His Advocacy of a "More Integrated Public-Private School System"


Dr. Peter Dawkins should never have been appointed to be in charge of Public Education in Victoria. On 27 August 2004 he advocated a model for the destruction of the historic, free, secular public education system with its eight fold definition in Victoria.

DOGS believe that he should be removed immediately, particularly now that the Bracks Government appears to be going to appoint a Tom Bentley from the UK as Executive Director for Policy and Cabinet in the Department of Premier and Cabinet. This 33 year old Englishman is also a strong advocate of the integrated private-public school system ( read privatization of public education). See following Press Releases.

First for all, it is interesting to note Peter Dawkins choice of words for the title of the presentation given to the "Making Schools Better" Conference. The words used are :

" Towards a Funding Model for a More Integrated Public-Private School System"

If his proposal was just about the integration of funding , the Title would have been different. For example, "Towards a model for the Integrating of the Funding of the Public and Private School Systems". You will note however, that in the Title, the word "integrated" is conditional on the public private school system and not conditional on the funding. This presentation is part of a longer term process to absorb the public into the private school model. In this process it is important to ignore or downgrade the fundamental elements that clearly have been considered as the fundamental basis for the free, secular system.

This proposal is one of the many such proposals put forward since the 1970s by persons and organizations that have constantly undermined the free and secular public schools system because they have refused to confront the deleterious effect of State Aid to church schools on our public school systems.

DOGS note the following major points of interest in Dawkins August 2004 proposals:

  • There is a wide variety of education funding models

  • Funding is often associated with students and student numbers

  • Government funding is not always tied to government school ownership!

  • A common approach - privately owned schools integrated into public system and funded on a similar basis to public schools

  • Private schools may choose not to be integrated and either receive no government funding or reduced government funding

  • Where private schools are funded on a similar basis it is often a requirement that they charge no additional fees or are limited in their ability to charge fees

  • Funding to be student focused such as a universal per student allowance. (Voucher system)????

  • Privately owned schools that choose to gain access to government funds would be subject to the same restrictions regarding compulsory fees as government-owned schools ( the only restriction - nothing about discrimination on basis of class, colour or creed for pupils, teachers etc!)

  • Private schools choosing not to enter the system would not receive a public subsidy or a considerably reduced one.

  • Conclusion: that there are powerful arguments to have a more integrated public-private school system : namely, to avoid residualization of the public school system; to raise the choice of and accessibility to schools to a large number of families; to raise the overall quality of schools.

DOGS comment:

The argument about residualization is utter nonsense. To argue that the above model prevents the residualization of public education by changing the definition of public education, is not residualization, but straightforward destruction for public education. The "integrationist's" proposal is not one that would prevent residualization but would destroy it completely. Surely no-one would argue that you destroy something in order to save it - or perhaps this is the brave new world of weasel words.

It is grossly misleading to concentrate on school ownership as the basis for differential or no funding of private schools. Such an approach ignores the history of the abolition of State Aid and the reason for the introduction of the free secular and compulsory acts throughout Australia. Moreover, there is an enormous difference between public and private education. For example, public education is

  • Public in purpose

  • Public in outcome

  • Public in access

  • Public in provision

  • Public in accountability

  • Public in control

  • Public in funding

  • Public in ownership

Private, church schools can never fulfill any of the above requirements.

DOGS have further discovered that the research upon which Dawkins based his presentation was funded by the Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance.

No-one who proposes the integrated public-private school system should have any role in any public system throughout Australia. Peter Dawkins advocacy of the integrated private/public system is far more fitting for a private school system appointment.


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Last modified:Friday, 21 July 2006