The Guardian November 15, 2000


Protest now against new private school handouts

"Public schools are places where children grow and learn with the people 
they will have to live and work with as adults. For 150 years these schools 
have provided the basis of the free, tolerant, diverse and dynamic society 
in which we live. Dr Kemp has publicly stated that he will use public money 
to drive students out of public education", said Bev Baker, President of 
the Federation of Parents and Citizens' Associations (P&Cs) of New South 
Wales.

"His States' Grants legislation will deliver only $4,000 (really only 
inflation) to government schools, $60,000 to Catholic and equivalent 
schools and around $900,000 to elite private schools.

"But most importantly the legislation will, if carried, deliver a funding 
system deliberately designed to residualise public schools, interfere with 
their ability to meet the needs of all children, end equitable provision 
and cause untold harm to the safety, stability and prosperity of this 
nation", said Ms Baker.

Widely known and highly regarded for her non-stop struggle on behalf of 
quality public education, Ms Baker points out that the new system of 
funding based on socio-economic status (SES) being pushed by the Howard 
Government is intended to fragment communities and create an education 
system divided by race, class and religion.

Parents are being encouraged to apply for enrolment at non-government 
schools, many of which are non-secular and do not reflect or encourage 
multiculturalism.

Private schools do not offer the same guarantees of universal access, just 
and equitable discipline and expulsion policies, parent participation or 
public accountability that are required of state schools.

Ms Baker in her capacity as President of the P&C in NSW believes that the 
600,000 parents of students in NSW government schools will be "horrified 
and offended" to learn that the Labor Party intends to vote for the SES 
schools funding model.

Labor has put forward amendments to the legislation, at the same time as 
letting it be known that it will not use its vote, along with the Democrats 
and Greens, to block the legislation.

Ms Baker encourages parents to write to their local Member of Parliament 
and the Senators in their State to express their opposition to the States 
Grant Bill and to seek a full and open inquiry into responsible methods of 
funding education.

Back to index page