We need to seriously look at private schools
What kind of school tells its students not to get a life-saving vaccine because it encourages promiscuity? What kind of school tells its students that pornography causes holes in the brain? What kind of school tells its students same-sex relationships are evil, while at the same time barely disciplining a staff member in a same-sex relationship with a disciple and former student? Do we think old school ties still matter? Not for long is my guess.
‘Parents must trust the public system and vote for it to be adequately funded.’
Debra Hayes, from the University of Sydney
For all we know, there are schools across Australia that talk about the dangers of promiscuity, Gardasil and pornography as if they were factual. From my own personal experience, teenage licentiousness means you’ll end up as a dull yet devoted wife of one and mother of three.
As Australian taxpayers, we support private schooling by allowing the government to continue to fund private schools. As Four Corners reported, Tangara received $5 million dollars in government funding in 2021, a 66 percent increase in five years. Tangara and his siblings hit $20 million in 2021 alone. A year ago we learned 130 private schools were overfunded by $120 million in one year.
David Zyngier, adjunct associate professor at Southern Cross University and a Greens councilor in Victoria, has campaigned for years for governments to defund private schools. As he puts it, it’s not government funding, it’s taxpayer funding. He did a little experiment on whether two public schools, where his grandchildren go, are fairly funded. The answer was neither is funded according to the School Resource Standard. Each school is underfunded by more than $1.5 million each year. Meanwhile, private schools are overfunded.
“The governments are robbing our public schools to fund private schools,” says Zyngier.
We do not have transparent insight into what is happening in private schools. Parents need to ask tough questions. Australian parents think they have to pay for values, says Debra Hayes, who leads the education program at the University of Sydney.
Louise Milligan hosted the Four Corners program on Opus Dei on Monday evening.
“But public schools are hotbeds of values and value-driven practices,” she says. “Parents must trust the public system and vote that it is adequately funded.”
And as David Gurr, who runs the University of Melbourne’s education program, asks: “Can we say with our hand on our heart that every school is a quality school? Is it a quality school for all students?”
It’s not as if private schools even share the burden when it comes to students from disadvantaged backgrounds, or who are differently abled.
But when it comes to education, money matters. All children need access to good schools, ones that teach fairness, respect, reading and (don’t kill me) timetables.
Time to turn the tables on private schools. Labor has struggled forever to deal with the unfairness of education funding. It’s time for Australian voters to say we’re changing back now.
Kudos to the students who spoke on Monday night. Perhaps we should ask students at private schools the same questions everywhere.
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