Page 6

88453 Aloysiad 2012_ds

from the principal (cont'd) recent years, Catholic schools have contributed to the much for funding in terms of curing the ills of Australian education of refugee groups such as those from East Timor. education. There is no causal relationship between funding Every unaccompanied minor among the asylum seekers at and good educational outcomes. Professor Scott Prasser of Woomera and Baxter (all Muslims) were given places in the Australian Catholic University, writing in Eureka Street, South Australia’s Catholic schools. A growing number of observes that “The link between education performance non-Catholics have been educated in Catholic schools. and either the quantum of resources or the allocative Indirectly, also, Catholic schools, as a backbone of the mechanism is generally considered at least indirect, and Catholic community’s involvement in Australia, underpin by most researchers weak. A strong focus on elements a Church that is the largest non-Government provider of of schooling such as teacher and principal quality, early welfare, healthcare and aged care services in Australia. intervention, targeted programs with proven success at One can also argue the benefits of a diversity of school overcoming educational disadvantage, choice, autonomy systems in Australia. They provide variety and innovation and accountability is where differences in performance can within education. Different systems and competition stimulate really be addressed”. the sector as a whole. In no other area do we praise the Insofar as the Gonski Report addresses educational benefits of a monopoly. It can also be argued that in outcomes in Australia, I suspect it has little to offer in terms countless other areas of Australian life (the arts, sport, of ways to improve the system in a broad sense. Insofar as opera, drama, music, film, healthcare, to name a few), it seeks to offer a way forward for Government funding of Governments subsidise private endeavour – and the fabric schools, in finding a balance between public and private, of Australian life would be the poorer without it. It would be and valuing choice and diversity, I suspect it will prove not ironic indeed, if Government funding of the non-government to be the way forward, either in principle or politically. sector was seen to be under threat because that investment In addressing the issue of disadvantage in Australian in our young had proved to be too successful. schooling, I believe it does establish the need for greater It is perhaps a coincidence that in the days leading up funding, most of which should go to Government schools. It to the release of the Gonski Report there were a number of makes the case for the non-Government sector to assume a news stories on the Grattan Institute's report, Lessons from greater share of the burden in assisting the disadvantaged, high-performing systems in East Asia. This report highlights especially those with disability. the success, as measured by international testing, of schools Fr Chris Middleton SJ in Shanghai, South Korea and Singapore. The Gonski Principal Report, itself, highlighted a perceived fall in competitiveness of Australian students as a rationale for challenging the status quo. Ironically, most of the factors cited in the Grattan Report do not relate to the allocation of resources. Rather A M D G they go to the nature of teacher-training and the atmosphere in the classroom. Some of this can be explained in cultural terms, and sometimes these reports, by focusing simply on narrow academic results, do not necessarily report on the quality of ‘education’ received, and they don’t also explain how pervasive coaching schools and outside tutoring are in the system. But it also seems to me that the measurement SAC E-mail News by which the Gonski Report may determine funding, will be based on the cost of an ‘efficient’ education, and this The College is using e-mail as a way of communicating carries real dangers for the quality of Australian schools. with members of the Aloysian Family. An e-mail In the debates over education, a tendency has always newsletter, SAC E-mail News, is distributed to update been present to focus overly on the issue of funding of members of the Aloysian Family about upcoming non-Government schools, so as to avoid dealing with events, sporting and cultural activities and Class real issues that pertain specifically to public education: Reunions. News of the death of an Old Boy is also sent the autonomy of a local school within a sometimes stifling to his classmates (and that of any siblings). The College Government bureaucracy, the power of the teachers’ union is keen to expand the number of e-mail addresses that in determining standards and accountability, the relationship we have on file. If you would like to have receive between selective and comprehensive schools, which can copies of SAC E-mail News, please send an e-mail to lead to the problem of residualisation, and the failure of foundation@staloysius.nsw.edu.au. Please include your State governments to effectively support and maintain State other contact details (address, telephone numbers and schools. I’m not sure that the Gonski Report will shift that SAC Year if an Old Boy) so we ensure that the College focus to what can really improve schools. The mandate of the Report related to a review of funding, but perhaps database is updated correctly. an argument could be made that the Report claims too St Aloysius’ College A Jesuit School for Boys _ Founded 1879 a l oy s i a d / page 6


88453 Aloysiad 2012_ds
To see the actual publication please follow the link above