Education is everything.
It can send a kid into space, a child into medicine, teaching, carpentry, trade. It can and does alleviate poverty. It can be the single greatest influence in anyone’s life. The brightest spark in a powder keg that just needs ignition. So if we agree on that, what of public and private or independent schools?
1. Private schools didn’t receive ongoing federal funding until the 1970s
Well, what do you know. Funding began first in 1970 to help the struggling Catholic education system but grew from there as choice in education became a greater mantra for families who wanted religious or private education. Also, the Government recognised we kind of needed the independent and private schools to take the load off the system because of…
2. The Goulburn Catholic schools strike in 1962
Oh what a hot mess this was. Here’s the short story: the a local Catholic school in Goulburn had a toilet block that was condemned as unfit for the number of students studying there, but not enough money to fix it. Requests for state aid (Government funding) to help out were repeatedly denied. So all the schools in the diocese shut up shop for a week and 1900 kids attempted to enroll in a strained public system. You can guess how that went!
3. During the Howard Government, funding to private schools increased dramatically
A Productivity Commission report found the Howard Government spent $1,051 per public school student compared to $4,515 per private school student. That’s a third of the funding for two thirds of the students in the public sector, according to the Australian Education Union. Now, bear in mind state schools get their own funding (most of it) at a state level. Some is directed at a state level to independents (usually for capital projects in the form of one off grants). Privates get most of their cash from the Feds.
4. BUT, in terms of total state and Federal funding…