The Guardian November 1, 2000


Defeat the anti-public education bill

The Howard Government has devised a new funding system for schools which 
will deliver massive funding increases to private schools, including the 
most wealthy of them all. The NSW Teachers' Federation has begun a 
concerted campaign   part of a national campaign  to rally teachers and 
parents to have the Government's bill, the States Grants (Primary and 
Secondary Education Assistance) Bill, defeated.

The main features of the Bill are:

* the introduction of the so-called socio-economic status (SES) model of 
funding for non-Catholic private schools, but keeping the old funding model 
for the Catholic system.

Education Minister David Kemp claims that this method is discredited, yet 
has allowed the largest private school sector  Catholic schools make up 
65 per cent of private schools  to remain funded under that system;

* guarantees that no private school will be worse off, even if the SES 
model shows it should lose funds;

* the introduction of establishment grants ($500 per student) for new 
private schools to set themselves up;

* funding for distance students to get to private schools;

* mainstreaming funding for students with special needs and disabilities by 
putting their funds into the same bucket with literacy and numeracy 
programs;

* making it mandatory to sign up for performance targets as a condition for 
funding for all schools and systems, including public education. It makes 
it possible to withhold funding to public schools which "fail" to meet the 
Kemp performance targets (the targets are not defined in the Bill).

* PUBLIC SCHOOLS WILL GET NO REAL INCREASE IN FUNDING!

Take action

The Teachers' Federation has called on its members to encourage parents and 
the wider community to take up the issue by such means as school 
newsletters.

The Federation also proposes joint meetings with the Parents & Citizens 
(P&Cs) organisations and encourages people to e-mail, fax or write to a 
Federal Senator to have them oppose the passage of the Bill.

"The private school lobby is organised and active", says the Federation. 
"Public school communities need to match this activism."

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