AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL

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

PRESS RELEASE 216 #.

 1 AUGUST  2007

THE STUPID COUNTRY: MISTAKEN  IMPRESSIONS

ABOUT  INTEGRATED SCHOOLING

 

 

 

DOGS have for many decades held that both the policy and the practice of Īntegrated Schooling" īs anathema for the interests of public education and the public good.

Any person claiming to be a friend of public education must get their facts and statements about the policy, practice and outcome of integrated schooling correct.

Bonnor and Caro's Claim regarding Integrated Schooling in New Zealand:

On page 192 -193 of Stupid Country the authors wrote:

 In New Zealand, for example, the schools that are integrated in this way generally look like any other local public school': They don't charge significant fees, they have much the same rules and obligations, their dealings with staff and students are the same, and all schools are funded according to the needs of their students. The main difference is that they adhere to a particular set of religious beliefs.

Unfortunately for public education, this claim is just a repetition of the myth which has unfortunately been circulated amongst the supporters of public education in New South Wales since early 2006 under the title of "Sustaining Quality Schools."Chris Bonnor is a/the  author of this work. It appeared under the sponsorship of the Presidents of the New South Wales Secondary and Primary Principals Organisations

 The first section is entitled "Who does the Heavy Lifting: A Tale of Two Countries". DOGS quote

If you walk into any New Zealand private school be prepared for a surprise. They don't have high fees, they have the same rules and undertake the same obligations as State Schools. Their dealings with the staff and students are the same and all schools are funded according to the needs of their students. They are really not "private "at all in the sense that we use that term in commerce.

Bonnor and Caro Claim on New Zealand Integrated Schooling False

How Bonnor and Caro have repeated the above misstatements is beyond our understanding. Who created in these two writers such misunderstandings of what is happening in New Zealand? Was some private school promoter having them on?

 There is no evidence that they have read the relevant New Zealand Act  entitled "Private Schools Integration Act" (PSCIA), 1975, No. 129. A  perusal of this legal basis of Integrated Schools in New Zealand is obtainable on the Internet. A short, ten minute study reveals the mythical nature of their claim.

If Bonnor and Caro had friends in the private sector, they could confer with Patrick J. Lynch who, in October 2003, was the Chief Executive Officer of the New Zealand Catholic Education Office Limited. At a CECV (Catholic Education Commission of Victoria) Conference,* Patrick Lynch was one of  three speakers. The other two were Professor Brian Caldwell and Professor Jack Keating from Melbourne University. DOGS have often noted that Caldwell and Keating are neither friends nor promoters of our historic public education systems.

 On October 10, 2003, Patrick Lynch summed the New Zealand situation up in a very few words.

"We can have our cake and eat it." *

The Act :The True Position Regarding the Integrated Schools in New Zealand

DOGS  refer supporters of public education as we have known it  in Australia to the New Zealand Act.  A reading of the Act, as well as Patrick Lynch's account  cuts completely across the fundamental principles and indices of a public school.

DOGS note with interest Patrick Lynch's summary of the legal and education situation He deals with the legal as well as the practical privileges accorded the Roman Catholic system. His account fits in with the legal underpinning of the integrated system. After reading Lynch's October 10 2003 paper DOGS note the following:

Special (Religious) Dimension:

  • Īntegration Agreements provide safeguards and comfort to Church Proprietors that the essential dimensions of each Catholic school are able to be strong and able to be evolved.

  • The proprietor  owns the school  and is responsible for setting and maintaining the school and its special character.

Religious Tests for Staff:

  • Religious tests and appointments for staff: Proprietors have the rights to monitor/control the appointments of staff who have key roles in the leadership of Catholic schools as well as positions where individuals contribute specific dimensions to the Catholic ethos of the school.

  • In primary schools 60% of the staff ( and it can be more) have to be able to contribute to the Catholic character of the school. Such staffing positions are advertised with what is known as a catholic tag.  In secondary schools there are similar tag positions for a minimum of 40% of the staff. To obtain one of these positions the person needs to be able to demonstrate that they are Catholic in good standing.

  • The above religious test on staff is a statutory provision

Religious Tests for Pupils

Special Preference of enrolment is given to parents who are able to demonstrate that they have a connection with the Roman  Catholic Church. Non-Roman Catholic enrolment in a school is limited to 5% in most instances. The New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference determines the criteria that parents and care givers need to meet .

Major Beneficiaries of the Integrated System : Religious Separationists Ecstatic

  • Roman Catholic schools are more focussed on core, special character issues than they have been in the last thirty years.

  • Proprietors now carry out their responsibilities to supervise the special character of their schools more seriously than in the more recent past.

  • They are able to operate  fully as Roman Catholic Schools. The Government does not interfere with this dimension of the school but leaves it solely to the proprietors to monitor and strengthen.

  • Integration has enabled proprietors to work more collaboratively on a national basis.

  • The Boards of Trustees have no restrictions on how they spend money received in their delivery of the curriculum of the school including religious education.

Commentary:

How can you take Bonnor and Caro's information on the Integrated System seriously given the above?

Can Bonnor and Caro provide public education supporters with one example of a public school in Australia that is religious in nature and selects children and staff on the basis of religion?

Can Bonnor and Caro explain why there was a great deal of opposition to the Integrated system at its inception, but supporters of the public schools which have been integrated into the private sector have been silenced?

Can Bonnor and Caro tell us where in New Zealand  what we know as a "public" school able to have a religious character and select children and staff on the basis of the religion of their parents  They tell us that these religious schools "look like any other public school", and are conducted under the same rules as "public schools." Are they joking? They cant really be serious.

 Private can never be public and public should not be private.

 Children, not schools can be integrated. Only a truly public system  is willing and able to do so.

AN INTEGRATED SYSTEM OF EDUCATION IS A PRIVATISED, NOT A PUBLIC SYSTEM OF EDUCATION. IT IS A RECIPE FOR THE TAKEOVER OF THE PUBLIC SYSTEM BY THE PRIVATE SYSTEM

Finally

Before the public education systems in Australia take the New Zealand precedent  seriously they should understand that the New Zealand Act sets up Integration Agreements which are written IN PERPETUITY!

There will be no going back and our public school systems as we know them, systems which are genuinely free, secular and compulsory, systems which are the only ones which can and do integrate children, will be lost forever.

 

*Įonceptions of Public and Private in Education, CECV Seminar Series, 10 October 2003

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AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL FOR THE DEFENCE OF GOVERNMENT  SCHOOLS

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Last modified:Tuesday, 07 August 2007