To me, it comes back to ensuring that all students in public schools, regardless of post code, background etc. have an equal opportunity in education. This is not the case. There is a huge gap between the highest and lowest achievers and Australia lags behind other OECD countries in this area. Moreover, the children from low socio-economic and indigenous backgrounds are the ones who are furthest behind.
It is highly unlikely that your children and my children will be low achievers in a public school. At the school I work at, most parents' education qualifications are year 9 or equivalent. It's their kids we need to help. A child should not be disadvantaged because a public school can't match the resources of a private school, or because the parents can't afford the education they want for their children. Every school should be equal!
The Gonski Report states that of the $5 billion needed to improve educational outcomes for all students, a significant amount ($3.8 billion) needs to go public schools due to the significant and greater concentration of disadvantaged students in attendance.
I feel a little disheartened by your comments, tbh.
It's disappointing to me that people either can't or won't accept that they are in a privileged position when it comes to education, and in a way feel more entitled than our most disadvantaged, purely because you have money and choice.
You are lucky enough to have a choice for your children, and that choice is private school. I choose not to send my children to private school, because they already have an advantage over many others.
Some of the children in my class (year 3) do not even have a book to read at home. That's not their fault, and we need to ensure that they have equal educational opportunity, and under the current funding model, it's just not happening.
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21-04-2012 13:29 #201
21-04-2012 15:32 #202Senior Member
- Join Date
- Mar 2008
How would you change the current funding model? Bearing in mind State Govts have constitutional responsibility for education.
Would you have the Federal Govt assume all responsibility for education funding (which would require a constitutional amendment perhaps?) and therefore all administrative responsibility as well? In the same way it was proposed they would do for health a while back?
How would the Federal Government afford that without withdrawing funds from other areas or withholding GST revenue from States?
21-04-2012 17:51 #203
OK... I've been to the gym (my first time, yay! But that's another thread...), to the movies (The Hunger Games, loved it! But that's another thread...), and for a long walk, all the while thinking about this topic. Here's where I'm at...
1. My thoughts come from a position where I found myself with a school-aged child, living in a new area, and needing to choose between a non-desirable public primary school that fed to an even less desirable high school, or paying for private education. Our school does not quite fit into the category of elite schools that have been identified in this thread, however this thread is not indicative of all opinions and we certainly have been targeted in other arguments I've heard. I am especially sensitive to those who live in Canberra's leafy inner suburbs with access to some fantastic public schools, (BigRedV, you asked for an example and Telopea Park School is a great case in point) who are happy to reap the educational benefits that their $2 million+ real estate buys them and also happy to argue that the funding my children receive should be redirected to theirs.
2. I acknowledge that schools like The King's School have more money than they know what to do with, and am saddened that those children have more resources than they could use in a lifetime, while others are at schools that do not even meet minimum standards. I do not argue that this situation is acceptable.
3. I think it's naive to assume that if the Federal Government were to reduce funding to private schools that one cent of this would end up going to public schools. They are separate entities. Better to look at the way state governments spend their money and how this money could be allocated to public schools in need. (Unless of course your point is simply "If we can't have it, why should they?")
4. I think the use of the word "unfair" is inappropriate in this context. Every child in Australia should have access to a minimum standard of education, this goes without saying. Debate what that minimum standard is by all means, but once it is established then anything beyond that is simply a by-product of being wealthy, akin to owning luxury cars and flying first class. Further, removing the government funding to private schools won't make them any more accessible to those who can't afford them, so I don't see where "fairness" comes into that debate. Or would you remove private schools altogether?
5. We also know that money buys far more than school fees; it buys time. It buys parents the time and the energy, both physical and mental, to dedicate to their children's progress and extra-curricular activities. Families whose parents both work late into the evenings and sometimes on weekends often simply don't have the time to consolidate their children's learning or to offer them anything outside of school hours. Children from such families often lack the skills and motivation to move forward in life, and the cycle continues; the teachers in this thread would be well aware of this issue. This kind of thing can't be solved by any amount of school funding, and I believe it's what actually gives wealthier children their true advantage.
Ok, I think that's the sum-total of my musings. (Off to give Moneyball another shot tonight... after getting busted BubHubbing on my phone and being made to put it away, DH took a work call half-way through and the rest of the evening was a write-off ). Good evening all, and many thanks for giving me something interesting to think about!
Last edited by lambjam; 21-04-2012 at 18:09.
21-04-2012 21:36 #204
Can't multi-quote on phone.
Nancy, I do not have the answer to where all the funding should come from, the Gonski Report has some interesting findings and good recommendations. What I do know is that Australia spends 0.5% less of the GDP on education than other OECD countries. Perhaps this is why over the last decade, the performance of Australian students has declined in ALL levels of education, resulting in Australia's international standing falling dramatically.
LJ - it's interesting to see the kind of schools that people are interested in. I've never heard of Telopea Park School, but I can tell you now after googling that I would not want to send my children there. I have zero interest in my children learning to speak, read and write French. I would choose other languages over French, like Irish, or Lithuanian, which would be more relevant to my own children. I have no interest in a school that is accountable to Australian and French authorities plus the ACT DET. Too much! I also don't like schools with a large population. I know it's a primary and secondary, which is why numbers would be over 1000, but I think that is too many. I also know you can't judge how good a school is by looking at their website, but from what I've seen, it doesn't appeal to me at all!
Last edited by BigRedV; 21-04-2012 at 21:47.
21-04-2012 21:41 #205-
- Join Date
- Oct 2011
wow Big Red, they are the exact languages I would choose for my kids!
21-04-2012 21:48 #206
21-04-2012 21:54 #207-
- Join Date
- Oct 2011
My Hubby is irish and my mum was lithuanian!
22-04-2012 06:02 #208
22-04-2012 06:43 #209
You still won't address the point I'm really getting at; you say it's unfair that a non-wealthy family might not be able to access the private school of their choice, and I'd like you to acknowledge that many families also cannot access the public school of their choice.
ETA I acknowledge that Telopea Park is an unusual example, although if you're from Canberra it's synonymous with excellence. If you'd like to see some more main****** schools that are primarily for the enjoyment of the wealthy, check out Forrest Primary, Campbell High, and Narrabundah College.
Last edited by lambjam; 22-04-2012 at 06:52.
22-04-2012 07:11 #210
I can relate to your point on particular schools in particular areas having certain advantages over other schools in other areas. There are a number of schools like this in Melbourne where your post code can definitely dictate different public school opportunities. I have witnessed this first hand after working for 10 years as a teacher and in school leadership in low socio economic schools with some of the highest esl, absence rates in the state.
It angers me but more so it saddens and disappoints me that the class divide in this country is widening. Education should be the great leveller. All kids should have a right to a minimum standard of education, you're absolutely right, in adequate buildings and facilities.
I definitely do not have the answers on this issue but I also would hate to think I am naive also. As bigred has also stated in her post, the gonski review (the most in depth review of education in aus since 1973) has made several recommendations to government.
The main things were that funding to schools need to be more balanced to begin to close the widening gap of disadvantage, so schools with higher indigenous and low socio economic populations would be funded at a higher rate. I think Deleriums post referring to a sliding scale is good because, if it's not about fairness, as you say, then all schools do not need dollar for dollar funding per student.
I can live with (sort of ) not removing funding from any schools (because you're right that all children should be funded for a minimum standard of education) so long as all schools are funded in an appropriate manner to deliver that minimum standard, which we know according to the gonski report, our standing with the OECD and many others personal experiences here, we are not even close to delivering in so many disadvantaged areas. It is important to note here, that what it costs to deliver a minimum standard of education, will differ due to student backgrounds and socio economic reasons.
I think a good place to start taking inspiration from is Finland who for the past decade has almost always ranked at the top of PISA surveys.
Last edited by babyla; 22-04-2012 at 07:43.
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