Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Class Warriors Take on Poor Schools With Education Cuts

Budget (Photo credit: SurvivalWoman)
by Dr David Zyngier, Senior Lecturer Faculty of Education at Monash University, The Conversation:

Our Liberal-run states are locked into a self-made and self-fulfilling prophesy of budgetary crisis.

It seems that running a deficit budget which is at the heart of liberal Keynesian economic theory is anathema today to Victoria, NSW and Queensland state treasurers.

And if a state needs to cut its budget you might assume it would look at non-essential services, such as the state promotion and marketing budget or support for major private corporate events such as horse racing.

But what do Queensland and NSW do? Well conservative voters have private health cover and their children attend independent schools so they attack the essential services that cater for the more disadvantaged sectors of the community: health and education.

And if the education budget is to pruned then you might assume that the first place to wield the razor might be the schools that need money the least, and the schools that are not actually answerable to the state that funds them - the independent and Catholic school sectors. But that would be too logical by half.

So while the private schools will have their budgets maintained after incredible pressure from backbenchers and their lobbyists, including his eminence Cardinal Pell, the private school system walks away with its budgets intact.

They will cry poor, and say that they have taken a real cut because of lack of indexation. The chief executive of the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia, Kim Cull, said the funding cuts would stifle non-government schools' ability to cater to the disadvantaged.

Given that 80% of disadvantaged children, 85% of Indigenous children and 79% of children with disabilities attend government schools, he shouldn’t be too worried about the impact on his system.

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