There has been much talk in 2006 of
"Values" in Australian Education. Politicians and Press in
thrall to wealthy, powerful, religious men have bleated about
the superior "Values " of private church schools.
In the values debate, on the basis
of its fundamental worth, public education wins hands down.
There is no comparison between the
value and values inherent in a public education system, and
those which underlie private, church school interests.
Hierarchical churches in particular have traditionally been
antithetical to public education which was and is the
cornerstone of a healthy democratic state. Hierarchical churches
are the basis of authoritarian rule, and undermine democratic
The following is a collection of
Statements which illustrate the fundamental political purpose
and value of Public Education for a liberal democratic State.
The values of a Public Education system are far superior to any
so-called "values" of private schools. 2007 should be the year
that Public Education supporters trumpet the virtue and
potential of the Public system, particularly in the present
climate where there is a retreat from public service funding, a
glorification of the market place and individual choice- at
taxpayer's expense, and privatism which negates the public good.
A Public Education system is the
bulwark protecting the educational interest of the disorganised
majority against the single minded, narrow based, particularist
The Public School is the major
institution for the continuous creation of a viable, caring,
harmonious, heterogeneous and just society. The overwhelming
majority of citizens have neither the time, energy or
resources to compete and fight with particularist, selfish
Australia's democratic destiny
is best served by public schools.
The future of public education
represents the future of Australian society.
Public Schools help to build a
political community which is democratic.
In a society compromised of
diverse peoples divided along religious, racial, economic,
cultural, and social class lines public schools achieve a
sense of community over and above that of particular
The role of public education is
so central to the existence of a viable, heterogeneous and
democratic society that it is the most important business in
a civil society.
Public Education helps to create
a sense of community and assists citizens acquire the common
values of a democratic society.
Achieving a sense of community
is the essential purpose of public education. In building a
cohesive, viable, democratic, heterogeneous and just
community there is no alternative to public education.
Public schools have a commitment
to elevate the public goal of unity over the particularist
goals of special and self serving interests in society.
The agency for promoting
cohesion and community among a heterogeneous, democratic
people, the most persuasive means for promoting a common
destiny public schools are the training ground in the habits
The undermining of public
education is tantamount to undermining our free society.
The destruction of public
education represents the fragmentation of society.
The Public Good is something
more than the sum of the total of each person seeking after
his or her private good. ( education for the first class
ticket to heaven or the good job.)
A viable community is not
produced by a collection of groups, each occupying its own
turf and each doing its own thing.
Public schools maximise the
possibility of mutual respect and understanding in the
Public Education is the system
that makes the parts of a civil society coherent and the
whole more than the sum of its parts.
One must defend the local Public
School, the community school, because one does not want and
cannot accept the alternative. The local Public School is
the very foundation of our future.
Public Education is not just
like any consumer good. It is a Public Good like Defence
If society's religious, ethnic,
cultural and intellectual threads are to be woven into a
harmonious, viable, communal tapestry, there is no
substitute for the local community public school. For this
reason we cannot accept and must defeat privatisation in all
The most vital function of the
local public school and the public system is its
socio-political function. In the public school children
achieve a sense of community and acquire common values: the
common bonds of a democratic and just society.
The twilight of the liberal,
public education system will be the twilight of the liberal,
The local public school is the
training ground for the habits of community for the
children, and is reinforced in adulthood as parents of
children at the local public school. As the sense of
community is weakened, community interests will more and
more be overridden by powerful, particular interests.
We can no more dismantle the
local public school and the public education system or even
erode them, than we can dismantle our democratic government
or the courts or our free Press. As citizens, we must
mobilise to prevent the attack on public education and
promote its worth.
It is important that when we refer
to public education, public schools, and public education
systems, we are referring to an 8 fold, historic, Australian
definition. The Public Education we are referring to is one that
Public in purpose
Public in benefit
Public in access ( for pupils,
teachers, administrators and citizens etc.)
Public in control
Public in ownership
Public in provision
Public in accountability and
Since private church schools are
none of the above, only genuinely public schools should be: