Fwd: [minorities_in_education] school funding- exploring the options and the lobbies who create them

Rosie Williams rosiewilliams575 at hotmail.com
Sun Aug 25 17:53:34 MDT 2002

>From: "Rosie Williams" <roseeduresources at hotmail.com>
>To: rosiewilliams575 at hotmail.com
>Subject: Fwd: [minorities_in_education] school funding- exploring the 
>options and the lobbies who create them
>Date: Fri, 23 Aug 2002 22:22:07 +0000
>>I have begun thinking about writing for the next issue of my journal which 
>>has>>brought up many issues. I warn you that this post is about 
>>the>>deeper issues rather than the nuts and bolts posts of recent times.
>>I am writing here because I want some feedback. Why will become
>>obvious, no doubt: I don't expect everyone I communicate with to be
>>able to comment on every part of what I say but I'd appreciate
>>comments on whatever part you do feel you have something to say on-
>>otherwise I have to work it all out myself and this forum (meaning
>>the journal as a whole) is intended to help me and others do so.
>>I was thinking about writing about school funding. I have been
>>reflecting on the various 'positions' on school funding. There seem to
>>be the lobbies for public education based on some kind of 'public
>>education ideal'. They tend to support equality as an ideal and that
>>equality seems to be an equality of outcomes.
>>There is the other pole position on funding which is that parents
>>should pay for their children's education, tertiary students should
>>pay for their own education- a user pays system. I am not sure that
>>there is a lobby that fully supports this position without certain
>>limits but there are certainly elements of this position in the
>>policies and rhetoric of some protagonists.
>>Then there is something called the Third Way which is a fairly recent
>>interest for me. One of our vocal Labor politicians is an advocate
>>and I also suspect their are Liberal supporters (perhaps politicians
>>also) that beleive in this discourse which claims to supersede the
>>politics of left and right, that polarisation being seen to BE the
>>stumbling block to all things good. The only problem is that, I don't
>>know how you logically get past the left/right dichotomy
>>(conflict/difference) without actually dealing with the issues that
>>that dichotomy is based around. If society is a mass of protagonists
>>(people) acting out whatever power they have -which can be bolstered
>>by their group memberships (group meaning any kind of affiliation
>>whatsoever), then I guess an equality of outcomes is not going to
>>arrive without addressing those processes of power.
>>The Third Way believers seem to think that inequality is best
>>addressed by creating a stakeholder society- meaning that everyone
>>owns stuff so that they identify with and make their decisions based
>>on the accumulation of assets. This is actually in Labors new
>>strategy discussion paper as a result of their recent political
>>losses to the Liberals. I just don't understand how that actually
>>changes the balance of inequality and I am not sure that an equality
>>of outcomes is anymore the aim of the Labour Third Way protagonists
>>than it is the Liberals. So I have difficulty differentiating
>>Australia's major parties as on the surface of it they seem to be
>>arguing for exactly the same thing- a continuation of an unequal
>>society but a shift from the poor being welfare recipients to being
>>working poor or something. Here is a link to an Australian very much
>>enarmoured of Third Way thinking: (Mark Latham's homepage & there is
>>a lot of info on  the third way there)
>>The reason I am concerned with this Third Way stuff is because it
>>seems to be informing a third funding option which is a voucher
>>system. It is the funding option where the government gives the
>>parent a voucher to take their child to the school of their choice
>>and there are proponents on both sides of the right/left divide who
>>are encouraging this method of funding: (Menzies Liberal think tank)
>>This site has a link to a downloadable pdf document report called
>>Australia's Educational Choices which outlines the argument for a
>>voucher system. I think there is also a model of tertiary funding
>>along these lines floating around somewhere but I have not got that
>>far yet.
>>Anyway, these funding options must, at base, go back to what people
>>want to see in a society in terms of equality/inequality
>>freedom/obligation etc and be informed by the role people expect
>>education to play in that process. The lobbies primarily made up of
>>teachers who interact with students (our children) on a daily basis
>>generally follow the first funding option if they are the majority
>>public system employees or the second or third funding option if they
>>are from the private education sector which, in Australia is about
>>30%. Both sectors in Australia receive government funding,
>>incidentally. The public sector majority generally support an ethos
>>of equality of outcomes even though they probably do not vote
>>communist party- or I'd expect the communist parties to have more
>>support than I suspect they do. I guess they probably vote Labor and
>>Labor will be presenting its case to them carefully no doubt after
>>the failure of their Knowlege Nation platform to win the election for
>>them in recent years.
>>Supporters of the first option- the public education ideal would like
>>to have no government funding going to private schools. They would
>>like that money and more to be put into the existing public system
>>and they hope to address inequality via education via increased
>>funding to public schools. What they ask for does not seem so
>>unacceptable on the surface as it is hard to see why private schools
>>who select students on the basis of parental capacity to pay should
>>receive government funding. Supporters of the public education ideal
>>believe that public education is more likely to reduce class conflict
>>because it is inclusive rather than selective and that is why they
>>like the comprehensive school model that can pose problems for gifted
>>students. These protagonists also fear the voucher system of funding
>>will mean an end to public education at all as parents will take
>>their voucher and child to a private school.
>>That is part one of what is going to be a little thesis as this email
>>is getting too long. It covers the bases of the funding debate as I
>>have so far encountered it in my early research and the next email
>>deals with even deeper issues of a philosophical kind that arose in
>>my mind as a result of following through the logic of the arguments
>>above. So I'll leave off here and begin again in the next post.

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