No: 2

Winter 2001

Taking the axe
to public education

The NSW State Government has launched a program to "reorganise" many Sydney schools (and also some in country areas). No educational reasons are given for the drastic changes that are envisaged-changes that have brought thousands of angry people onto the streets in opposition.

Despite the grandiose title of "Building the Future", the Government's proposals are nothing less than another blatant attack on the very concept of a free, secular and universal public education system.

The "Building the Future" document argues that modern families have fewer children and astonishingly discovers a growing demand for single sex schools and selective classes!

But the Government's plans are based on misleading demographic data and a market-driven bureaucratic approach to public education.

The reality is quite different! Only 50,000 students attend single sex and selective schools in NSW while a whopping 263,512 attend co-educational comprehensive schools.

Enrolments in co-educational schools have risen by 6000 since 1990, compared to a rise of only 2000 for girls' schools in the same period while enrolments for boys' schools have actually "fallen" by 4000 since 1990.

Despite this the Government proposes two single sex schools as part of the plan.

The school "reorganisation" is another economic rationalist policy statement that involves selling off public property and recycling funds. Its practical effect will be to drive more students into the private school system which is what it is intended to do.

The Department of Education now sees private schools as the leading school sector and their plans are to replicate that private model and show us all what is best for us.

It is an attack upon public education that will see many more schools close!

The "Building the Future" proposal was written by the Government without consulting the people most affected by the drastic and unwarranted changes.

We reject their plans and call on all parents, citizens and students to voice their disapproval of a plan that jeopardises the future of children by significantly reducing their choices with regard to public education.

We say no to school closures and more funds for public education!

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