AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL FOR THE DEFENCE OF GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS - D.O.G.S.

PRESS RELEASE 116#.

8 August 2005

FAILURE OF THE AGE TO PROVIDE BALANCED COVERAGE IN THE LATEST ATTACK ON PUBLIC EDUCATION:

THE SO-CALLED INTEGRATED PUBLIC EDUCATION SYSTEM.

The Editor,

The Age,

250 Spencer Street

MELBOURNE 3000

 

Dear Sir/Madam

Once more the Australian Council for the Defence of Government Schools expresses the gravest concern with the treatment of issues relating to the survival of free secular and universal public schools system inherited from the 1872 Education Act.

In recent weeks on 25 July and 1 August 2005 the Age gave approximately 1500 square centimetres of space to the promotion of the so-called integrated public school system. There has been no mention of the multitude of arguments against such a system in your columns.

Nor was there any mention of the fact that our public education system is the only possible “integrated” system. Unlike the private sectarian system, it is freely available to all children regardless of their class, colour, creed or ability to pay. To compare the public with the private system is like comparing potatoes and fairy floss. The one is basic and essential, the other is the froth on the top for the financially and religious privileged.

The plain fact of the matter is that any integrated system which involves the private sector is a recipe for the eventual privatisation of public education.

Your education editor has failed to assemble either balanced research or discussion on the topic. Instead they have merely swallowed hook line and sinker the material produced by the Education Foundation. Unfortunately this Foundation has chosen to base their report on persons who are either in favour of the integrated system or know nothing about the history of the public school system and why it was established in the first place.

One only has to go to the second page of the Education Foundation document to realise how bad it is. We quote:

“The main point to be made is that we need a new conception of public school, one which goes beyond definitions based on whether a school is wholly owned or funded by government”.

Here you have it in a nutshell. These people do not and, starting from this basis, cannot, understand what a public system is all about. Our founding fathers:

Sir Henry Parkes known as the father of Federation

Andrew Inglis Clark, the major draftsman of the Australian Constitution

Edmund Barton, the first Australian Prime Minister

Samuel Griffith, the first Chief Justice of the High Court

Henry Bournes Higgins, a Justice of the first High Court and the major proponent of Section 116 of the Constitution:

All understood that public education was first and foremost set up for a fundamental political purpose. That was to make sure that Australia enjoyed a secular society without religious states within the secular State. They also realised that the State should not fund religion for children or adults. They realised that public education was and is the cornerstone of the liberal democratic and heterogeneous society which we inherited from them – until this generation.

Any person wishing to consider the nature of public education would discuss the following features: Public education, to be public must be

                Public in Purpose

                Public in Access (for children, teachers, etc.)

                Public in Benefit/Outcome

                Public in Ownership

                Public in Control

                Public in Accountability

                Public in Funding – and the sole recipient of such Funding

Any informed person would realise that this so-called integrated school system is a thinly veiled attempt to destroy public education as we know it. It is a certain recipe for the continued downgrading of the public system and its integration into the private sector.

DOGS request an opportunity to produce 1500 square centimetres of argument against the so-called integrated public school system – without having to pay for it in the form of an expensive Advertisement as we were forced to do on April 26 2005 regarding the Kosky Review of the Education and Training Legislation.

Given the Age’s past treatment of public education and the DOGS, we will continue to ensure our letter receives the usual wide alternative coverage through our website.

Awaiting your reply,

RAY NILSEN

PRESIDENT DOGS

 

 

 
 
 
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Last modified:Monday, 08 August 2005