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What PARENTS WANT

from their
condensed report

CHILDRENS
EDUCATION in
independent schools
on information obtained by them
through the conduct of twelve group
discussions. The twelve groups were
as outlined in the table at the bottom
of the page.

introduction
This study was conducted for the
National Council of Independent
Schools Associations (NCISA) by
Irving Saulwick and Associates.

The Victorian discussions were held


between May 11 and 19, 1998.
The Sydney discussions were held
on June 1 and 2, while those in
Western Australia were held on
June 3 and 4, 1998.

It was designed . . . to ascertain the


aspirations and perceptions of parents,
from a range of social, economic
and cultural groups, about their
childrens education and determine
ways in which messages and media
can be used to most effectively
communicate with them.

Two discussions were held outside a


metropolitan area, one in Bendigo in
Victoria and one in Bunbury in
Western Australia.

This report, written by Irving


Saulwick and Denis Muller, is based

group discussions
school category

victoria

new south wales

western australia

number

number

number

1-3

4-8

9 - 12

Total

this study. Their aspirations for


their children, their motivation for
choosing independent schooling,
their attitudes to the other education
sectors, their attitude to funding
issues, all had common threads.

summary of main findings


Parents who send their children to
an independent school expect a lot
from the school. They expect it to:
nurture their child with care;
allow their child to develop as
a well-rounded human being;

Most, but not all, of the parents we


spoke with lived in a middle-class
culture. They had imbibed its
values. They were products of
the post-industrial society. They,
perhaps more than their own
parents, had been brought up in a
time when personal fulfilment was
paramount, when self-actualisation,
self-knowledge, self-development
were seen as desirable and
attainable goals.

imbue their child with, and


reinforce, the values and culture
of the home;
instil in their child self-discipline
and respect for others;
teach their child how to learn,
and
give their child enough skills and
knowledge to allow them to build
a future economically and socially.

If this path led to a prosperous life,


so much the better. But if it did not
(and few imagined that it would
lead to poverty) then for many the
richness of personal fulfilment was
to be preferred to the sterile life of
economic security without joy.

Our participants were diverse in


many respects. They lived in the
main conurbations of Melbourne,
Sydney and Perth; in the furtherflung newer suburbs and the closerin established suburbs. They lived
in regional centres and rural towns.
They lived on both sides of the
Australian continent.

Richness could have many


components: it might include
following ones religious
commitments, or growing within
ones ethnic culture, or living in a
non-urban environment where
personal predilections are given
space, or pursuing a passion for
whatever activity one was
passionate about. If it was a
passion for something with a
high commercial value, so much
the better.

They were also diverse in their


socio-economic circumstances,
their ethnicity and in the strength
of their adherence if any to
religion. The religious backgrounds
themselves were diverse.
Despite this diversity, they shared
some aspirations and attitudes which
were significant in the context of
3

which was not in conflict, but


rather was consistent with, the
culture and values of their home
environment.

Of course, others were more


influenced by traditional notions of
economic security and social and
economic achievement. This was
perhaps the more so for people
whose family had in the recent past
not known economic security. Yet
even for many of those who had
known such security, the need to
prosper more was deeply ingrained.

Some, but not all, wanted an


educational environment which:
concentrated on the three Rs;
emphasised the need for discipline,
and imposed it when this was
thought necessary;

Many were worried by what they


saw as a society adrift from core
values and discipline. They looked
to the future, but many lamented the
loss of some of the anchorages of
the past.

gave good instruction, so that good


grades, particularly for tertiary
entry, could be achieved;
gave them a background which,
if referred to, might give them an
advantage when seeking employment
or in other phases of post-school life.

These, then, are the lenses through


which our respondents chose their
children's school. They had either
invested a lot of effort in selecting
the right one, or it had virtually
selected itself.

They liked the broader curriculum


which the independent schools
were seen to offer, but they were
concerned that in some respects the
curriculum was becoming crowded
as schools were required to take up
what had been traditionally parental
duties in the bringing up of children.
They were also concerned at what
they saw as a range of pressures on
young people some induced by
parents themselves, some by peers,
by the consumer society and by the
external exam system.

They wanted an educational


environment:
where their children were
encouraged to grow and develop
as individuals and where their
talents would be revealed and
helped to flourish;
where their children, particularly
the gentle or the timid ones, were
safe and protected;

While for some parents the principal


decision to send their child to an
independent school is uncomplicated,
others are torn ideologically in the
process. Often, parents who went to
an independent school want their child
to have a similar experience.

where, if they were sent to a school


whose religious values or ethnic
culture was particularly important
to them, these values or this culture
was transmitted;
4

exercised some consumer leverage


and were generally satisfied that
the school also recognised this. In
addition, they valued the opportunity
to be involved in their childrens
education.

Others, who have not had the experience, want their children to have it.
On the other hand, some parents
have chosen an independent school
despite the fact that they believe the
state system should be supported.
Most of these people feel that their
local state school, for one reason or
another, is not right for their child.

For them, the fact that they had


been able to choose a school was
important in itself. Many would like
all parents to be able to choose the
type of education they wanted for
their children.

For all that, many, notably in Victoria,


acknowledged that changes in the
government system would probably
lead to improvements in the long
term, and that even at the present
time there was much to commend
about government schooling. Hence
their ambivalence. In such cases,
concern for the immediate needs of
their child overrides their ideological
predispositions.

Without exception, independent


school parents argue that the state
should contribute financially to their
childs education. They all say We
pay our taxes, we have a right to it.
Most argue that their decision to
send their child to an independent
school means that the state is paying
less than it would if the child were
sent to a government school. They
also argue that government schools
would not be able to cope if all
children were sent to them.

Although it was seldom made


explicit, there was an undercurrent
of belief that the government
schools were under considerable
pressure and were finding it
increasingly difficult to offer a high
quality educational environment.

Many would like to see independent


school fees a deductible item for
income tax purposes, or a tax
rebate given.

This meant, in the eyes of many of


our respondents, that government
teachers were also under considerable
pressure, and that they were unable,
even with the best of intentions, to
give attention to individual pupils,
particularly those who were not
readily or easily noticed.
These parents were conscious that
the school had to be accountable to
them. They recognised that they
5

Parents want education to be an


awakening experience. They want it
to help the young person grow
morally, intellectually, creatively,
socially, culturally, as well as
physically.

discussion
What do you want from
education for your children?
Education has always been important
to Australians. It certainly is today.
But if there was a time when most
parents of students at independent
schools saw education mainly as the
passport to a job, this is no longer
true for the majority. For a minority,
however, this is still their main
motivation, along with a wish to see
their children better off socially than
they are themselves.

Many want the school to be their


partner, and they have chosen it for
this purpose. In particular, people
with strong religious beliefs, or
people who wish to perpetuate their
ethnic or religious cultures, see the
school in this way. But others do as
well. Indeed, this idea of partnership
between home and school was a
very important factor for many
parents. Many accepted that they
had the primary responsibility for the
moral upbringing of their children,
but certainly looked to the school to
reinforce this.

For the most part, however,


a new generation of parents are
re-defining what they want for their
children from education. This may
flow from a realisation that the postindustrial society is still evolving, but
is likely to require people who have
been educated differently from in
the past.

In addition, many see todays society


as lacking core values and discipline.
They want these inculcated in their
children and believe independent
schools are likelier than government
schools to do this.

Not that everything has changed.


There is evidence that parents still
see the three Rs as important.
Indeed many parents are critical
of schools for not teaching children
spelling, punctuation, grammar,
or the fundamentals of arithmetic.

They want their children to be


happy in school. They want them to
be safe and, when they are young,
protected. They want them stimulated.
They want them to explore, to learn
how to learn. They want them to
find out about themselves as well
as about society. They want them
to develop a set of values, to
become rounded human beings,
to be confident and to develop
leadership qualities.

However, for all its importance, and


many parents do see it as important,
the piece of paper at the end of
secondary education is not primarily
what parents in independent schools
are looking for from their childrens
education.
6

Academic achievement is not the


be all and end all.

They are not greatly interested in


the educators loading facts into their
children. They suggest that many
of the facts which are learnt will
soon be forgotten. It is the skill of
learning that they want their
children to acquire.

Cultural and religious heritage;


and high academic performance,
especially with language.
I want the school to reinforce the
morals I teach at home.

What do you want from your


childs education?

We might have to face the fact that


our kids will not be materially as
well off, so I want them safe.
Having a PhD doesnt guarantee
work. Were told our kids jobs
havent been invented yet. So we
need to focus on values, morality
and ethics.

To be treated as individuals, not


as units in a system.
Confidence; explore ideas;
curiosity; love of learning all this
rather than specific pieces of
information.
Insight into what are their talents;
confidence to deal with many
situations.

Social as well as academic skills.


Life skills, how to relate to others.
Tolerance, patience.

Platform for individual development,


whether academic or social
development.

Discipline; respect for teachers;


self-control; obedience; be able to
voice an opinion.

Ability to be excited by knowledge


not just a job. Awaken curiosity.

Grow up to be independent people,


able to be flexible.

I want them to feel really confident,


be able to face the choices theyll
have to make.

Be happy at school.
Being challenged, academically
and personally to try new things.

To learn how to learn.


Have their curiosity affirmed,
not squashed.

Good grounding in the three Rs;


like going to school; be respected;
follow-on from home; stimulated.

Life skills -- attitude, manners,


outlook, motivation, do what they
want to do best.

Consistency of values; awareness


of childs character and gifts;
uniqueness of the individual;
social integration; information.

A Christian environment,
self-discipline, high self-esteem,
moral values, decent kids.
7

Excellence in education, discipline,


multi-lingual skills (this from an
immigrant parent), cultural and
religious values instilled. Learn
Arabic and Coptic as well as
English. We under-estimate them
sometimes. They have so much
capacity inside them.

What do you want from your


childs education?
Develop leadership skills; how to be
a good citizen; a values system
that hasnt been muddled.
To complement the value system
of the family and thats why Ive
chosen the school. The family is
the prime educator. School is a
necessary adjunct, with expertise.

Fully educated for employment;


life skills as well as the three Rs.
Kids need guidelines and
boundaries. We have them at
home and I want the school to
have them too. This comes from
pastoral care.

Capacity to think. Foundation for


future learning. This is the start.
They need to be comfortable in the
learning process. Academic, but
be adaptable to different working
environments.

The child treated as an individual


and their education supporting
what we do at home. I want them
to be treated as special people,
allow them to be heard and
treated with respect. Not just one
of a number.

High sense of self-esteem. Good


leadership skills. Love of learning
is probably top; the content is not as
important as their desire to learn.
Id like my boys to have the
opportunity my girls have had.
Boys education has a way to go.

Prepared for life. Good moral


stance of their own; able to
withstand peer group pressure;
enjoy good times and have the
fortitude to live through bad.

The things I can't show them,


explore with them. Time, facilities,
teaching skills, patience, another
point of view.

Id like the school to reinforce that


the future is bright - it can be
anything you want it to be, not
something to be frightened of.

To reinforce the views at home;


to have the opportunity to make
a choice for themselves; be able to
think through matters.
I want them to be well rounded,
and happy. I don't believe in
burning out kids by putting a lot
of pressure on them.
8

suggested that children should also


acquire self-knowledge as part of
their education.

Talk to us about the relative


importance of
- preparation for a job

So too, was learning how to live in


society: how to be confident, to
have people-to-people skills, to
understand the social environment.
Some parents wanted their children
to mix with a wide range of people
in order to develop these skills.
Others wanted them to meet the
right people so that their path into
the future would be made easier.

- learning how to live in society


- learning how to learn
- developing a set of values.
Very few of our respondents, except
those who by their own description
were relatively under-privileged
economically, saw preparation for a
job as the most important function of
education.They tended to argue that
other things were more important,
that young people did not know
what type of work they would want
to do, and that the work environment
was changing so much that specific
training for a job would be very
difficult and probably futile.

A common assertion was, that if


school awakened in the child a love
of learning, reinforced the values of
the home, and developed competent
social skills in the child, employment
would follow.

Those with strong religious beliefs,


and not a few of those without
religious beliefs, saw developing a
set of values as the most important
function of formal education. While
they saw the home as the source of
these values, they saw the role of
the school as very important in
reinforcing and building on them.
Others saw this as primarily and
indeed essentially a home function.

Preparation for a job

Learning how to learn, and learning


to enjoy learning, was seen by many
as of great importance. Opening
young people's minds, and giving
them the confidence and ability to
explore ideas and information
was stressed. In addition to the
objectives offered above, it was

The job will follow if you've got the


other three.

I find the emphasis on vocational


outcomes is very distressing,
forcing kids to make choices.
I resent kids -- everyone - being
channelled from Prep to Uni,
the TER.
You prepare not for a job but for
how to face the future.

Learning how to live in society


Living in society.
Living in society. If you cant do
that, youre stuffed.
9

Learning how to learn

Other

If youve learnt to learn, youll be


adaptable and better equipped
for a job.

Id choose none of those. Education


is a tool to do all these things
to give you competence to do them.

Building blocks are very important


the three Rs, and right and
wrong.

It all goes hand-in-hand. If you dont


have values you cant function in
society, and you cant get a job.
Id add personal development
of the child.

The basics -- maths and being


good citizens. After that its their
choice and I'll support them.

What do you like, and what


do you not like, about
education at present?

Learn how to learn. The next three


can and should be done largely
at home.

In responding to this question some


of our respondents talked about
the reduction, as they saw it, in
educational standards. They
mentioned a lack of rigour in
teaching the three Rs, a lack of
discipline and respect in schools,
and poor teaching, particularly in the
state system. They did not think that
all state employed teachers were
poor teachers. Far from it. But many
did think that they were teaching
under very difficult conditions, and
that some, who were poor teachers,
could not be dismissed.

Developing a set of values


Values and living more important
than a job.
Parents should teach values and
living in society.
But they need to practise these at
school.
Values at least maintaining what
we do at home.
Schools can't deliver the values;
they can reinforce.

They were also worried that, because


the state system was under such
pressure, their child could be lost in
it: that no one would have the time
to give her individual attention. One
respondent said that she had the
terrible thought that her child could go
through the whole of her schooling
and would never be noticed as if she had never been there.

Set of values. Self-value, confidence.


The job will come. They form the
foundation of the person.
Moral values and so on are not an
important part of schools function
but cant be lower than our
required level at home.
10

high university entry marks,


and that, in the best educational
environments, it concentrated on
allowing a young person to grow
and to explore and to find joy and
self-confidence in the process.

On the other hand, independent


schools were seen as spending time
with, and giving guidance to, each
pupil. Many respondents spoke of
pastoral care; some went further,
seeing the teacher as the childs
agent in the school, and organising
whatever resources were needed for
her total educational welfare.

Many of our respondents were


concerned about what they saw as
a decline in social values in society,
and the intrusion of drugs into the
school system. These people lamented
the lack of respect shown to adults
and teachers by young people, their
lack of discipline or self-discipline,
their lack of purpose and their
experimenting with drugs. They
hoped that their independent school
would shield them from these threats,
and assist the parents to bring up the
children so that they avoided these
problems.

Many were also concerned about the


pressure todays students were
under. These came from a variety
of sources -- parental expectations,
media comparisons of student
performance, the consumer society,
peers, and the work pressure
associated with the end-of-school
exams such as the VCE and HSC.
They were also concerned about a
range of unfavourable factors in the
educational environment. The
status of teachers was low, affecting
morale and the quality of recruitment;
there were fads and fashions in
teaching which made them feel
that schools were experimenting
with their children; government
expenditure on education had been
cut to unacceptably low levels, and
the curriculum was becoming
crowded as more and more was
being asked of the school system.
On the other hand, many liked the
fact that education today was more
than just the three Rs: that it
included a wide range of subjects
and activities, that it did not only
concentrate on teaching facts, or
only on preparing children to gain
11

topics
choice

likes

dislikes

The capacity to choose


is fundamental. If that
were put at risk, wed
be unhappy people.

I cant understand why the


community as a whole dont
say to the Government, why
dont you give us some choice?

The best thing is we have


choice - choice of systems
and types of schools. But
its also buyer beware.
It means we have to do
some homework.

curriculum

breadth
skills
opportunities
retention

I like the variety of


subjects.

I dont like the prescriptive, set


and crowded curriculum.

Performing arts.

Theres not any focus on maths.

The breadth of
curriculum is good.

Kids are too reliant on calculators.

Its very positive that our


school is K - 12.
I like things like outings
and field work.
Access and research
skills are emphasised
thats good.
I like a balance between
creativity and correction.
Our Year 12 daughter has
had fantastic opportunities
leadership, travel. Shes
working off her own bat.
I like the diversity; kids
staying at school longer;
offering something to kids
who would have left at 14.

12

Not much good at the three Rs.


I dont like too much creativity.
Thats OK once they know their ABC.
Schools are bound by the
curriculum.
The curriculum is spread too
wide in primary school. They
give a lot of weight to all the Key
Learning Areas, but not enough
to literacy and numeracy.
I dont like the emphasis on
academic achievement at the
expense of life skills like basic
personal communication.
Theres a lack of rapport between
the workforce and education.
Theyre being prepared for uni
but they have no idea of the
skills needed for work.

topics
teachers

likes

dislikes

Our teachers are


wonderful.

All professions have taken a


drubbing, but teaching worst of all.

The kids have found


people who really
care about them.

It must be really tough in the state


system resources cut, teachers
not valued, in school or out of it.
Because the Government doesn't
value them, theyre poorly paid.

Good teachers have


been driven away
through low salaries I have the freedom
to pay and probably
get better teachers.

change

Theyre trying to broaden


education too much and not
enough attention is being given to
the three Rs. They do a different
language every year.

Schools are doing a


good job preparing
kids for adaptability.
Theyre getting a
good broad spread
of information.
But too much
width means things
drop off.

Theyre constantly experimenting


with ways to teach. Its totally
frustrating. One year you learn
the times table, next year its
estimating.
From year to year someone
reinvents the wheel.
In English, grammar went out.
Now its back.
You dont have addition or
subtraction but something else.
There was that process writing fad.
My daughter, whos now at uni,
couldn't write an essay. She would
write a 1000-word sentence.
13

topics
pressures
expectations
standards
media

likes

dislikes

The schools have


high expectations.

Theyre channelling them too early.


Theres pressure from home and
the system.

And yet they also


recently introduced
more gifted and
talented programs.

I dont like the commercial pressures:


kids are bombarded with ads.
And peer pressures where you go
for holidays.
Theyre dumbing down teaching
to the lowest common denominator.
And theres the media pressure
how to study, results, how your
school performs.
I dont like the Government saying
schooling is about jobs.
And cutting the education budget.

vce

Theres too much focus on the


VCE from Year 7 get that score!
The VCE has too much work
pressure, and the content is too
much based on learning how to
analyse; too open.

14

Some parents had known exactly which


school they wanted their children to
attend. These tended to be those
who had the children at a school
which particularly met their ethnic,
religious or cultural requirements.

Why have you sent your child


to an independent fee-paying
school?
We found there were positive and
negative reasons.
Despite the fact that they were not antigovernment schools, perhaps the
majority of our respondents did not
want to take a risk with their childrens
education in a government system
about which they had profound
reservations. They believed that some
government schools offered a very
good education, particularly the selective
high schools in New South Wales
and a few high-profile government
high schools in Melbourne. Some had
also had good experiences with their
own children in government primary
schools, and some -- particularly from
the Montessori schools -- still had
children in government secondary
schools, and were quite satisfied.

A large majority of our respondents


had taken great pains over their choice
of school. They had shopped around
extensively, often in the company of
their children, who in many cases had
been allowed to have considerable
on occasions even decisive input
into the final choice.
These parents were practising what
they preached: the need to recognise
each child's individuality. Many had
chosen a school because it suited
their eldest child, and had then made
a quite separate decision about the
younger children. In some cases,
the younger children had found the
same school congenial; in others,
they had not, and had been allowed
to go to another school.

However, in general they did


harbour serious reservations about
government schools.

Many parents thought their child was


not only unique but vulnerable and
in need of special care: they were
shy or quiet or fragile or sensitive,
and in a large and vulgar school
would be damaged or lost to sight.

They did not see the independent


sector as perfect, but they did believe
that if they looked around they
could find a school which suited, or
came close to suiting, their needs.
In general they saw these schools as
more stable, safer, more responsive
to the needs of individual pupils,
offering a wider range of facilities,
and attempting to better cater for
the social, cultural and (if required)
spiritual needs of the pupils than
did government schools.

Generally, the parents felt that the


school had allowed them to enter
into an active and genuine partnership with teachers and the principal
in the education of their children.
They regarded it as important that
the school was accessible and
accountable to them.
15

They felt empowered. They were


conscious that as paying customers
they had some consumer leverage
over the school -- and that in many
cases the school recognised this.

not the teachers. There was an air


of depression about it. It was
under-resourced. The teachers were
probably dedicated but there was
just an air . . . it was lacklustre.
We looked at the private school,
teachers seemed so much keener.
There was no comparison.

For some families, this choice had


involved considerable upheaval
shifting to a new town, long
commuting commitments or, in one
extreme case, the selling of a farm.
For many, the choice involved
considerable financial sacrifice and
even hardship.

We chose the philosophy. Montessori.


The kids chose their own high school.
Proximity for the boy, selective for
the girl, and it worked out well for
both. There was more emphasis on
the child (at Montessori). Likeminded parents, devoted teachers,
more chance of the child getting
more attention.

Reasons for choosing an


independent school
Good parental participation.

What worries me is other influences:


drugs, gangs. I have no objection
to sending our children to public
school, but these other influences
worry me.

Continuity and stability. Values,


philosophy. Unlikely to change
with funding cuts etc.
I was not happy with what I saw of
the discipline in local schools lack
of uniform, competition over clothing.
I chose a school with a sound
structure and a good exam record.

Independent schools are more


accountable to parents. It is important
how much control there is in the
school, how much vigilance, where
the parents can have an influence.

Needed a small school and there are


not many small government schools.

A more caring environment.

I looked for a small school, an


extended family rather than an
institution. A solid set of humane
values. I chose the school where
they talked about children!

We have a very quiet, shy girl who


could go through a school and no
one would know shed been there.
Where she is, she is known, shes
important and thats fantastic.

The state school was too big.


I didnt want them lost.

We shopped around. A big factor


was the headmistress for leadership
attributes. We looked at school
achievement; ancillary services;
general opinion.

I had the choice of a selective state


high school and private school.
I was told, They select the kids but
16

The most straightforward equitybased argument was that they paid


their taxes and therefore were entitled
to a measure of government assistance
with their childrens education.

The kids went to the interview and


the individual interests sold them.
I love my child. I'm sending him to
you every day. Love him as much
as I do, or nearly.

But some went further. They argued


that because they were paying their
taxes, they should get as much help
with their childs education as they
would if they were sending their
child to a government school.

It was out of necessity. We were


farming. The local school went
only to Year 10. We wanted the kids
to go to a co-educational school.
We sold the farm to get them into
a school I was comfortable with.
I couldnt see a future for the
daughters and without sons it
was difficult for me (broadacre
wheat farm).

And some went further still.


They asserted that so far from the
Government subsidising the
independent schools, they were in
fact subsidising the government system.
The bases for this argument were (a)
that the independent system was run
more efficiently and (b) that by
putting their children in independent
schools and paying fees to do so,
they were taking weight off the
government system and putting money
into the total education budget.

I didnt want to board my kids.


There were 289 Year 8s at the local
high school and he could easily be
lost in the system. Size makes a
difference. You have to be a very
special person to cope with that. Most
colleagues send kids to government
schools because they cant afford it
otherwise. You have to make a
choice. We dont have the flash
car, house and overseas holidays.

Their main economic argument was


that if their children went to government schools, it would cost the
Government more than it costs to
fund independent schools and that
in any case the government system
would collapse under the weight.

Why should the Government


fund independent schools?
Our respondents were universally
dogmatic, unhesitating and passionate
in presenting their arguments for
government funding of independent
schools.

A secondary economic argument


usually advanced by those from small
schools or by those who were really
struggling financially was that
without government funding, their
schools would close or they would no
longer be able to afford to send their
children to an independent school.

There were three main lines of argument:


equity-based,
economic, and
philosophic.
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The Government should give more


because non-government parents
pay taxes.

The philosophic line of argument


was based on the concept of choice.
Without exception our respondents
celebrated the idea that they had been
able to make a choice. For some,
this had been made at a heavy price.
However, it was a widely shared ideal
among them all that everyone should
be able to have a choice about their
childrens education if they wished.

The Government has a responsibility


to fund to a base level and Im
entitled to add to that.
I pay the same taxes as people who
send children to state schools and
a percentage of my taxes should go
towards my kids education as
everyone elses does.

The proponents of free secular and


universal education would argue
that the State is obliged to offer an
education of this kind, and that if
people chose not to take advantage
of it, they should bear the financial
consequences of their choice.

ECONOMIC

We subsidise the kids education


that the government would
otherwise have to pay for.

Confronted with this argument,


our respondents redefined choice.
To them, choice represented the
freedom to choose the type of
education they wanted, and to have
the state make at least a substantial
contribution. They believe this
choice should be open to everyone.

Government schools wouldnt


cope if we put our kids in the
government system.
Its like private health: we take
stress off the public system.

Parent arguments for


government funding of
independent schools

Its saving them loads. We deserve


what goes to the state kids, minus
the capital works.

EQUITY

Id like to see my tax portion used


to fund education at my school.

The Government is better off


spreading the dollars across all
schools that meet academic
standards.

We pay twice through taxes and fees.


Like the health system Im paying
tax for a public system as well as a
fee, so I dont see why I shouldnt
get some benefit from my taxes.

It costs the Government less if


you send your child to a private
school.
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You could ask: Why do parents


have to pay? It might be better to
have a more diverse government
system.

What would happen to the state


system if all these children turned
round and said, I want my place?
The state system could not support
them. So the Government has won
out in not providing schools.

We take a lot more trouble than


others do. The community will get
a better result from people
prepared to put in their own
money. The Government should
support us in that freedom of
choice.

Parents wouldnt be able to afford


private schooling otherwise.
The independent system is
subsidising the government system,
not the Government subsidising
the independent system.

That word choice is the key to the


whole thing.

To keep private education within


reach of less than tall poppies.

Government is probably not the


best equipped to provide education.
If they could run a system more like
private enterprise, theyd provide
a better and more efficient system
and with less bureaucracy.

Its cheaper for the Government to


fund private schools than to fully
fund a government school to
provide the service.
PHILOSOPHIC

The Government should be funding


all school systems whatever they
are so there is choice. It would be
awful if there was no choice.

There should be an education levy


like the Medicare levy. They are the
two fundamentals and should be
provided to everyone.

other publications from AISV


Directory of AISV Member Schools
Early Learning in Independent Schools ~ a Guide to Pre-School Programs
A Guide to Independent School Scholarships
Schooling Away From Home
(schools with boarding components and/or homestay programs)
An International Focus ~ in Victorian Independent Schools
Independent Schools ~ A Snapshot (brochure)
PUBLISHED BY THE ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS OF VICTORIA INCORPORATED

copies available from AISV


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