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September 16, 2004

One of the big gaps in reform and directing public expenditure has been our schools. It is one area where increased expenditure would have a significant benefit. The federal government is in a position to do this as it has much more money than it needs.

This cartoon strikes as a pretty reasonable critique of consumer choice as well as indicating the fairness of the ALP's education policy, which was announced yesterday. That begins to address the inequities built into our two-tier education system.


The ALP policy puts the emphasis where it should be: on directing more of the flow of public money to public education, whilst giving a hand to the poorer low fee private schools. If the old 'Knowledge Nation' rhetoric is to have any substance, then public schools and the poorer private schools need to have the tools and resources to enable students to acquire an education that would enable them to work and live within a global economy.

This does not do away with choice. It is to ensure that consumer choice (for government or non-government schools) is linked to the public good, rather than being a stand alone value in the free market.

Let us not get too carried with the ALP rediscovering is social democratic heritage. As Kenneth Davidson points out:

"....Latham Labor is committed to pass in the Senate the Howard Government's inequitable funding scheme for schools in 2005 - and as a result, no matter who wins the election on October 9, the proportion of Commonwealth funding going to government schools will continue to contract until at least 2006."

Still it is a step anything towards re-establsihing equity in the operating resources between government and private schools in Australia.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 12:26 PM | | Comments (0)