by the school’s department justify the loss of a cherished legacy of the community?

#5: The School Council is unrepresentative of the school’s diverse population

#6: FPS has not demonstrated cultural sensitivity

  • The benefits and research into culturally responsive teaching in multicultural contexts in terms of academic success and cultural cohesion*
  • The benefits of the Vietnamese language in the local and national contexts in terms of community cohesion and economic futures
  • The benefits of immersion language learning
  • The impact and consequences for the local Vietnamese community in aspects of self identity, self-confidence, family heritage, and cultural understanding

Despite the parent-initiated petition attracting over 15,000 signatures, the school has refused to listen to parental concerns and offers of assistance.

#7: FPS has not reached out to schools & universities in the United States who are successfully running Vietnamese bilingual programs

#8: The change.org petition has broad community support at the local, state and national level

Source: Change.org (as of 15/09/2020)

#9: Maintaining a connection to one’s heritage is important, as quoted by the Education Minister James Merlino

#10: Compared to the population of Vietnamese speakers, there are disproportionately less Victorian schools offering Vietnamese

Source: 2016 Victorian Census, DET 2018
Source: DET 2018

The cycle of disadvantage for the Vietnamese language in the Australian Educational System means students cannot become Vietnamese teachers if there are no means to receive an education in it.

Source: US Census American Community Survey 2015; Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing 2016

#11: Footscray Primary School is not a logical location for a second Italian Bilingual Program

A timeline of events can be found here.

Responses to the school’s reasons for the decision can be found here.

Call to action

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Parents of FPS

Parents of FPS

We’re a group of parents who want to save the Vietnamese bilingual program at Footscray Primary School