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Time for public high schools to throw in the towel? [With poll]

By johnboy - 6 June 2011 92

With the news that high school education is now majority provided by the private sector perhaps it is time to re-evaluate what public education is trying to achieve.

For decades public educators have tried to convince well off parents that the public system offers a better alternative to the private one.

As a rule the harder they try the more parents they drive away.

We have now reached, or are very close, to the point where all the children in public high schools fall into three categories:

1) Their parents don’t care about their future,
2) Their parents can’t afford to act to safeguard their future,
3) Their parents are willing to sacrifice their future on the altar of ideology.

So we’re looking at an education system wherein all the students are profoundly disadvantaged.

Some might say that this is not the place to be organising whizzy programs for accelerated university placements.

In fact the whole obsession with university linkups appears to be a massive vote of no confidence in itself by the ACT education system. Why force them out the door sooner? Have you nothing more to teach?

Rather than devoting large amounts of energy and money trying to entice the non-disadvantaged some might wonder what could be done for those that remain if the focus was to be more precisely aligned to their needs?

Is it time to throw in the towel on egalitarian public education and admit it’s the preserve of the less well off?

Public Education should

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92 Responses to
Time for public high schools to throw in the towel? [With poll]
Thumper 6:23 pm 06 Jun 11

3) Their parents are willing to sacrifice their future on the altar of ideology.

Sad, but true.

Jim Jones 6:14 pm 06 Jun 11

Calamity said :

alaninoz said :

Calamity said :

And lastly, separating our high schools into what is effectively one for rich kids and one for poor kids is not right – it’s not how the real world is.

Sorry, but that’s how the real world does work. It shouldn’t but that’s how it is.

Okay. In that case, don’t you think perhaps we should try not to pass that attitude on to the next generation?

+1

Calamity 5:54 pm 06 Jun 11

alaninoz said :

Calamity said :

And lastly, separating our high schools into what is effectively one for rich kids and one for poor kids is not right – it’s not how the real world is.

Sorry, but that’s how the real world does work. It shouldn’t but that’s how it is.

Okay. In that case, don’t you think perhaps we should try not to pass that attitude on to the next generation?

alaninoz 5:42 pm 06 Jun 11

Calamity said :

And lastly, separating our high schools into what is effectively one for rich kids and one for poor kids is not right – it’s not how the real world is.

Sorry, but that’s how the real world does work. It shouldn’t but that’s how it is.

PM 5:33 pm 06 Jun 11

Education vouchers – give people a choice.

triffid 5:29 pm 06 Jun 11

harvyk1 said :

Also I almost feel that 100% of the education budget should go to public schools… If a parent wishes to sent their child to a private school, then it’s their choice, they should have to pay the bill 100%. If they complain that “it’s their tax dollars too” well the answer is simple, send you child to a public school, they do have that option…

+ eleventyseventy (in spite of understanding the historical and political reasons why it would never happen).

And, JB, I know my education was largely back in the third-world ways north of the Rio Tweed in the days of steam radio, but I was failed by that system (and I wasn’t alone) by the inability to be challenged by it. I would hope that my boy — if in the future he shows any sort of potential or capability for ‘advanced’ learning — is directed to the teriary sector as soon as he is able to handle it. I also have a 22 year old nephew who, I know, wishes also that he had just such an opportunity.

Calamity 5:13 pm 06 Jun 11

And lastly, separating our high schools into what is effectively one for rich kids and one for poor kids is not right – it’s not how the real world is.

whitelaughter 5:10 pm 06 Jun 11

@classified – it’d be a start, but there’s more.
Where’s the incentive to learn? If you buckle down and study, you end up even more bored for the rest of the year as teachers pander to the lazy/stupid. Forcing stuidents to repeat classes if they can’t be bothered learning the material would give the lazy a swift kick up the pants.
What function, exactly, to teachers serve? Teenagers don’t learn spelling or grammar – but can message on their phones at touchtyping speeds. They don’t learn foreign languages, but pick them up fluently in a few months overseas. Students master computers when their parents can’t. Teenage girls muck up in class – and after school get paid to babysit..doing a good job! It’s time to get rid of teachers, and have classes run by the students a couple of years ahead. You don’t really understand something until you’ve taught it, so teaching a subject to another after learning it should be required.
@beejay76 – your “4)” is just a spin on “3)”.

BimboGeek 5:08 pm 06 Jun 11

I’ve noticed that Canberra schools tend to be big on streaming anyway, so bright kids are challenged and less motivated ones can receive remedial support or whatever. It would be interesting to set up a selective school but only if the location didn’t disadvantage anyone too much.

harvyk1 5:06 pm 06 Jun 11

The last thing we want in society is public schools being considered only for the disadvantaged…

Classified said :

90% of the problems in public schools could be fixed with a decent approach to discipline and maintaining order.

Agreed… Give teachers the ability to sort out problems, fire teachers who puts their head in the sand when it comes to discipline \ bullying problems…

Also I almost feel that 100% of the education budget should go to public schools… If a parent wishes to sent their child to a private school, then it’s their choice, they should have to pay the bill 100%. If they complain that “it’s their tax dollars too” well the answer is simple, send you child to a public school, they do have that option…

Calamity 5:04 pm 06 Jun 11

I also think it might be worth contemplating that the fact there seem to be so many unruly, naughty kids in public schools is not necessarily the fault of the public schools.

You’ve highlighted that low income earners and the under-privileged will obviously be sending their kids to public rather than private, so plainly there are going to be a lot of kids in public education from some pretty rough circumstances. The school can focus on discipline as much as they like but they can’t fix a kid’s home life.

I don’t think the private schools are doing a better job at controlling their pupils – I think they have a completely different demographic.

Calamity 4:58 pm 06 Jun 11

Yeah, I don’t agree with this at all. Your categorising is a little on the offensive side, and you have over-simplified this in a massive way.

Cheap 4:55 pm 06 Jun 11

Narrabundah college ranked second out of all the colleges last year in terms of ATAR scores. I laugh at all those parents spending $100,000+ for a “better education”.

Classified 4:30 pm 06 Jun 11

90% of the problems in public schools could be fixed with a decent approach to discipline and maintaining order.

beejay76 3:37 pm 06 Jun 11

Or 4) Their parents believe a good education can be achieved at a public school, and without the religious baggage.
There’s nothing on earth that will convince me to have my child brainwashed by religious people. My kids’ school is excellent. The principal is awesome. He’s genuinely interested allowing the kids room to move and therefore achieve the most from their education. He’s tough on people (teachers and pupils) who don’t fit in with the culture he’s trying to achieve – ie inclusion, acceptance yada yada yada. The school is public, and exceeding capacity. More like him would bring the public system back into repute, I reckon!

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