A former state education minister wants governments to fully fund non-government primary schools on the condition they stop collecting fees and abide by the same enrolment and accountability rules as public schools. Source: Sydney Morning Herald.
The country’s most expensive independent and Catholic schools already receive at least $4000 per student in public funding, even if they charge $35,000 a year in parent fees.
Adrian Piccoli argues non-government schools receive so much public money that the proposal would only cost governments about $500 million a year.
Professor Piccoli, a former New South Wales education minister, is now the director of the Gonski Institute for Education at the University of NSW. He said the present system allows only those who can afford fees to choose non-government schools, leaving them out of reach of many disadvantaged families.
Under his proposal, the schools would still be run by non-government institutions, such as churches or groups with alternative education philosophies such as Steiner, but, like public schools, they would not be able to reject students or ask them to leave.
Schools could continue to charge fees, but those that did would forfeit all government funding.
National Catholic Education Commission executive director Jacinta Collins said the idea was not new and “may have some merit”, but said the proposal would require “significant working through” to ensure that school choice and diversity for families were “not degraded by applying a one-size-fits-all approach”.
Governments should fully fund private primary schools, says Piccoli (By Jordan Baker, Sydney Morning Herald)