Monday, September 20, 2004

Robert Manne

Robert Manne has an interesting article in today's age. He makes some very interesting inferences as to why Labor's tax and family package benefits dual income families over single income families. But his assessment of Labor's education policy leaves a little to be desired. I would probably agree with him that it was not smart politically, as we have seen a lot of negative press concerning the cuts rather than the boosts, but Manne suggests that it is bad policy as well
'The reduction of public funds from private schools is not only dubious politics; it is a policy mistake. Parents most affected by this will be those struggling to pay their private school fees. As a result such schools will become even more exclusive than is the case. In my opinion it would have been far more sensible if, instead of promising to reduce public funds to private schools, Labor had devised a scheme for opening such schools to a broader social base by making the continued provision of public funding to high-fee-charging schools contingent on their willingness to make an agreed proportion of their places available to less affluent students through a fully government-funded and carefully means-tested scholarship scheme.'

This seems very odd to me. He seems to be saying that there should be more access to private schools rather than improving the funding to public schools. He proposes a fundamentally wrong scholarship program for poorer people to access private schools. This is really a serious proposition. He is implying that we should maintain the elite level of private schooling whilst funding people that wouldn't be able to afford it to leave the public system. I don't see how this is meant to strengthen our public education system. It just reinforces these top schools as 'the best' when this clearly shouldn't be the case in an equitable system.
Cost of the War in Iraq
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