Garrett in the news again

THE launch of the Gillard government's revamped My School website could be delayed for months after Schools Minister Peter Garrett was forced to concede that financial data for some private schools contained serious errors. The much anticipated new version of the website, which was due to go live today, will not be launched until next year, Mr Garrett has confirmed. Simply amazing that he is still a minister of the crown. more...


  • Kev
    The only part of the report that you linked to that is credible is this –
    “But the public education advocacy group Save our Schools said the delay exposed the ”hypocrisy and double standards of the federal government”. It said the government had caved in to the private schools lobby while ignoring concerns raised by government schools when the first version of the website was launched.”
    Incidentally, there is no such thing in this country as a “private school”.
    Between 40% and 60% of their income is sourced from the taxpayer. They should be called “subsidised schools”.

  • Kev,
    I can only agree with 1735099. Education in this country is linked to postcodes. You only need to examine NAPLAN data, post codes and mean income to discover that wealthy suburbs have top performing schools.

    I also note that private schools that offer scholarships
    only offer them to the academically, sporting or musically gifted. They don’t offer them to the children with behaviour problems or disabilities.

    It’s time we were honest about the funding of education in this counrty I can only wonder why the private sector does not want their finances released. What have they got to hide?


    • I do volunteer work at Nudgee College specifically with disadvantaged indigenous kids, fatherless white boys and disabled of any race. These boys and others feed the local homeless breakfast at least once a week and participate in several other socially aware programmes. I also deal with them as a Board member of Street Swags where they voluntarily roll the swags and help in the logistic distribution to all states.

      At one stage Nudgee was sending emissaries down to Logan and identifying homeless trouble street kids, taking them back to Nudgee and giving them an education.

      I once caught a cab to Nudgee and the cabbie made the mistake of saying;

      “When I think Nudgee I think privilege” to which I replied in firm ex infantryman’s voice
      “When I thin Nudgee I think two f*****g jobs to pay for that privilege”

      Silence born in prejudice followed.

      The schools are OK with finances being released, it’s just that the figures on the site were inaccurate, didn’t reflect the true situation and that is why Garrett had to defer the website. If they weren’t wrong Garrett would have opened the website straight away in the hope that it did embarrass the private schools but he knew he would be caught out using bullshit.

      Keep in mind that the ALP have a natural ideological set against private school education and all their decisions about education must be considered in this light.

  • Kev
    My point is a very simple one about accountability. It’s derived from eight years’ experience as a principal in a city crawling with “elite” schools.
    Many of these schools simply refused to take enrolments of kids with even the mildest form of disability even when the parents were able to pay the fees plus any extra as a result of special programmed required to address the special needs. These parents would be forced enrol these kids at state schools, and sometimes, if the disability was severe, at my school. When this happened, I would have no choice but to listen to how they (and by inference their children) had been treated – usually shabbily.
    The only time I had anything to do with these “private” school principals was at ACE (Australian College of Education) dinner meetings. Chatting over dinner, I always made a point of asking how many kids with disabilities were enrolled in their school, and the answer was usually none. When asked the “why?” question, the response (usually accompanied by an attempt to change the subject) was often “We don’t cater for them.” The incidence rate of minor disabilities in the population is 5%, so to have none enrolled indicates something haywire.
    If I was insistent enough to follow that question up with “Why don’t you cater?” I was ignored. There were (and are) a handful of schools – usually Catholic schools – that have inclusive practices in this town.
    My simple point is, that given 40% to 60% of the funding for these schools comes from the Australian taxpayer, they have a level of accountability to accept enrolments from parents of kids with disabilities who can afford the fees, or at least to have a hard look at a school culture that prevents this. Isn’t “choice” a major pillar of Coalition education policy?
    Recently, parents have begun to challenge these exclusive practices through the HREEOC. When they do, they usually win, but most aren’t prepared to expose their kids to the resulting opprobrium, so they often refuse to press the issue.
    I’m aware of Nudgee’s approach, as I’ve been recently involved in the transition of a bush kid with disabilities to this excellent school as a boarder. It’s an exception that proves the rule.
    It’s unfortnate that a few other “subsidised” schools don’t share Nudgee’s ethos.

  • Kev,
    I attended Nudgee and I am aware of their ethos. That is not shared by many private schools, including elite Catholic schools.

    As a state school principal I am very aware of the impacts of poverty.

    We cannot advance this country if we deny children funding for their education. We should not punish children because they are born into poverty.


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