9 December 2019

Tom Greenwell: “Australia’s hybrid system of government-funded schools, with its independent, Catholic and public sectors, sorts children into different schools on the basis of their social background, dramatically exacerbating variations in social geography. In 2011, 32 per cent of children at public schools came from the most disadvantaged quarter of Australian families. By 2018, that figure had grown to 36 per cent, more than double the proportion at Catholic schools (17 per cent) and independent schools (14 per cent). … [O]ur hybrid system, in which some schools receive public funding but are permitted to charge fees at whatever rate the market will bear, drives the segregation of Australian school students. … Far from being sector-blind or a cost-saver, government funding to non-government schools has grown to the extent that many receive more public funding than comparable government schools. … While massive taxpayer support is provided to non-government schools, they continue to be able to enrol, expel and charge fees as they please — and our schools have become more and more characterised by either privilege or poverty.”