I’ve been reading Darcy Moore’s series of posts about the Gonski Review, which recently concluded and posed this question:
How much data do we need to tell us that a well-educated, motivated teacher in an appropriately funded, resourced and supported school, freed from bureaucratic regulation, can give students what they need?
Darcy makes some excellent points about the resourcing of schools that is needed for a ‘high equity, high quality’ schooling system in Australia.
I want to add to these today simply by reminding people that Public schooling – the kind that is provided for free to all young people in Australia – is an institution that is particularly worth fighting for in this time of change.
While Public schooling often suffers at the hands of bureaucratic micro-management and ill-conceived Government initiatives, this is a scenario that can change.
What WILL NOT CHANGE, unless there is a drastic shift in the proportion of funding provided to Public schools (not just the amount), is the cultural hierarchy of schooling in Australia that sees greater choice and opportunity for those young people whose parents can afford it.
I went to a public school. There were never enough material resources, never enough flexibility…but I know other schools that had it worse.
I’ve seen the inside of the ELITE Private schools in NSW, Queensland and Victoria. There is no excuse for sustaining a system that provides some children with tennis courts, cricket pitches and drama theatres, when teachers at other local schools are penny-pinching to buy more whiteboard markers.
It is disturbing to see people speaking in hushed tones around the issue of the Gonski Review, seemingly frightened to suggest that IT’S NOT ALRIGHT for some families to buy their way into status and social advantage. And I don’t care to hear about people who “really are supporting a middle class family, working three jobs to afford the school fees”.
What gives a family the right to withdraw and segregate their children from the social fabric that others are relying on for the project of “diversity” to actually work?
Of course I will always be committed to working at University and through Professional Associations to help prepare and develop excellent English teachers to work in every school sector…but, as a school teacher, I will only ever work in the PUBLIC sector. I will not teach in other sectors; they can’t buy my labour. So, if you find yourself wondering whether Public schools really are worth fighting for, in this day and age, know this:
TEACHERS THAT ARE LOYAL TO PUBLIC SCHOOLS STILL EXIST.
PARENTS THAT BELIEVE IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS STILL EXIST.
STUDENTS THAT LOVE THEIR PUBLIC SCHOOL GRADUATE EVERY YEAR.
WE ALL VOTE.
…AND WE ARE ONLY GETTING MORE RESILIENT AND DETERMINED.
Mr. #Gonski please stop the over funded Elite schools from buying their way out of this! Please disincentivise social snobbery and segregation. Please implement a funding model that rewards families for supporting their local community school.