less policy discrimination against private schools than in the past means that school choice is more affordable than it once was
My analysis last week.
…I do admire the particular locution you’ve used – “less policy discrimination” is a fine argument-begging way of saying “more subsidisation”.
Derrida Derider’s response.
I was wondering whether anyone would pick up on the way I put that point. On the federal government’s school funding policy, students at private schools get subsidies at somewhere between 13.7% and 70% of the government school rate, depending on the (presumed) socio-economic status of parents. So parents choosing private schools are financially treated less favourably than parents choosing government schools. Why is this not discrimination?
Often governments give more to people who have less, as they do with private schools. This is generally not seen as discriminatory, but rather making up for the disadvantage experienced by one group. But on this logic, well-off families who send their kids to government schools should receive less as well. According to the ABS, 8% of kids at government schools are from high-income households, while 16% of kids at independent schools are from low-income households. So the ‘to each according to need’ is not being consistently applied in school policy, and is only applied at all for private schools.
Most private schools are at least nominally religious, and as I noted in my post last week, attitudes towards religion are the only major difference between the school aspirations of parents of children at government and private schools. So those who want their children to receive a religious education are treated less favourably than those who want their kids to have a secular education. If you read the history of public education in Australia this aspect was much more open in the 19th century than today – Protestants, particularly, wanted to diminish the strength of the Catholic Church.
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