In my joint paper with Jennifer Buckingham comparing people who went to government schools with people who went to non-government schools, she draw the research short straw – collecting what the public school lobby has had to say on the subject. The op-ed by Catherine Deveny in today’s Age – an evidence-free rant – is the kind of stuff she has to trawl through.
Take this passage:
The lessons kids learn in government schools — resilience, motivation, community and tolerance — hold them in much better stead than hand-holding, spoon-feeding, mollycoddling and segregation.
I’m not sure that any of the surveys I plan to use can tell me much about resilience or motivation – though clearly private school students have enough of each to do much better educationally on average than those who went to government schools – but there are questions that help us understand any differences on community and tolerance.
The 2005 Australian Survey of Social Attitudes asked about voluntary association involvement. 22% of those who went to government schools were actively involved in a voluntary assocation, compared to 25% of those who went to Catholic schools and 31% who went to other private schools. Another question asked about, in the last 2 years, working together with others who shared the same concerns to express views or represent interests. 43% of those who had been to government schools had done so, 48% of people who went to Catholic schools, and 52% of those who went to other non-government schools. On the question of trust, 53% of those who had been to government schools thought that other people could always or usually be trusted, compared to 59% of those who went to Catholic schools and 63% of those who went to other non-government schools.
Continue reading “Do government school kids learn tolerance and community?”