Tags: apologist

9 May 2006, Comments Off on Apples and pears

Apples and pears

Author: Helen

Interesting discussion on public education, here and at Crazybrave.

I donít want to be an apologist for KB, but private schools are here to stay, like it or not. As lefties we just have to face reality (Guy)

Don’t forget I was talking about my wish fulfilment fantasy!

Fantasy aside, nothing ever changes if you think too much in the “this is the way it is, so this is the only way it can be” mode. I hear so much of that. With political will, things can change, especially if the government does. Unless the new government is as neoliberal a bunch of nongs as the ones before them.

While there are some filthy rich private schools who deserve a lot less government funding, there are also quite a number of poor private schools who probably deserve more than they get now. I don’t think Labor or any other party is going to get anywhere by smashing non-government schools (in general) into the ground. There ís lots of ordinary parents (see the graph from here – an increasing number) who send their kids to very un-ostenatatious private schools across the country. (Guy)

How many of the parents sending their kids to “poor” private schools are doing so out of real choice, and how many of them are doing so because they’re railroaded into it because of (1) being seen as bad parents if they go public, (2) fearmongering about the roughness, toughness and seediness of their local High, and (3) the actual effects of their local High being run down for lack of funds?

What might their decision be if the local public schools were maintained in excellent condition, resourced properly, and teachers paid properly?

Are some of those schools cranky little fundy academies of various stripes, for which we’ll pay the human cost later?How many of them are just middling-mediocre, not an improvement on anything, but started up in response to federal government subsidies and the fear-driven streaming into anything “private”?

And “smashing non-government schools into the ground”. Hmm. If the prose is going to get that purple, I’d venture to say it’s the public schools which are already getting smashed into the ground.

When we moved to the suburbs and she enrolled at Brighton High School I rocked up for the Mothers Club to be told there wasnít one. How do you raise money then? I asked.
“The government gives it to us” they chorused (Brownie)

That’s Brighton for you. The private schools get a handout too, which was the original trigger for Kim’s (and Mundine’s) placatory statements, but they probably have the sense to shut up about it.

I don’t think parents and teachers should be relied on to provide hours of unpaid labour to finance a public institution through cake stalls. We don’t expect the Department of Premier and Cabinet to run a choccie drive to
get the basic tools for their work, why do schools and hospitals? (Kate)

Damn straight.

…In order to keep my daughter away from the violent children with criminal parents (Brownie)

Oh for heavens sake! I wonder what school Mokbel Minor and Adler Major attended? as well as the offspring of thuggish but wealthy footballers? The private schools are as much a hotbed of bullying and violence as any.

Maybe the girlchild could take you on a tour of her public school? It would address some of your fears, I think.

I went to a top girl’s school (now called Pembroke) in SA for the first nine years of school. I was a failing student, I think now I might have been a bit ADD, but a dreamer and a C-D student, anyway. Something about the high school (Hurstbridge High school, now closed, like so many) woke me up and I turned into a right swot, although no school ever succeeded in making me enjoy sport. I can’t praise those teachers enough. I ended up, in HSC, with results I’d never have dreamed of before.

Some of the Pembroke teachers were kind, some were vicious, but the school didn’t do squat to address my (lack of) learning.

Boarding school was MUCH BETTER – because our local school was in outback Australia, we tended to get novice teachers. The other kids were unruly…
(TimT)

Of course the local school couldn’t compete; Outback australia isn’t the norm. It’s a special case. Of course it’s much harder to provide education, or any service for that matter, in the outback. Would the boarding school have set up its campus there? of course not.

The teachers at private school were much better; and the parents committee was also much more active (like Brownie observed above). (TimT)

Again… What would be the case if public education was properly funded? Are you comparing a school which can’t afford to pay much in teaching salaries to a school which can?

You know, the most offensive part of that way of thinking is the notion that kids whose parents can’t afford private education should be given up on, thrown to the wolves as it were, with other werewolf kids whose parents sprout fangs, and bugger spending anything more on resources. This kind of thinking is a self-fulfilling prophecy as kids fail to learn in depressing and impoverished environments, give up on school, and fail. Then it’s the fault of the school, or the teachers.

The public education system does not have, generally speaking, the same level of resources available to many private schools. (WPD)

Now you’re talking.

If we’re comparing private education with public education we might be comparing apples with pears. But it’s not fair to compare fat, shiny apples with pears from a neglected tree.