Chris Bonnor | The ‘State’ of our schools

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.

Chris Bonnor writes:

The media stories at the start each school year are usually predictable: getting ready for school, the cost of schooling, the odd crisis or two. Most of these are written well in advance.

But a story this week broke the mould and created more than a little interest. The Australian told of a leaked report which dispelled any doubt that government policy was largely responsible for the increasing residualisation of public schools – and at a great cost to their enrolled students. The report by Professor Richard Teese added new and disturbing information to what we already know.

In one sense the situation it portrays isn’t new. The residualisation of public schools, the ones which are obliged to be free, accessible and inclusive, was inevitable from the day governments funded private schools to compete with their own. The charging of fees alone would guarantee that they would harvest the middle class, leaving the public provider – as John Howard once put it so – as a safety net for others. You couldn’t write a better script to create social, resource and academic divides between schools.

Read the full article in On line Opinion here

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