Aboriginal education in NSW public schools will be strengthened under a new partnership agreement signed this week between the NSW Department of Education and the NSW Aboriginal Consultative Consultative Group (NSW CETA). I sign with Cindy Berwick, President of NSW CETA, and I would like to thank Cindy for her commitment to Aboriginal students and families. I know they are always at the center of your thinking. Cindy`s intercession and action was decisive in getting us to where we are today – ready to sign a new agreement. To develop the new agreement, we are counting on a well-established and already strong partnership. After being invited to present it today, it led me to reflect on my schooling and its deep connection to this partnership agreement. During this reflection, I realized that I was well positioned to talk about it, as my school experience clearly shows the importance of a school`s real commitment to the agreement and how this allows a school to have a positive impact on our Aboriginal youth. My goal is not to designate and shame one school against the other, but rather to talk about my school experience to try to explain what I think is at the heart of this partnership agreement. I started my high school in a school that talked about Aboriginal education, where there were justified attempts to meet the needs of Aboriginal students, but as we hear too often, these are symbolic gestures. Soon after, my family, including my cousins and brothers, moved to a nearby high school with a good reputation for its commitment to Aboriginal education, and very quickly it became clear that this was a place I belonged to. Over the next decade, there were two new presidents. In 2004, David Ella was elected president of the organization, and in 2008, current incumbent Cindy Berwick took the reins. Since 2000, CETA has had many successes.
Perhaps the most important of these began with the announcement in 2003 of a review of Aboriginal training in NSW, Aboriginal Education Policy and the Aboriginal Programs Unit. NSW CETA was well represented in the Review Reference Group. Nsw CETA and the Ministry of Education and Training worked to find ways to implement the 71 recommendations of the review and, until 2005, the report of the journal „Freeing the Spirit, Dreaming an Equal Future” was published and hailed as a successful example of the partnership between CETA and the Ministry of Education and Training.  „NSW CETA is the highest advisory body to the Ministry of Aboriginal Education. This partnership reinforces work to strengthen the education of Aboriginal children and youth,” Mitchell said. Today we all meet for a very special occasion: the signing of a renewed agreement between the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group and the NSW Government. . . .