School funding: cut out the middle man

In May, I received the latest edition of the ‘The Butler Bulletin’ in the mail from my local Federal MP Terri Butler. The lead article was about how terrible the Federal Budget was and that the Prime Minister is cutting funding to schools so that he can give tax cuts to ‘big business’. The style of writing is somewhere between a Maurice Blackburn lawyer, a GetUp! activist and an indoctrinated primary school student. Scary numbers and buzz words are splashed around to elicit all the right emotional responses from the fan base. The main photo is of an innocent looking student looking out at us with a pencil in her hand. The imagery pleads ‘help protect me from the evil PM’ with the red filter adding to the sense of danger. ‘$22 Billion Cut From Schools’!!! ‘Big Business’!!! See how scary that sounded? Fortunately for the terrorised students of Australia, Labor will ‘fight for fair’ in a Maurice Blackburn-GetUp! kind of way.

Yeah. We’ve heard it all before. Every election.

The latest round of ‘more cash = better outcomes’ comes from the last Federal Budget and the Prime Minister’s appropriation of the Gonski brand.

All of this is an excellent opportunity to remind the taxpayers of Australia out there that the government is spectacularly bad at running education services, just like other things it has no business being involved in.

There is an old retail sales technique where in the mind of the customer you attempt to limit their choices to two or at the most three options. For example if you sell fridges, where there is often ten or so options to pick from, you attempt to bring the customers focus onto the two that you would like them to pick from and make the discussion all about those fridges. Note: this doesn’t happen in socialist countries, they’re lucky if they have one fridge to pick from and the power to make it work. In most cases this works, the others are ‘forgotten’ for all intents and purposes and the choice becomes simple: fridge A or fridge B. In a highly sophisticated ‘tax-juggle-obfuscate-twist-jargon-spend’ type of system, this is what’s happening with the discussion about education.

For Joe Average out there working a job, busy living life and providing, there isn’t a lot of time to actually consider what education is all about and how it’s provided. As long as anyone can remember, the government has been the main provider of education. So when they hear a ‘discussion’, I use the term loosely, about how to deliver education services, they tend to get the impression that it’s a choice between Option A (whatever the Liberal Party says today) and Option B (whatever the Labor party says today) and after a robust debate the best way forward will be found.

Well instead of the Gonski model of school funding, how about the ‘stop taxing me so much so I can fund my child’s education directly without the government middle man’ model of education funding?

I know that doesn’t quite roll off the tongue like ‘Gonski’ but it is so much more honest and simple.

Buying education services is basically the same as purchasing other services and you are paying dearly. The key difference between this service and other services is that someone else (the government) uses your money (taxes) to purchase those services on your behalf.

This happens in virtually no other area of society except health care.

Here are some of the things the government doesn’t use your money to purchase on your behalf and then force you to use:

  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Housing (unless you’re in extreme poverty)
  • Entertainment
  • Tertiary education
  • Dating services
  • Travel
  • Taxis
  • Beauty and grooming products
  • Books
  • Financial planning
  • Lending
  • Electronic products
  • Kitchen appliances
  • Camping equipment
  • Phones

The list goes on and on.

For some reason the state insists on getting in between the buyer and seller in this transaction. Why?

In The Weekend Australian, Henry Ergas has written an excellent piece about the problems with public school funding generally and the Gonski model in particular.

To quote:

What then should be done? Many of the Turnbull government’s initiatives go in the right direction. But other changes are vitally needed. Specifying the goals the funding arrangements ought to pursue would be a crucial start. At the heart of those goals should be ensuring that as many parents as possible can choose between good options, including public, independent and Catholic schools, on a basis not distorted by government policy.

To say that isn’t to suggest choice is a panacea: but suppressing it gives state schools monopoly power over the supply of education to disadvantaged families and to many others, weakening the incentives for quality teaching.

And thanks to that monopoly power, it is not Australian kids who benefit from the torrents of public spending – all too often, it is the teachers unions, who can grab the additional dollars for themselves in the form of more jobs, higher pay and less demanding working conditions.

The best way to undermine that market power is to make funding truly follow students. Parents and kids would then determine the allocation of funding on the basis of merit, rather than the sector’s vying for taxpayer dollars on the basis of political clout and of noisy public stoushes.

It is not surprising that one of Australia’s leading economists comes to a similar conclusion as one of the greatest economists of the twentieth century, Milton Friedman: that market forces are the greatest way to improve education with parents in control of the purchasing choice.

Herein lies the main reason that the state wants to retain control of this service:

Control.

Control for the power of unions and their conditions and control of the information your children are exposed to with the Safe Schools program being the latest in a long list of ideological disasters. This particular program, like many highly controversial programs foisted onto unsuspecting kids, was done without parental consent or even knowledge. This sort of thing will only take place, by and large, in public schools where decisions are made out of sight of parents, and there is a situation of control without consent. In a school that could close if you move your child down the road, this type of underhanded mind meddling could never take place without your approval because the power to continue rests with you, the consumer. Consumer power is one of the most powerful social forces available. If the school’s income depends on your choice, no school will lightly violate your parental wishes.

Besides the ideological issues, there is the sheer mass of administration costs and burdensome bureaucratic requirements. Almost all of this could be eliminated with the state providing a regulatory role ensuring minimum standards are met and those who teach are appropriately qualified. The market will do the rest.

It will be your school, your choice, the way you want your child educated. If you don’t want a school teaching ‘gender fluid theory’, you don’t have to have it. Don’t want to waste your child’s time with ‘social inclusivity training’? then go to a school that doesn’t teach it. Aren’t really grooving on the latest ‘sexuality education curriculum’? then give it a miss. Got a school that’s incapable of controlling bullying? then end it by removing your dollars. You can select a school that focuses on the things that really matter and are important to you and your family.

One objection to this system that will be raised is the ability of parents to make informed choices. After all, education is a complicated business and how will you know which is a good school and which is not? This type of issue will again be sorted out by the marketplace in two ways. Firstly, independent educators will provide assessments and rankings of schools the same way that professionals analyse and rank companies. The second method will be the most ancient and reliable of all, reputation. If you get a bad rep, your school is finished; get a good rep and you’ll flourish.

For some this concept will be quite new but just consider the implications of your purchasing power in everyday life. In the real world, spending patterns are an indicator of value, i.e. if we ‘value’ something we will spend our money (for which we gave up many hours of our life), on it. If we don’t attribute value to something, we don’t allocate our dollars towards it. If a cafe sells garbage coffee of gives poor service, it’s by-by, end of cafe.

Public sector schools account for only 10 percent of the best performing schools and 95 percent of the worst. Given a choice, would you continue to fund a system that continually provided such a bad service? Would you willingly buy from a company that continually produced 95 percent of all failing products in any given category?

So the next time someone offers you a great value Gonski that’s just too good to refuse, refuse. Tell them you’d rather keep your money and spend it on open market place education and you don’t need a middleman to do it.

About the Author

Stephen Cable
Stephen works as a Quantity Surveyor in Brisbane and has a bachelor’s degree in Construction Management. He has an intense interest in the ideological contest between freedom and control that dominates our social and political discourse. Stephen strongly believes in free market systems, freedom of speech and smaller government.

157 Comments on "School funding: cut out the middle man"

  1. If I have children in school now I would be sending them to a private school or home school. The public education system is a disgrace and has been for decades.

  2. we have *two* middle men – the Federal govt collects most of the revenue for the State Govts to spend on education. The obvious way to remove both is for school fees to be worth tax credits, so that private schoolling is completely removed from govt influence and the state govt only need deal with education for children whose parents do not pay tax.

  3. Public school is nothing more than a vector for Government to indoctrinate kids. It has always been that way.

  4. Nonsense statistics. LibertyWorks is trying to entrench the privilege of the wealthy. And Jesse Bell, as someone who has taught in both the public and the private systems, ALL schooling is a vector to indoctrinate kids. Can you name one, just one school that isn’t? It’s actually one of the main reasons for having schools at all.

    • The statistics are not nonsense. They were quoted by Henry Ergas in The Weekend Australian and are quite accurate. If schools are meant to teach anything (beyond the obvious basics) it is to teach children how to think, not what to think. Far from benefiting the wealthy, who are already able to send their kids to the schools they want, this method of paying for education will benefit poorer people more than anyone else.

    • Michael I don’t care where or who you have taught. If it is your premise that school is supposed to be about indoctrination I feel for your students.

    • Jesse Bell, like I said, name one, just one school that doesn’t perform that role.

    • Michael Noonan the National Cariculum forces even private schools to indoctrinate kids so yes, in a sense you are correct.

    • LibertyWorks, and not only the National Curriculum. Read the mission statements, or aims and objectives, or whatever they call it, of ANY school, private or public. They don’t, of course, use the word “indoctrinate”, but a lot of what they describe, the morality, the belief system, the world view they subscribe to and teach, is clearly indoctrination.

    • Michael I am talking about leftist political indoctrination if you want to get specific. Which for the most part is pushed hard in public schools. And school is not supposed to be about that. It is supposed to be about education i.e. teaching maths, science, english etc.
      It is supposed to be about bettering education and each generation getting smarter and think more critically. As is the case in Japan where my wife is from. And S Korea. It is about kids not politics.
      This is my beef with public education. I have made myself clear. Now return the favour. Are you in favour of indoctrinating kids? Specifically the leftist indoctrination that infests our public system. Specifically the said indoctrination that is making each successive class dumber via catering to the lowest common denominator.

    • That’s clear, then. You only object to leftist indoctrination, not to right wing indoctrination, not to religious indoctrination, not to indoctrination that devalues co-operation. You only object to indoctrination that doesn’t agree with your particular set of values.

    • Exactly which “leftist” values do you object to children being taught?

    • And on what do you base the nonsense about each successive class being dumber? Ever wonder why Australians are so highly regarded as creative, innovative workers in overseas countries? My friends who have moved to Japan to work, (not to mention various other countries), claim that the reason they are in such demand is because they are more likely to think laterally and creatively than many of the locals, because the education system does to some extent have different values. They have a reputation of being hard workers, who can be good team players. The Japanese system, for example (and I’m not knocking it)(and I’m obviously generalising), is very linear and very conservative. It produces a lot of people who do predictable things very well. Different strokes for different folks.

    • How is school choice for poorer families entrenching the privilege of the wealthy? All children still get funding but it follows the child and goes to the school of their choosing.

    • First thing is first. The dogma that started when I was in school in the 90’s. Revisionist History. Catering to the lowest common denominator to the detriment of bright students. The feminising and demonising of boys. The increased feminist dogma in class. Encouragement of affirmative action. The war on male teachers and refusal in some schools to hire them. The sexualising of children. The marginalising of parents. Just to name a few.

    • Australia continues to fall in IQ. Continues to fall in the World rankings. Last I looked the Australian graduate was dumber than the Americans ffs.
      Whereas Countries such as Japan continue steadily in said rankings. Or rise. When I graduated we were at the Year 10 level of the previous generation across the board.
      Today it is looking to have dropped another two grades. I am not attacking your profession. Being a teacher you must know your History.
      Government-run education has nothing to do with educating children and everything to do with creating drones who vote reliably. I thought it was bad before. Until I took a look at today.
      You teachers may not have much of a say in what you teach. I daresay the blame lies in higher circles.

  5. “market forces are the greatest”. I don’t think so. Look what that has done to the supply of gas in Australia, and what we are paying compared to Japan.

  6. If i had a choice i would cut the funding to private schools and also tax the religious enterprises that run them.

  7. A couple of years ago I saw a program on SBS about these things called cram rooms that exist in countries like Japan and South Korea.
    They’re schools where kids go on weekends to cram in study. They don’t go out clubbing. No wild all night parties. Just studying for their exams. A couple of weeks later I was talking to a friend of my daughter’s who is of Indian heritage and I told her about this program. And she said yes they are very popular. Even in India. She told me that there is a saying that she heard when she was travelling in Japan….study like an Asian. Compared to the Asian countries to our north we are failing on every count. Smart kids in Australia are held back by the system so the slower kids don’t feel so bad. My grandson is in grade 2 and he is doing grade 5 level maths. He reads books all the time. He receives no encouragement from his teacher. Fortunately he’s a self starter and doesn’t seem to need the attention.
    And we should get our educators to come down off their high horse and start looking around for a better way to do things.
    Give our smart kids the same attention we give our football players.
    This isn’t a funding problem. It’s an attitude issue.

  8. Is this Gonski 3.0 ? Aust Govt. gives $90 million to Phillippines ISLAMIC schools. -Saturday June 3, 2017 Daily Telegraph, page 68 “Third Front of ISIS Hate”

  9. Wow this takes the cake for nonsense. No mention of the best performing schools in the world?

  10. But it a cosy haven for Labor party members who not only are stupidly sucked into union membership but naively contribute also directly to the mongrel ALP

  11. Can’t even do math and add up percentages

    • If you’re referring to the headline of the article you’ve misread it. What it’s saying is that of all the top performing schools, 10 percent of them are government run. Of all the worst performing schools 95 percent of them are government run.

  12. Stop the private sector schools from pre-selecting and watch their figures drop.

  13. Lets be radical and INCREASE funding to education and all public sector schools, lets give children who need them teacher’s aides so they can achieve their potential and NOT disrupt classrooms because their teacher is overworked and can’t divide herself into 10 clones. Lets upgrade facilities, laboratories, libraries, technology and then lets compare how they do. Private enterprise NEVER provides good quality for the poorer members of our community. How do you expect single parents on New Start to now pay school fees in a private sector education system? Their children will get no education – is this your plan so we have a class of totally uneducated, unemployable people that the richer members of society can use as de facto slave labour?

    • Thanks for your reply. In situations such as you describe, the best way to address that situation is to introduce a funding system but the funds are attached to the child, not the school. The funding would be at a reasonable level and continue to eliminate the middleman of government meddling.

    • Stephen Cable and how would this realistically be implemented so that the funding is used for schooling? Another form of cashless welfare that will cost thousands of dollars to administer per card thereby making yet ANOTHER government buddy rich? The reason the public sector schools struggle to deliver acceptable outcomes is because they are having funding removed left right and centre. Every new ‘funding ‘ model is actually a way to REMOVE funding from the system and then when they don’t perform people say / ‘See public education doesn’t work’. They also have to take EVERY child so in a private system what about the children with behaviour problems? The anti-social ones , the ones who need intensive special education assistance ? Are these just going to be left out because private schools do NOT have to take them. If you legislate that they do then they are not private anymore. Privatisation only works for the privileged. Every time anything is privatised the cost becomes unaffordable for the majority. Also why should schools built with taxpayer funds be handed over to ANY ONE? Are the Chinese going to be allowed to buy our schools as they have our farms, transport companies, airports, homes, electricity, gas and lease our ports? In that case what are our children going to be taught ? It certainly won’t be critical thinking! This is the worst idea for education I have ever heard unless as previously stated the plan is to have two tiers, those who can afford education and those who will just have to suck up whatever is left at the bottom.

    • It would be implemented by the funding going direct to the school. The voucher system prescribed by Friedman is a good example. It means the state can fund an individuals education when needed without funding a school system. In the system we’re proposing, funding actually spent on education would most likely rise while spending on burdensome systems would fall. Your original point about a permanent underclass is a good one. It’s a good point because it is what our current system is producing right now and has been for years. As far as privatisation is concerned we are not advocating public or private. We are advocating the government getting out if the way, stop doing things badly and let marketplace education flourish. Don’t know what the Chinese have got to do with it. The tiered system you predict is here now and there will always be better off people and better off schools. Nirvana will not come just like it’s not here now. However, as the entrepreneurs of the marketplace has shown with every other industry in the world, if there’s a market for it people will find a way to fill it. There are excellent educators out there who’s passion is to help the struggling students who could do a lot under a free and unencumbered system of innovation. The utopia you’d like under government control will never be achieved, the social collapse you fear under marketplace education won’t happen but as history shows, private enterprise always supplies services better than the government.

    • Give parents vouchers and let them choose where to send their kids.

    • Nigel Withers the cashless welfare card then IS your solution. This will be administered by ANOTHER private company costing taxpayers even more money.

    • Stephen Cable tell that to those who live in States that have sold government infrastructure off to private enterprise. They are in it for THE MONEY that is how Childcare works and it is SO expensive, it is unaffordable to those who need it most. The government subsidy runs out before the end of the financial year and for 6 months some kids have no places yeah private education will work real well.

    • Instead of the federal govt giving money to state governments, it would give the money direct to parents in voucher form. They could then redeem that at a catholic, independent, Montessori or state institution. Not sure where the welfare card comes in.

    • Nigel Withers it is the same principle as the cashless welfare card and would require a private business to administer. If the welfare card fee is anything to go by government would pay between $4 and $10 thousand dollars for this system. Money which would be far better spent on the actual delivery of educational outcomes for children. Trust me it sounds great in theory but in practise in order to deliver real quality education there would have to be so much regulatory oversight it would cost far more and the children would lose out as good teachers leave because of all the paperwork required to meet government regulations. This is basically what happens in childcare and it is so expensive and over regulated!

    • Or get the state out of everywhere it’s incompetence and over-reach have been expensive, incompetent failures- can’t actually think of any that actually aren’t. What a pathetic excuse for a nation that can’t do anything without the wise guidance of bureaucrats.

    • Paul Bickford having worked in privatised Childcare trust me the only ones who truly gain are the providers, without the mandatory minimum provision of service legislated by the government , minimum ratios and minimum wage this industry would NOT provide a great service. Let’s look at countries where government services ARE great – Finland, Denmark , Norway and Sweden all have much better government services provided than we do.

    • Eh? The government just has to issue the parents of each child with a voucher. How hard is that? The voucher value should be the same for every child, regardless of how they are educated. That is true equality.

    • And if you are arguing that the government would make an expensive cock up of such a simple matter, you are really arguing for the government to get out of education altogether. Privatise all state schools, move all teachers into the private system and close down all state and federal education departments and sack all the staff. Because government is such a wasteful mess.

    • Childcare providers were veritable gulags before the state and their crony capitalist and union maaaates slithered into the sector and saved all those kiddies.

    • Nigel Withers but the education provided by private educators wouldn’t be and don’t say ‘the market will fix it’ because it won’t! If there are no minimal standards and you don’t drive – or can’t afford to get to the other side of town to the good school you send your child to the school down the street because you don’t know how bad it is until it’s too late . You come from overseas and are used to EVERY school being the same because it’s government so you don’t know that here you have to spend days checking out every school. The voucher value is irrelevant because some providers will skimp on everything for PROFIT ; in fact most will. In order to avoid that (if you care) you will have to have legislation, regulation AND people employed to inspect , asses and enforce them. Then the voucher system / do you seriously believe government – especially a government which is privatising things will simply send you a voucher ? Nope you will either spend days at Centrelink ( or on their website) completing forms -which will then be handed to a PRIVATE company at vast expense to issue you with your school credit or they will eventually credit the school where your child goes BUT I can guarantee that they will mess up and your child will be chucked out for non-payment. The system we have WORKS IF it is adequately funded. You cannot keep removing money from anything and expect it to keep working.

    • Paul Bickford do you have ANY idea how heavily regulated they are? How often they are inspected and assessed and how long the government funding for each child lasts?

    • So what you are saying is that parents have no role in ensuring minimum standards are set?

    • Yes, I have a good idea of how heavily regulated child care is. Most of the family day care providers in my area were forced out of the industry by over regulation. Thank you for arguing that regulation should be reduced.

    • Which is why they’re so expensive, and the funding will last as long as those reptiles think there’s a vote in it, and what the operators can hose the government for.
      By your own admission its the entry of the state into the market that’s exponentially increased costs and oversight. Like everything the cretins interfere with. I’d love to be a bookie with punters who pick winners like these window-lickers.

    • Nigel Withers parents often neither know nor care what minimum standards are or should be and why should a child who may be living in a dysfunctional environment, or first generation immigrant home be penalised ? They are not responsible for their parents or their education ( from the perspective that they do not know what is appropriate education). You are assuming that EVERY parent knows and cares enough to be proactive in their child’s education , that’s simply not true. Many parents, even educated parents are not confident to question teachers about their child’s education. Even in childcare where you would expect parents to be active advocates many are not confident to question educators about the standards and the experiences provided. Have you ever worked in the industry?

    • So all must be punished because of the actions of 5-10% of the population? Or less?

    • Paul Bickford without the regulations many providers would cut staff ratios and provisions and desperate parents would still pay. The subsidy model provided by Childcare will never improve educational outcomes it will simply increase education costs to parents and children will end up not being educated. Privatising education is NOT the way to achieve better outcomes; all it will do is make some sections of the community much richer at the expense of our children.

    • Nigel Withers no let’s look at Finland where education is FREE , provided by government ( no private schools allowed) and the best in the world .

    • How about those rug monkeys get rescued from their mistreatment and neglect, and sent to a private school to be educated and taught values, funded by charitable organisations. Oops, forget I said that.

    • Paul Bickford well as this page wants every school privatised they would in theory be there already.

    • The problem with state schools, and the bureaucrats who oversee them, is that they see the very small number of expensive private schools as something to aim for. They want to be funded like them. What they should be doing is looking at the catholic and small independent schools and trying to work out how to provide a good education as efficiently and cost effectively as they are. In other words, the state system should be trying to deliver education with less money, not more.

    • Nigel Withers yes you can deliver good education without spending a fortune BUT privatising them is NOT how to do it.

    • Which would be an ideal outcome, if indeed we have to fund education.

    • Paul Bickford the country in the world with the best educational outcomes has NO private education at all and it is free right up to Tertiary. Done right education is best funded by government.

    • Janet Hogan, your comments are interesting and almost all of the problems you predict are already happening big time in public education now. By pointing out the problems you are indirectly indicting the current system. In the issue of Finland, it’s not free. They pay for it with tax. There’s no such thing as a free lunch. On another point, your interest and understanding of education is a great example of the type of services that would be started in a free market situation without government distortion. For example, your ability to analyse a schools performance and track record would be an invaluable service to many parent not skilled or inclined to research themselves. Similar to Moody’s business rating service.

    • Stephen Cable yes but the point with Finland is no one pays upfront for ‘more’. They have a workable and fair government run system. They do not have private enterprise system- education is seen as both a social responsibility AND a social investment for a better more equitable society. Our philosophy actually encourages inequality in the system and penalises those who are, for any reason, less fortunate .

    • And chalkies get US$29k a year and have to pass a real masters degree to get a gig. I could just see the education union going along with that.

    • Paul Bickford teachers are THE most valuable asset a country has – without them there would be no other profession other than farming and prostitution. Their teaching forms the basis of everything we currently enjoy. Until we respect what they do our education is doomed to fail.

    • That’s what the Finns pay, for the required qualifications. You’d put your hand up for it?

    • Paul Bickford yes I would rather pay for free education INCLUDING university than politicians perks and pensions!

  14. Yes that is why they are called Public sector schools and Stop the private sector schools

  15. Exactly why my son does not go to public school. A publicly funded babysitting service where they learn bad behaviour.

  16. Nothing at all to do with taxpayers’ funding private schools.

  17. Well we keep funding politicians, give money supposedly for relief to countries worldwide, waste funds by being part of the UN, and pay exorbitant amounts annually to our indigenous population, so why not waste it here as well.

  18. There’s a very good reason for this bit of statistical rubbish and public school bashing. The private sector schools can pick and choose who they enrol, so of course they appear to be performing better. They are very efficient at weeding the garden. If kids aren’t doing well or are misbehaving, they don’t try to help them, they just send them down the road to the underfunded, overpopulated public schools. If they were forced to take all comers, like public schools are, the statistics would be vastly different. Public schools were created so that every child, regardless of family background or financial capacity, could get an education. Prior to that it was only for rich kids. Seems like we have gone backwards 160 years with the way private schools get a bigger slice of the public funding cake than the public schools who actually need it.

    • Why should they help those who misbehave? They’re one of the major problems in schools.

    • Tracy Anne what if it was your child misbehaving? What then? Permanently exclude them from school? Condemn them to limited options in life for want of a bit of professional help and encouragement? Your comment is the epitome of the elitist system that discriminates against the less fortunate or disadvantaged families that cannot afford to send their kids to a private school. Doesn’t every child equally deserve the best education possible? That is why schools need to be funded in terms of student need not how many tennis courts, swimming pools and music rooms they want.

    • Peter Ongley, under a parental control situation as we describe here, ever parent would have more choice in which school to send their children because there would be multiple institutions competing for the dollars that come with each child. Whether this is from them spending their taxes that are no longer taken from them or via a voucher system for poorer people. Either way, the school must perform or parents will go elsewhere.

    • Jaryd Cullen, all schools are paid for by the money of the population. We advocate the government funding none of them while simultaneously reducing taxation so people can choose their education options without the middleman. There would be no ‘forking out’ as the government (and your taxes) would be out of the picture.

    • The exception would be a voucher system for those who are truly unable to pay themselves even in a much lower taxing environment

  19. Really ? the public schools aren’t forced to do anything , they are run by our government which sets the agenda which chooses what is ethically and politically correct . Many parents who can ill afford the expense send their children to private schools because they know the default option for parents that don’t care is the the public system. If you closed the private schools tomorrow the public system would collapse because it could not afford the infrastructure by sheer weight of numbers.

  20. Megan Kulczycki Ryan Foley

  21. Public schools have to take everyone. Many have pupils with no English, feral parents who bash teachers, then there’s the Marxist teachers pushing all sorts of strange ideas and scaring the kids with tall tales of Climate Change etc; Tracy is right, we need a Royal Commission or some sort of inquiry

  22. Don’t be fooled. It’s the states way of washing their hands of education. Deliberately dumbing them down and causing disruptive classrooms to get those who can out and those who can’t have to stay. Two tiered system. It’s not good. Bring on an inquiry!

  23. Rather than cut funding to public schools why not get rid of the people who control them and put some people who have our children’s education at the fore of their principles and stop the globalist brainwashing our kids are subjected to

  24. This is classical neoliberal doctrine: underfund the public system; when it fails to perform adequately, point out the fact that it is failing, then use that as an excuse to sell it off to the highest (low) bidder. This is exactly the sort of tripe that the ideologues peddle to fools who think that an equitable, egalitarian society based on *true* merit – as opposed to inherited wealth & advantage – can be realised by encouraging the basest of human instincts: selfishness and greed.

    Wake up folks: Keynes was right; Hayek was wrong and the *only* reason that the neoliberal ideology has risen to such heights is that the Boomer generation is the most psychopathic in Western history.

  25. Whoever wrote the article is a FKN halfwitt.
    “Here are some of the things the government doesn’t use your money to purchase on your behalf and then force you to use:

    Food
    Clothing
    Housing (unless you’re in extreme poverty)
    Entertainment
    Tertiary education
    Dating services
    Travel
    Taxis
    Beauty and grooming products
    Books
    Financial planning
    Lending
    Electronic products
    Kitchen appliances
    Camping equipment
    Phones

  26. Given a choice, I’d scrap public funding for private schools. That seems like a reasonable way to start closing that gap.

    • Drag success down to failure…. Why would you want kids to have a worse education?

    • It depends on how you define success. I’m not surprised that they get better year 12 results, given the advantages that they have. My experience at uni suggests that private schools spoonfeed their students to get better year 12 results, but that spoonfeeding doesn’t help them at uni.

      Regardless of results, I’m against governments funding private industry. I thought this was meant to be a libertarian page? I thought you’d be against that too?

    • Shane Hatch if you scrapped funding for just private schools then families who just manage to scrape the fees together, would be priced out it altogether. We propose scrapping funding for all schools and giving parents choice in the form of school vouchers.

    • Pricing people out of elite schools isn’t exactly something that keeps me awake at night. I’m sure our opinions differ on all sorts of things though, so this doesn’t surprise me.

  27. Perhaps the lackluster results are due to the money being spent on useless programs (safe schools) that seek to indoctrinate rather than learning programs designed to focus on the child’s ability.

    • Yeeees, because a swag of volunteer chaplains in no way smacks of religious indoctrination and utter uselessness. Meanwhile, the SafeSchools program aims to reduce sexuality-based bullying, but, then, people like you, Marty, probably think that bullying is good because it toughens kids up, preparing them for the working world.

    • I don’t support chaplains either… where’d you get that from?
      What safe schools claims to be aimed toward and the application of the program are different things entirely.
      I don’t think bullying is good for anything so take your groundless assumptions and stick them where the sun doesn’t shine buddy…
      Perhaps you could learn the proper use of commas for your next pile of drivel…

  28. Of course there’s also the deliberate ‘dumbing down’ of the public system in order to more easily manipulate future generations… but that a whole different conspiracy theory…

  29. All schools should get same Sean O’Connor that’s would be great

    • No, schools that need more should get more.

    • Clem Stanyon all children should get the same, their parents can then choose the best school for them. Sounds good?

    • That’s so right Clem Stanyon

    • LibertyWorks – nope; you’ve clearly not received an adequate education yourself: repeat after me – to those as needs from those as have. It’s a very simple principle: those who need little to succeed, get the little they need; meanwhile, those born to disadvantage get more, to make up for the lack that they had no part in choosing.

      I am quite sure you believe that everyone should rise or fall on their own merit, which is a fine sentiment, just misplaced in this instance. What you and other neoliberals utterly and completely fail to understand is the nature of privilege. You clearly have it, which explains your utter obliviousness to your advantage, as you repeat the same mantra that to *you* is self-evident, but is in fact only indicative of your privilege; even if you think you pulled yourself up by your bootstraps, the reality is that there are a great many people far less fortunate than you are.

      The goal of education should not be to provide equal *money* to all, but to ensure equal *opportunity* to all. This means that, when a student graduates, they have had all the assistance they need find and to make the most of their talents. Some will need more assistance, some less, and that is the crux of the matter when it comes to needs-based funding of schools: more disadvantaged students means more funds for additional teachers and teachers’ aides. This balances the scales that were set *before* the children were born, by their parental and social circumstances.

      The consequence of failing to provide additional assistance to schools that cater for disproportionate numbers of disadvantaged children is that those children grow up to perpetuate their own unfortunate circumstances – not all of them, for sure, but too many to ignore. Of course, you care far more about your own ‘liberty’ than you do about anyone else’s misfortune and can’t even begin to understand why you should have to pay for their equality of opportunity. Well, buddy, if it were not for that, you would be working in a sweat shop, as ignorant as a pig in muck of how limited are your horizons, and that would be that for you and your descendants, forevermore. Why? Because someone else *paid* for you and yours to be educated in the first instance, which is why you can read and write.

    • What a lot of bull you no nothing about what I do what I’m about for your information I have a daughter with a disability and I went to school with her for four years I work in a school for eight years so maybe I don’t know all but still think schools should get same and as for carers they not always use the right way and money get used for other things Clem Stanyon

    • Clem Stanyon I’m sorry, but you’re describing socialism which drags everyone down, as is beginning to happen in education. We like liberty which raises everyone up. So you’re on the wrong page and probably in the wrong country… try Venezuela or North Korea. Fortunately for the people, most of the other options have disappeared…

    • To me and I can have a say I still think some schools have to much others not enough so needs to be more even they sure know how to charge to for every little thing greed has come into every thing these day I don’t care if you bright and want to learn you will at what ever school you go to and if good teachers you will go far if bad you remember them for rest of life you can say what you like about me but still think schools should all be same then no problem

    • And that’s all I have to say thanks for your input

  30. No, throw the poor onto the street where they can fight for the scraps. It is the IPA and LNP way.

  31. It used not to be something like that debatable way. When this codger went to school public schools did way better. No mystery why. They were way better funded in comparison.

  32. Vouchers would solve the problem.

    • Yes, because that works SO well in the US. Good try. Do not pass Go, do not collect 200 AUD

    • Clem, why the sad face? Bad day at work? I’ve heard vouchers are working quite well in the US because they have to chase students and CONVINCE them to study at THEIr school. Let’s forget it then, lets just keep accepting the poor educational outcomes from the public school system that condemn so many to poverty forever. At least the social workers and prison guards with have the work they need.

  33. You mean America’s schools that are chronically underfunded. You certainly cannot compare that to Australia’s public system.

  34. given that so called “private or independent” schools get 88% government funding – your question is total crap !

  35. Lets just fund all schools equaly on a per child basis and stop favouritism for the wealthy!

  36. Has anyone been charged for the missing 250 million from inface system. The politicians are a joke our education system is corrupt pity the children

  37. Homeschooling rocks. Just sayin’

    • Ok….maybe that’s not helpful. What I’d do is stop student teachers learning at university. They would apply to the school for a job as a student teacher and work while they do DE. The savings from them being at school and instead of at uni could fund their small wage for an increasing amount of days per week working in a classroom. This way teachers get assistance in their classroom and student teachers learn best – on the job. Full time uni for teaching degrees is a mistake.

    • Julie Lawson a very good suggestion Julie, great comment.

    • Thanks Michael. I’d do the same for paramedics and nurses. No full-time university. Learn on the job. Much better outcomes for patients. 🙂

  38. More tax dollars go to private schools.. So of course they are going to be better. Also private schools kick out all the damaged children which public cannot do.

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