An article in The Age yesterday confirmed yet again that the government school sector is receiving a smaller portion of government funding than its non-government counterpart. It absolutely beggars belief that this is still the case in contemporary Australia.
It is important to note first of all that the funding that private schools receive from the government is on top of the ludicrous fees that families have to pay to send their students to them. Even without parent contributions, the gap is already staggeringly big between the government and non-government sectors in terms of funding. In real terms, private schools receive almost 50% more per student from the government alone. Combined with private funding, which often matches the level of government funding, it is not wonder that our state school students are left behind.
Without doubt, this is a senseless way to fund our schools. Blind Freddy could quite easily tell you that this is contributing to inequality and helping to limit social mobility in Australia. In giving private schools a clear advantage, successive Australian governments had set a bad precedent for young Australians: that your talents are secondary to your finances.
This is an extremely concerning notion. Rather than supporting talent and encouraging students to flourish, the government has instead directed its funding towards the élite. This way, it is not students with a real capacity to learn, with creativity, determination and an aspirational attitude, that receive the best education; rather, it is those students whose parents have many 0s on their back balances that receive it. Not only does this completely fly in the face of the Australian way of the fair go, but perhaps more worryingly, this condemns Australia to a second rate future, where the most highly educated aren't necessarily the most intelligent.
Education ought to be a chance to aspire and a chance to depart from inter-generational poverty. With the current funding arrangements, the opportunity to do so is severely limited. A child's opportunity to succeed should not be based on their parents' hip-pocket, rather their determination, their creativity and their talents.