I write in response to Garry Linnell's article on 'The Inequity of Private Schooling', (DA 2/12, p7).
The debate around public funding of private schools often misses a key point: it's not about privileging the elite, but about upholding a diverse and high-quality education system for all.
Starting with parental choice... Isn't it a basic right for parents to select an educational path that matches a set of values and aspirations for their children?
This choice shouldn't be restricted by one's financial capacity. When private schools receive public funding, it democratises access to various educational experiences. The Fraser Institute's research supports this, showing how school choice, including private education, spurs innovation and quality improvement due to competitive dynamics.
Investing in private education also means investing in a range of educational styles and excellence. Private schools are known for specialised programs and unique approaches to learning, filling gaps sometimes found in public education.
Government funding ensures these enriched learning environments are not exclusive to those who can afford them. The Independent Schools Council of Australia emphasises how such diversity benefits society by addressing various learning needs.
Economically, it's a misconception that private schools drain public resources. In fact, they often achieve high educational outcomes with less public funding per student than public schools, as shown by the Productivity Commission's report.
Recognising and supporting this efficiency is vital. Competition from well-funded private schools can elevate standards across the entire education system. A Cato Institute study indicates that such competition leads to widespread educational improvements.
Any narrative that private schools only serve the elite is outdated. Many offer scholarships and have diverse student populations, thanks to public funding. This helps maintain a socio-economic diversity.
My own son's experience proves this. He attended a private school known for offering scholarships to students from wide-ranging backgrounds. Such exposure to different perspectives was invaluable, significantly shaping his educational journey and broader worldview.
To conclude, public funding for private schools isn't a deviation from equitable education goals. It's a strategic move to enrich the education system, making high-quality learning accessible to all, regardless of financial background.
Simon Paton, Wagga
POWER HELD NOT POWER GIVEN
Paul Funnell (Speaking out on sitting in, DA Letters 2/12), even in his condemnation of it, is too charitable to Hamas.
The organisation is not "the elected Palestinian government". It contested and won a majority in the Palestinian legislative elections in 2006 and has banned elections since then.
Hamas has never contested Palestinian general elections nor Palestinian presidential elections.
It would be as if Kevin '07' Rudd had refused to ever hold another election and therefore was still calling himself our PM - an idea that, thankfully, Malcolm Turnbull would challenge because he believes that it is himself that is still PM.
As for wishing that The Greens will ever outright condemn the Hamas rapists, infanticides and murderers of October 7, Mr Funnell should abandon hope - not while there's a democracy in Israel to whinge about, they won't.
Robert T. Walker, Wagga
ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL, HEADING TOWARDS CLIFF EDGE
The Albanese government is well aware of the risks posed by climate change.
In his annual climate change statement, Chris Bowen acknowledges that "extreme weather events caused by climate change place increased strain on Australia's energy networks... stretching Australia's emergency capabilities."
The only way we can even attempt to solve this problem, is to tackle it at its roots and drastically reduce global pollution.
Yet the government continues to leave the door open to approving new fossil fuel projects. An example is the pending Mount Pleasant coal-mine expansion.
This project alone is enough to blow our carbon budget. We are on the edge of a cliff, and we have fallen asleep at the wheel.
Ann O'Hara, Wanniassa
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