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The Forum > Article Comments > The 'State' of our schools > Comments

The 'State' of our schools : Comments

By Chris Bonnor, published 3/2/2012

The very schools that the education bureaucracies are supposed to champion are increasingly becoming a safety net for the children that no one else wants.

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Thanks for alerting us to these facts and issues. A big thank you for the links to the sources we can visit and analyse.
Loved the Donnelly- Canute analogy.
My only concern is that we're too late to save the public school system. The process of framing the public school system as 'failing' has been going on since David Kemp and Brendan Nelson began their fabricated campaigns to convince the electorate we had a 'literacy crisis'
Posted by Cambo, Friday, 3 February 2012 9:38:33 AM
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The education system has become so politicized between the bureaucrats in state and Federal government and the unions that the children and their parents never get a look in. Parents send their children to private schools not only because they perceive a better education experience for their child but that the parents have a say in the way the school is run. The parents can have a fumbling headmaster or teacher sacked. Try that in the public school system Ė they are transferred to another school if things get too hot.

I donít know if there are any private school teachers that are unionized but I have not heard of any private schools forced to close because the teachers have decided to participate in a labor or political rally. And you have to ask, why is it that the private schools never seem to have the problems attracting teachers that the public system has even though the private schools donít pay as much. Could it be that the working interaction between parents and faculty in a situation with common goals and aspirations leads to a mutually agreeable education environment?

As demonstrated many times over the education union's goals are for job security and the improvement of pay and benefits of the teachers. The gov't goals are to be re-elected and not cause too many waves. In both cases the appearance of doing something for the children is paramount while the actual delivery of anything substantial is anathema.

It would seem that an unsavory mix of politics and unions is leading to the demise of our public school system.
Posted by Bruce, Friday, 3 February 2012 11:19:28 AM
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Parents are to be reminded, schools are for learning and not rearing children.
Posted by 579, Friday, 3 February 2012 11:32:29 AM
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To answer Bruce's question, there are many reasons that some teachers prefer to work in private schools (e.g. religious beliefs, their own schooling experience etc).

However, I can vouch for the fact that probably the most important reason is the fact that they are teaching a select group of kids who are easier to deal with, and who, if they play up, will be expelled (which in effect means a transfer to a state school).

In other words, private schools have the luxury of teaching whom they choose. State schools do not. The obvious conclusion is that State schools need more resources to deal with full range of students.
Posted by Godo, Friday, 3 February 2012 12:21:54 PM
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"...teaching a select groups of kids."

My brother, a science teacher, was under that impression also - at least until he decided to take a position at a select private school last year.

His impression of the private school students, however, was that many were arrogant toads who weren't anymore interested in the subject than some in the state system - but had an "attitude" to compound their odium. The upshot being that he was glad he tried it but he'd much rather teach at state schools.
Posted by Poirot, Friday, 3 February 2012 12:44:48 PM
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The Review of Funding for Schooling provided a golden opportunity for a better system. Sadly, the federal AEU and other public education advocates completely misread the signals and made off-the-point submissions. The Victorian Labor government introduced a conceptually rational, though financially inadequate, system for school funding in 2005 (http://www.education.vic.gov.au/management/srp/). I expect the Gonski Review to recommend something similar nationally. The key issues are the amount set for the student learning entitlement and the need for an adequate and explicit staffing ratio behind that SLE. If the amount is too low or there is no explicit staffing formula, the federal AEU can take the blame.

Based on 2011 Victorian teacher salaries, the marginal recurrent cost per mainstream student of a properly staffed, high quality education system is $6,993 for years 3 to 6 and $8,320 for all other levels. That would provide staffing ratios of 18:1 and 15:1 respectively, sufficient to restore both primary and secondary teaching loads to past levels and to maintain small classes. This is in addition to a base amount of around $1,000,000 per secondary school (eight teachers plus other costs) and around $250,000 per primary school (two teachers plus other costs).

If the federal AEU had seen the writing on the wall, it would have made a submission along the same lines, but it seems trapped in the 1950s and failed to specify any figure or any staffing formula.

My Funding Review Submissions:

http://www.deewr.gov.au/Schooling/ReviewofFunding/SubGen/Documents/Curtis_Chris.pdf

http://www.deewr.gov.au/Schooling/ReviewofFunding/SubGen/Documents/Curtis_Chris_Attachment_1.pdf

http://www.deewr.gov.au/Schooling/ReviewofFunding/SubGen/Documents/Curtis_Chris_Attachment_2.pdf

http://www.deewr.gov.au/Schooling/ReviewofFunding/SubEip/AtoF/Documents/Curtis_Chris.pdf

http://www.deewr.gov.au/Schooling/ReviewofFunding/SubResearch/AtoM/Documents/Curtis_Chris.pdf

Chris Curtis
Posted by Chris C, Friday, 3 February 2012 2:19:57 PM
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