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The Forum > Article Comments > School needs matter most > Comments

School needs matter most : Comments

By Jack Keating, published 5/3/2007

The real equity issue is not a drift out of government schools.

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How refreshing to read an insightful and non ideological article. We are indeed in a plural society.
Governments partly fund "private" schools for the benefit of students and the public good. All schools need to work together and public funding should warrant this collaboration and public accountability for the outcomes of the funding. Whilst 30% of high school students attend "private" schools, governments still probably fund about 85% of all high school education.
Private organisations fund and operate some "public" schools.
All schools should be excellent and all students should receive excellent education. The size of the gap should determine the priority for public expenditure.
Posted by Kebby, Monday, 5 March 2007 1:03:37 PM
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"A public system is about using public funding to deliver to the public, irrespective of the ownership of the delivery agency."

The last part of the sentence tells it all. How obvious that the author is at the Education Department of the University of Melbourne - the private school sector's best friend.

Dress it in "impartial" language as much as you want: this is still a blatant push for the privatisation of ALL schooling.
Posted by petal, Monday, 5 March 2007 1:24:59 PM
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The article unfortunately deals with symptoms, not problems.

The underlying issue here isn’t about whether or not better/wealthier students are leaving the public education system. It is about providing an education system that yields real benefits for its clients.

BTW: I don’t mean parents or teachers.

Personally, I despise the Howard government’s policy of providing middleclass subsidies by over funding private education. However, until the public system starts to reassert itself as a viable alternative, parents are still going to mortgage their lives to send their kids to a private school. And government funding to relieve this stress is going to be a vote winner.

I’m a survivor of public school education through the 80’s. As far as I’m concerned, the success of my education was held to ransom by many well meaning but ultimately destructive programs, all aimed at some bubble-headed ideal of equity and releasing the “creativity of children”.

I mean whoever came up with the idea that lumping everyone together would promote better results has got rocks in their head.

I know- I was there. We were told that poorer performing students would feel better by not being in the ‘dumb’ class. That equality was the key to bringing out the best in performance for everyone.


Maybe it was good for parents- no more having to explain to other parents that little Johnny wasn’t in the A-class.

Maybe it was better for teachers by removing some stratification in teaching ranks. No more insinuations that Fred was a dud teacher because he kept getting the C-class. Maybe Bill Cosby was right when he said: “The great thing about being in the slow class was that they gave you a slow teacher!”

I don’t know.

I do know it was a disaster for the kids.

Is it better to be a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in a big pond? The answer: a big fish.

Posted by mylakhrion, Monday, 5 March 2007 4:49:10 PM
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So I truly fail to understand how anybody could’ve convinced themselves that putting poor students in direct competition to the best students was in ANYONES best interest.

The poor student knows that there is no way they are ever going to be at the top. Ever. Yet, in a class of equivalent students, the capacity to be at the top- a winner- is attainable for everyone. And everyone likes to be a winner.

The better students faired no better. A class of kids with a largely common capacity will compete together and tend to achieve a higher level. Adding in a heavy tail of people that cannot compete, and therefore don’t, weighs down the whole structure, bringing everyone down.

Then we start getting to the phenomenal decisions to stop teaching necessary skills like grammar and the ability to craft logical arguments in essay form. A common experience in my circle of friends was the exasperation of our university lecturers who wound up not only having to teach us the coursework but also how to write a proper essay! I am currently trying to learn a foreign language. This task is made so much more difficult because I don’t know how my own language was constructed! Common complaints (usually from the same boomer morons that advocated these changes in the first place) about ‘young people today’ focus declining quality of English writing but does anyone correlate it to these decisions that are supposed to release a child’s ‘creativity’.

The generations that suffered from these misjudgments are now looking for schools for their children. Can there be any question as to why they are preferentially selecting the segment of the education market that focuses on results? That structures education in ways that emphasize the sense of competition and the skills of self-discipline?

Stop the public system being used as a testing ground some new 'revolution in education' from some idiot academic looking for a name. Focus on providing education for the kids. Give wary parent assurances that there won’t be further such catastrophes and you may see some move back.
Posted by mylakhrion, Monday, 5 March 2007 4:53:18 PM
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