AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL FOR THE DEFENCE OF GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS - D.O.G.S.
PRESS RELEASE 25#.
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|SUPPORTERS OF PUBLIC EDUCATION PETITION
A petition and an Open Letter signed by prominent Australians in support of public education has been presented to Parliament. They included actors Sigrid Thornton and William McInnes, food writers Stephanie Alexander and Gabriel Gate, and Olympic Gold medallist Natalie Cook are just a few of the 120 people who have signed an Open Letter to Federal Senators protesting at the Federal Government's education funding proposals which will commence discussion in the Senate this week.
The letter was published in THE AUSTRALIAN on Wednesday morning. A broad range of eminent Australians were represented, including academics, artists, writers, musicians, performers,journalists and broadcasters, medicos, barristers, former Premiers and judges, as well as educational and social organisations.
The Open letter was initiated by PCR, a community group who are concerned about public education. PGR delivered a hard copy petition of over 1300 signatures to Federal Education Minsiter Dtr Kemp's office last week. These signatures were collected locally in St Kilda over a few weeks, as the public outrage against the proposals gained momentum. When the Senate deferred their discussion date last week they decided to seek wider support, and the Open Letter was put together over only three days. The response was overwhelming and is continuing, although not all the signatories could be included because of deadlines.
The Open letter or Petition read as follows:
"Public Education is the single most important element in the maintenance of a democratic system. Highly sophisticated elites are the easiest and least original thing a society can produce. The most difficult and the most valuable is a well educated populace." - Ralston Saul.
We. the undersigned Australians, request that the Senate considering the issues of public education should:
1. Reject the Government's plan to introduce the new socioeconomic status funding policy for schools because it is inaccurate and inequitable.
2. Revoke the Enrolment Benchmark Adjustment because it discriminates aginst public schools.
We also urge the Senate to call for an increase in public education expenditure to at least 5.1% of GDP, which is the country mean in the 2000 OECD report comparing education expenditure internationally (where Australia was ranked 24th out of 28 countries).
Prime Minister Howard and Education Minister Kemp claim that "fairness", "equity", and "choice" are their guiding principles. If so, then more money should be allocated to the government schools that educate 70% of Australian children.
We demand fairness in education funding, and call on Australian governments to create a public education system worthy of our nation.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT FIONA COCHRANE ON (03) 9 510 1880
(03) 9 537 2249
If you have a message for supporters of public education:
Ray Nilsen on
(03) 9326 9277 or Fax: (03) 9326 9180
P.O. BOX 4869
Melbourne Victoria Australia 3001
Or complete our feedback form.
|Last modified:Monday, 25 April 2005|