Friday, May 5th, 2006...1:35 pm

Rage piled upon fury

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In today’s Australian- “PARENTS who sacrifice their lifestyles to send their children to private schools should be thanked and supported with tax incentives and childcare support, says Labor Party national president Warren Mundine.”





  • What are they being thanked for? Keeping their children away from poor kids? Withdrawing their fees from the public school system?
    With a Labor party like this one, who needs the Liberals?

  • This makes me so very very cross. Not just the bad use of language, but the pitiful world view behind it.
    I knew Mundine was a right winger but didn’t know he was this right wing. Is it not ALP Party Platform to speak up for state schools? He wouldn’t have been popularly elected had folks known about this little time bomb.

  • Yeah, I know. By all means educate your child privately, but don’t expect me to think you’re a great person for that reason.
    And as you pointed out at polemica, Naomi, parents of private school kids don’t “pay twice”

  • How do you tell the parents who make sacrifices from the parents who have enough money to pay private school fees?

  • Steady, tiger. Why are you condemning parents who are spending their discretionary income on the education of their children?
    Would you rather they spent it on luxury holidays? Or pet iguanas? This is a real, practical decision that hundreds of thousands of parents are making. I for one think that they’ve made a wise choice and should be congratulated for it.
    As to the right policy on school funding, I don’t have any problem with the state funding private schools. So long as the schools have to make a commitment in return for the funding – ie, to provide fee-free scholarship places for bright-but-poor students, or to pass on the saving through government funding direct to the parent.
    The policy you seem to be pushing for resembles a cliche involving babies and bathwater that I can’t quite recall.

  • Ari, I just can’t agree with you, and I’m with Zoe, only furiouser. So furiouser I can’t see straight.
    We had independent schools in the last (state) election saying they just wanted ‘equality’ in funding. And a few weeks later, one (and I think perhaps two) are at the Equal Opportunity Commission asking for exemptions so that they can get the balance they want in their school.
    Where you see babies and bathwater, I see cakes and eating it too (at least I would see it if I weren’t so furious that I can’t see).

  • I would have though that sending one’s kids to private schools was in fact a part of one’s so-called lifestyle.
    And I would have thought that calling oneself ‘independent’ and then asking for money was a contradiction in terms.

  • Private education is a lifestyle choice. Some people I know see it as a good start for their kids. Why? Because the believe that tertiary institutes and employers believe that the sun shines out of the PrivEd (Private or Privileged Education, your choice…) sector. Speaking to a variety of sources, it would appear that:
    a) Tertiary institutes (of course) have no preference for either system, but there has been difficulties noticed for some PrivEd in study habits that are disproportionate to their numbers.
    b) Some employers do tend to favour PrivEd, but normally only for the school that they may have attended.
    Note that this information is not from published sources; rather, it is from conversations I have had with people in the areas mentioned.

  • Ari, I am by no means condemning parents who chose to educate their kids privately, I just don’t think it should be compulsory to blow smoke up their arses as a consequence.
    I don’t have a problem with people having luxury holidays or exotic pets either – like private education, they’re all consumer goods.
    I don’t think that the “choice” to educate privately (as it’s framed by Julie Bishop, etc) is the most important question facing education now. I think the most important question is equity of access to a good education for kids who don’t have a choice except to attend state schools which are inadequately resourced.

  • What you said, Zoe. Again.

  • Clear Thinking Exam
    Part 1: Metaphor
    ‘Sacrifice’ is what you do when you kill a sheep to please and appease the gods.
    What, in this case, is the animal? And who are the gods?
    (Write on one side of the paper only. No talking.)

  • What Zoe said, exactly, times 10 and with a cherry on top.
    Parents do make sacrifices for their children’s education — when I was growing up, my Mum sacrificed buying herself any new clothes for the good part of five years to buy my brothers’ and I new school shoes every year. So don’t talk to me about sacrifice. (And then we still had to walk a mile in the snow to get to school!)
    We also went, at times, to private schools — usually small Catholic schools in country towns. This was a choice my parents made, and they paid the additional fees. I have no issue with parents wanting to do so.
    But to say that they deserved tax breaks for doing so is, frankly, ridiculous.
    What did deserve public funding and ‘thanks’ were the rotten public schools in these towns. If they’d been resourced properly then my parents wouldn’t have had to send us to the private school in the first place.

  • Well aren’t things looking good for 2007 – ALP party prez veers uncontrollably off party line on incredibly touchy subject on which ALP had previously shot itself in the foot (which it simultaneously had in its mouth, by the way).
    ‘Sacrifice’ is what you do when you kill a sheep to please and appease the gods.
    What, in this case, is the animal? And who are the gods?

    Ok, I’ll have a go.
    Let’s say the ‘animal’ is a society in which quality education is available to all citizens on an equal basis.
    In sending their sprogs to private schools and devaluing public education, PrivEd parents are sacrificing that ‘animal’ for the sake of appeasing their own anxieties and prejudices regarding social status (both their’s and their children’s).
    Therefore, in this scenario, that which is being ‘appeased’ is the nagging and gnawing anxiety within oneself brought about the self-defeating notion that acquisition and consumption will bring happiness.
    Or, if you want the short version, sacrificing society for the appeasement of oneself.

  • Sorry, let me make it clear that the some of the small country towns I grew up in had terrible public schools because of poor funding, lack of decent teachers, and community disinterest. So my parents sent me to the local Catholic primary schools. These small local private schools are, I think, a different thing entirely to your classic private school, ie, Scotts of Kings or PLC.
    That said, I don’t think my family deserved any kudos for selfishly sending me to the ‘better’ school.
    However, when we moved, I also attended wonderful public schools that were supported by the community and had wonderful teachers.
    What bothers me is the idea that we should applaud people sending their kids to schools like Scotts or Riverview. These are bastions of privilege and people send their children there not because they can’t get a decent education elsewhere — as happened to me when we lived in Cunnamulla, for instance, where the public primary school was a mess and the only alternative was the Sacred Heart primary school — but because they want to cash in on that privilege.
    I hope that makes more sense.

  • “Well, I have made great lifestyle sacrifices to send my kids to a hair stylist every second week instead of cutting it myself. Their hair stylist visits should therefore be subsidised by the government.”
    Er, no: get fucked.

  • Zoe, As someone who left the Party only six weeks ago because of despair, you’re voicing what I think.
    Labor are so fucked up they need some serious surgery.
    But some of us true believers have so many scars on our foreheads from brick walls, we cannot keep going.
    - MFA

  • Yep, Aurelius, the two best policies – schools funding and medicare gold – gone down the gurgler.
    And yes, before anyone asks, I think they were excellent policies whose advantages were not articulated persuasively – or else were just not valued by Teh Punters.

  • when I see the words sacrifice and school, I reach for my copy of lord of the flies.

  • I send my kids to a private school, I’m a student and do a lot of voluntary work and it is a pretty significant sacrifice for me in my family budget.
    But kids’ education provides a chance of having greater opportunity and *possibly* safer/happier school years.
    It isn’t always a ‘lifestyle choice,’ for some there is actually NO choice, while not all kids have a disability, there are plenty with learning defeiciencies etc which could be better catered for at particular schools I know we’ve tried all from the spectrum.
    I’d love a reward from the gov for my hard work, and in two months they take away austudy for single mums and disabled people, they are also reducing our pay by at least $300 per month. So who’s the reward for – I don’t think it’s for sole parents regardless of how hard they work their tuccasses off.
    Basically it’s really not a reward for that, it’s really just more social engineering to create more British type class structures because we’ve strayed too far from colonialism for the right wingers.
    With tertiary fees escalating and education standards deteriorating the gov will have a ready made workforce full of factory fodder for the free trade agreements. If you think labor is any different, Beazley is NOT going to remove IR legislation if he gets in he has said it openly, check out Tony’s post on teh Pigs are flying.

  • I’m certainly not sending my children to a public school – with all those poor brown children running around, my little blonde Aryan girls might catch something.

  • ab,
    Surely a govt. reward for you should be based on your voluntary work rather than on where you send your kids, yes?

  • Unfortunately, this debate lacks conceptually clarity. The debate should be about children’s rights rather than parents’ rights.
    Some children, regardless of cause, have access to vast amounts of resources. Most children, regardless of whether they are in state or private schools (mainly catholic) are deprived of resources in the sense that they receive less than the average.
    The ALP polcy was the right one if viewed from a children’s right perspective.
    Jenny Macklin may be a good developer of policy, but she is a hopeless communicator.
    Last night Keating showed how to communicate politically.

  • Harry, sadly not ;}}I think under the new budget Costello has promised to repay single parents who do charity work hour for hour on the rack.(might work out well I have a bit of a bad back…)
    I know the wording of the Mundine’s idea gave Z the woopsies, but 1 good thing that could come out of the move would be taking some of the load off an over burdened public education system.It could be a real aid to the gov schools.
    My kids did attend a catholic school previously however which had such large classes that, even half way through gr 2, they hadn’t noticed my daughter didn’t know her abc :{{

  • Nah, ab, it wasn’t just the wording – although I maintain if you want the warm fuzzies of having “sacrificed” it should actually be a sacrifice – it was that I think there is a more significant problem than how tough parents who educate privately have it, namely how tough kids at poor schools with no bloody choice have it.
    I don’t want to relieve the load on the public school system, I want it resourced adequately with happy and well trained staff.

  • I didn’t know you did comedy as well Zoe?!

  • Sorry btw, my kids went to a public school for a while and the resources were pretty comparable(better in fact) to those in fee paying private schools. But maybe things are different over this side of the continent, the public schools are really pretty competitive over here, offer a great range of subjects too.

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