Sunday, March 18, 2007

Read this. Weep for our shcools

Kevin Rudd will today junk that part of federal Labor policy that favours spending on government over private schools.

His new policy, to be unveiled in Adelaide, will provide Commonwealth funding to all schools on the same basis, regardless of whether those schools are public or private.

An advisor told The Canberra Times last night that the policy would “remove the bias in favour of public education”.

In announcing the historic shift the Labor leader will say that where parents decide to send their children to school “is entirely a matter for them. It is their choice”.

“A Rudd Labor government will be concerned about the quality of education rather than engaging in a government versus non-government schools debate. That is behind us,” his speaking notes say.

One-third of all students now attend non-government schools. In the ACT more than 40 per cent of students attend non-government schools...

Mr Rudd will repudiate previous approach of creating a so-called “hit list” of non-government schools that would have funding cut.

“Labor will not cut funding to any government or non-government schools. We are about supporting schools rather than taking money away from them,” he will say.

In the last election Labor’s leader Mark Latham put 67 of Australia’s richest private schools on a hit list and announced that he would their cut their funding by a total of half a billion dollars over five years.

He promised to shift their grants to 2,500 more needy Catholic and other non-Government schools.

He said schools with vast playing fields, museums, rifle ranges and boatsheds were getting money that poor were being denied.

The new Labor Leader Kevin Rudd will not spell out today exactly how he will allocate Commonwealth schools funding, saying only that funding for all schools will be on the basis of “need and fairness”. The type of school will no longer be relevant.

The Labor leader’s policy is an implicit endorsement of the Howard Government’s approach which has increased the flow of Commonwealth funds to private schools and decreased the flow to state government schools as parents have moved their children out of government schools.