Wednesday, January 21, 2004


"Mr Howard said students were being moved out of public schools into the private system because there was too much political correctness in the government school system.

Figures released earlier this month show non-government schools will receive $4.7 billion in federal funding in 2004, beating universities which will receive $4.5 billion. Public schools, which are largely financed by state governments, will get $2.4 billion in federal assistance.

Earlier, Mr Howard accused teachers' unions of being "out of step'' with mainstream views, and backed the publication of national league tables ranking public schools by performance.

In an interview with The Australian, Mr Howard also called for consideration of an after-hours care program supervising homework, to provide parents with more quality time with their children. Parents now send almost 40 per cent of teenagers to private secondary schools, and one in three Australian children overall do not attend public schools.

"They feel that government schools have become too politically correct and too values-neutral," Mr Howard said.

"It's a reflection of the extent to which political correctness overtook this country. Particularly through the teachers' unions, which I think are a bit out of step. "Some schools think you offend people by having nativity plays. You know, the increasingly antiseptic view ... taken about a whole lot of things."

Mr Howard, who attended a public school in Sydney, said he did not want their enrolments to fall. "I don't want to see state schools decline, in fact I think it is important to maintain them," he said. "I'm a state-school boy myself. My wife and I both went to selective state schools. We sent our children to state schools at a primary level. It is fundamentally quite a good thing if every child at some stage can have an education at a state school. I'm not saying people have to ... particularly for Catholics."

He backed controversial calls to publish league tables ranking schools by performance. "The more information parents have about schools and their performance the better," he said. "My judgement is that the envy line that (the Australian Labor Party) ran at the last election fell on its face very badly."

Mr Howard said the present funding arrangements were "quite good", despite calls to introduce a voucher system giving parents a set amount they could spend at public or private schools. "One of the reasons why the voucher system was never adopted in Australia some years ago was that it doesn't sit easily with the funding of the Catholic system," he said"

More here

The private school system in Australia is so huge in part because all sorts of non-government schools already receive big Federal government funding. So a voucher system would not be a big improvement on that

No comments: