Thursday, 16 January 2020

That doesn’t sound very Christian to me!

Christian school in the US has reportedly kicked out a pupil after she celebrated her birthday with a rainbowcake while wearing a rainbow jumper.  

Whitefield Academy in Louisville, Kentucky expelled the girl in an email over a picture “which demonstrates a posture of morality and cultural acceptance” counter to their beliefs, her mother told local media.

Private school big spend continues

The arms race in opulence and ostentation between elite private schools is out of control as revealed by a new ABC investigation. Australia’s four richest schools spent more on new facilities than the poorest 1,800 schools combined between 2013 and 2017. Elite private schools spend millions and millions in competing over lavish facilities. This competition is fuelled by big increases in government funding.

The luxurious facilities of elite private schools are in a league of their own – ultra modern science centres, libraries, auditoriums, theatres with orchestra pits, multiple sporting ovals, indoor Olympic size swimming and diving pools, gymnasiums, tennis courts, wellness centres, equestrian centres, rowing tanks and boat sheds and underground car parks.

What public school can afford a $29m new library designed to resemble a Scottish baronial castle with castellations, a tower, a turret and grand bay windows as planned for Scots College in Sydney or the $47m performing arts centre just opened by Knox Grammar? What public school can afford the two country lodges, a seafront school camp and other extensive luxurious facilities of Scotch College in Melbourne or to establish a campus in China to provide a special program for its Year 9 students as does Caulfield Grammar?

The My School website shows that Scots College outlaid $45.7m in capital expenditure in the last three years, Knox Grammar outlaid $64.6m, Scotch College $60.4m and Caulfield Grammar $87.7m.

No public school can compete with such spending sprees. There is a great divide in facilities between elite schools (and even second- and third-tier private schools) and public schools. At best, capital expenditure on public schools is confined to a base standard of facilities. For many it is not even that and they struggle with dilapidated buildings and playgrounds built 50 or more years ago. Many public schools have to cope with stifling classroom heat in summer without air conditioning, worn-out carpets, run-down toilets, leaking roofs, damaged paintwork and rusting metalwork.

The lavish facilities of elite private schools are not about school outcomes. They serve as status markers in marketing strategies to attract enrolments from rich families. It is a fierce competition in which no elite school can afford to fall behind. In this, they are heavily supported by government funding.

The most recent funding figures available show that government funding increases have massively favoured private schoolssince 2009. While private schools are formally prohibited from using government recurrent funding for capital purposes, it fuels the rivalry because money is fungible. The big increases allow private schools to reduce the proportion of income from fees and donations devoted to staffing and other recurrent costs and direct more of it to the arms race.

Many openly admit to this. The Herald-Sun reported in 2018 that one in five Victorian independent private schools admit to using government funding to free up private income for capital works. The chief executive of Independent Schools Victoria said this “is entirely unremarkable”.

Government overfunding frees up millions in fees and donations from wealthy families to install more and more opulent facilities. Many elite private schools around Australia have been massively over-funded by governments for 20 years or more. For example, data released under FOI show that several Sydney private schools were over-funded by millions in 2018, including Loreto Kirribilli ($5.8m), Monte Sant’ Angelo Mercy ($5.6m), St. Augustine’s ($4.7m), Barker College ($2.9m) and Sydney Grammar ($1.3m). Many in other states are similarly over-funded.

A key problem is that there is no standard to ensure all children are educated in appropriate facilities. A national standard for recurrent resourcing of schools called the Schooling Resource Standard was introduced following the Gonski report in 2011. The report also recommended the development of a national standard for school infrastructure for both public and private schools, but it was rejected by the Gillard government.

Private schools get recurrent and capital funding from the commonwealth, but public schools only get recurrent funding. The Gonski report recommended that the capital grants program for private schools be extended to public schools. It said the commonwealth should provide equivalent capital funding for public schools as for private schools with adjustment for the larger enrolment share of public schools. It said that public schools need additional funding to bring their infrastructure up to a quality that enables them to effectively compete with private schools. This was also rejected by the Gillard government.

The Coalition government continues to increase capital funding of private schools. Department of Education figures supplied to Senate Estimates in 2017 show they will get $1.9bn in capital funding from 2018 to 2027. There is no equivalent capital funding for public schools.

Government funding for elite private schools is a waste of taxpayer funds. Their fees and donations alone far exceed the average income of public schools. Government funding just adds to their massive resource advantage and indirectly funds their gold-plated facilities. It denies much-needed resources for disadvantaged public schools facing severe shortages in teaching staff, educational materials and modern classroom buildings and equipment.

• Trevor Cobbold is the national convenor of Save Our Schools

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Not in Arizona buddy!

Republican Arizona State Senator Sylvia Allen has proposed legislation to remove the word “homosexuality” from all public school teaching materials and to prevent any student below the age of 12 from receiving sex education. The legislation is scheduled for hearing by the Senate’s Education Committee on Jan. 14, 2019

Progressive lobbyist Geoff Esposito says that Allen’s legislation is merely a conservative response to the state’s April 2019 repeal of its infamous “no promo homo” law which prohibited instruction in HIV/AIDS curriculum that “promotes a homosexual lifestyle” or “suggests that some methods of sex are safe methods of homosexual sex.”

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Let's hope she gets sent to one of her private jails

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has been threatened with the possibility of jail after a judge deemed she was violating a court order for continuing to collect student debts on a now-defunct school.

That ruling, handed down in June of 2018, was made by U.S. Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim and prevented DeVos and her Department of Education for going after former students at the bankrupt Corinthian Colleges Inc.

However, Kim said she was "astounded" to discover that DeVos was violating the court order at a hearing in San Francisco on Monday after a filing by the Education Department earlier disclosed that more than 16,000 former students at Corinthian College "were incorrectly informed at one time or another ... that they had payments due on their federal student loans."

Saturday, 11 January 2020

Insane....

"When the Ohio Department of Education released the list of EdChoice districts for 2021, it was a victorious moment for education privatizers in the state legislature. They had engineered into law so many changes in the criteria used to dub a school district as “EdChoice,” the status needed to open the public purse for private school tuition, that next fall more than 400 of Ohio’s 612 school districts will have to pay for the education of students who do not attend their schools."  

https://www.cleveland.com/opinion/2020/01/diversion-of-ohio-school-dollars-to-non-public-schools-has-become-a-raging-river-it-must-stop-susie-kaeser.html

Sunday, 5 January 2020

Priorities

Two weeks after Scott Morrison became Prime Minister he gave Catholic Education and extra $4.2 billion on top of their usual annual billions, that 4.2 billion of taxpayers money would have purchased many fire trucks, heavy duty water bomber planes.
Happy new year Blog fans.

Sunday, 29 December 2019

Drug deaths increase in rural Australia.

More evidence of government neglect of rural Australia. It's not just education.....

Researchers at the University of New England have put together a list of actions policy-makers can take to get ahead of the trend.

Every year between 200,000 and 500,000 people go without help for drug and alcohol use, Rural criminology senior lecturer Dr Katinka van de Ven said.

"It comes down to policy, social, physical and economic conditions, one of the things that became apparent was the lack of accessibility to drug and alcohol treatment programs so people have to travel," she said.