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The Forum > Article Comments > 2020 plans for school education: summit good, summit bad > Comments

2020 plans for school education: summit good, summit bad : Comments

By Chris Bonnor, published 1/5/2008

The ideas for education coming out of the Summit were a bit underwhelming.

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"What should be essential in the role, character and provision of public education?"

Surely, the most basic requirement is an end to the politicians undermining public education through constant cuts which have proceeded unabated over the last twenty five years utilising the 'big lie' - "there is no money for public education". Not content, more is on the way in the upcoming horror budget. Which the 20/20 conference was designed as a facade to "tart the cuts up" under the guise of "democratic input".What a fraud! Far from having anything to do with democracy, the 2020 summit is a crafted decitful public relations exercise with proceedings dominated by leading business representatives who chaired the various sessions along with hand-picked academics, media representatives, and celebrities. Along with David Morgan, former CEO of Westpac Bank and current chairman of the Australian Bankersí Association. The Labor government has given every indication that it intends to meet its commitments to big business, beginning with an austerity budget that will slash billions of dollars in social spending. Enormous cuts have been demanded by the financial markets and "big money" who are licking their chops at the thought of another big payday. This never ending 'dumbing down' and stultifying of children must have long term consequences not only for their own lives and others but society must suffer as well.
Behind it all, is a plan (privatisation) to turn everything into a commodity for sale where the public pays over and over for an ever-diminishing return. But how do the politicians keep getting away with it?
Posted by johncee1945, Thursday, 1 May 2008 6:22:17 PM
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I agree with the concept of the 2020 conference, and believe it should be a biannual or triennial event, regardless of the political party in power at the time. If managed well enough, such conferences would be a part of the democratic process.

However the education system is becoming less democratic in time, with parents having almost no say regards what happens in the public schools at least.

Student marks have not improved in 30 years, while more money is now being spent per student than 30 years ago. So obviously money is not the answer.

If academics at the conference could not think of ways to improve student marks, then perhaps the next step is to invite students and parents.
Posted by HRS, Thursday, 1 May 2008 7:32:35 PM
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Because of the bloody frustrating post limit I am unable to post in response to Marilyn Shepherd on the post below this.

AND I CAN'T WAIT.

Just who in the hell do you think you're talking to MS?

We both post on a local forum where your support for the Taliban is sickening! I'll be damned if I'll be judged by you!

Your 'whining' crap wouldn't have anything to do with your ties to the Oz Dems would it?

(Sorry Chris Bonner; take it up with the site owner. Articles are published here daily. To have a two post per 24 hour limit on them is ludicrous!!)
Posted by Ginx, Thursday, 1 May 2008 11:38:12 PM
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Just a few quick thoughts on education. The first is my amazement that the obvious requirement of parents that their childrens education should be funded out of their taxes should not be the overriding principle. After all, the parents fill out their own ballot papers, don't they?

As for the main problem with the drift to private schools, I think it is largely due to the principle of neither expelling nor punishing disruptive students in government schools. The disruptive types know that nothing can be done to them, and thus many parents flee to private schools that can , at least, expel students. If I had a free hand I consider I could solve the problem overnight, by establishing a new government borstal school, with the first lesson being the meaning of the term "Botany Bay Dozen". Until something like this is done, the drift to private schools will continue, and government schools will increasingly become remainder schools.
Posted by plerdsus, Friday, 2 May 2008 6:51:02 AM
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Chris, there's no winners with you is there? You say "... our current framework of public and private schools actually undermines social inclusion. The report from this group flagged the idea of perks for private schools which enrolled students from low income families, but missed the potentially regressive impact of this on the communities they are supposed to be strengthening."

Firstly, there is no evidence that private schooling undermines social inclusion. This is an assertion that you make time and time again without producing any evidence. It's your own spin with no basis in fact. Private schools actually reflect our society with its various communities, including faith-based and secular. If private schooling was to undermine our society it would have done so well before now since private schooling has been in existence in Australia since schools were established in this country (by the Catholics and Protestants). The fact is that private schooling contributes a huge amount to Australian society through the provision of high quality education.

Secondly, you routinely complain about private schools not doing 'their share of the heavy lifting' (to quote one of your favourite expressions). So now you're saying that (the idea of 'perks' aside, which is not something actually sought by the schools, even if it was mentioned by someone at the 2020 Summit), when a private school does offer full-fee scholarships or similar to students from low income families, they will be responsible for "a regressive impact on those communities" that the student is from. So they can't win can they? If they don't enrol kids who can't otherwise afford the fees, they're damned. If they do, they're equally damned and responsible for some (unnamed and unevidenced) regressive impact on the community.
Posted by Malcs, Monday, 5 May 2008 10:02:52 AM
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Malcs, you have bought the private school line on scholarships hook, line and sinker. The scholarship system is now one of skimming high potential children from the system with the expectation that they will boost the schools' VCE/HSC numbers- a purley market driven cynical exercise. What amazes me is how fee paying parents at these schools agree to to this practice.
Chris Bonnor is correct in asserting that the weird system of private(govt supported)/public education we have created in Australia amplifies socio economic inequities and results in serious wasting of human potential. Are private school supporters unable to grasp this situation or do they not care? The current Labour Govt should not be expected to make fundamental change-most Labour MPs send thier children to fee paying schools-K Rudd included. Provision of quality education to ALL Australian children should be the only driver of policy. On the basis of anecdotal evidence I'm seeing incresaing support for govt secondary schools in Melb especially inner city where many high schools are full and their dissappointed parents are having to pay fees at privates chools because they can not get their kids in.
Posted by pdev, Monday, 5 May 2008 10:26:17 AM
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