Category Archives: private school funding

Will the Senate get it right?

The 7.30 report tonight discussed how the Senate is due to discuss private school funding.

A vote is expected in the Senate late tonight on the Government’s controversial $28 billion assistance package for private schools. The Coalition is resisting key elements of the bill, including a national curriculum and public disclosure of the finances of non-government schools. The nation’s top private schools have condemned the public disclosure provisions accusing the Government of a hidden agenda to cut funding, but the Government strongly denies this.

The transcript should be up tomorrow as well as the podcast if you missed it.

Of course the religious private schools are crying foul and don’t think they should disclose where all their money comes from. The interviewees came up with all sorts of lame reasons why they should be above everyone else when it comes to full monetary disclosure, but it was easy to read between the lines:

We don’t want people to find out how rich we are, because the government might not give us as much tax-free taxpayers money.

May write more once the transcript is up.

From the paper a couple of weeks ago, the private schools complaining why they shouldn’t have to disclose where their income comes from, comes this quote:

… half the present courses being scrapped and possibly prohibit the teaching of intelligent design in Christian schools.

Oh dear, the Christian schools, that get vast amounts of tax-free taxpayer’s money, might not be able to afford to teach ID, how sad. </sarcasm>

By all accounts private schools get 2/3 of education funding but only teach 1/3 of all students, how the heck is that right?

update 3 Dec

The Senate vetoed the bill last night, the main reason being stated is that the opposition are not happy with the national curriculum. from

Last night the Opposition and Family First Senator Steve Fielding combined to remove the parts of the bill relating to a national curriculum.

But the Government will not accept the amendments when the bill is returned to the Lower House.

The government wants to have a national curriculum for all schools, but, somewhat unfortunately, the curriculum isn’t finalised yet. Hence the opposition and Senator (right-wing fundamentalist religious party) Fielding are saying they can’t pass the bill not knowing what’s going to be in the final draft of the national curriculum. On the face of it this would seem a somewhat reasonable stance, however (donning sceptical hat) I don’t think this is what it is really about. (donning educated guessing hat) I would assume the government’s national curriculum is going to be conservative and aimed to ensure  students throughout Australia all get taught the same basic subject matter (reading, writing, arithmetic), I can’t imagine it’s going to have any outlandish subjects that have to be taught.

So, even though the final draught hasn’t been released, what could possibly be worrying Senator Fielding and members of the opposition? May I hazard a guess, they are worried that the new national curriculum will ban teaching ID and dedicated religious subjects? Who knows?

As Matt points out in the comments not all religious schools teach ID or Creationism, in fact some have very good biology subjects. However there are some schools that teach these subjects, or whilst teaching evolution also teach that the bible is the ultimate authority, hence confusing young impressionable minds.

Have a look at my post A Christian Education for some further information on this topic.



Filed under christian, politics, private school funding, public school funding

I’m taking my bat and going home

The Independent Schools Coucil of Australia (ISCA) has threatened to close private schools if the schools funding bill is not passed by Federal Parliament by the end of this year. This is just a scare tactic by the ISCA to bully the government in to handing over money to predominately religious bodies and to try to avoid being properly accounatble for it.

Not surprisingly the ISCA is not happy about having to reveal their funding sources.

“We consider this to be intrusive and unnecessary and will almost certainly lead to a divisive public debate,”  (from

How is it any more intrusive for other money making companies that have to reveal their sources of funding and submit fully audited records? If you want my tax dollars I want to know your financial affairs.

What is so wrong about a public debate on public spending to private schools anyway? Yes it might be divisive when people finally have the blinds removed from their eyes and see how much taxpayers dollars are being spent in order to further religious dogmas. It might be divisive when people wake up and realise that the very rich religious organisations put very little of their own money into their schools. I think the only reason the ISCA are woried about the “divisive public debate” is because they might lose their golden goose.


Filed under isca, politics, private school funding, public school funding, religion

The things you read…

1. Catholic priest Father David O’Hearn has been stood down from his Nelson Bay parish pending investigation of a professional conduct matter. The Herald understands police are involved in the investigation. Another priest, Father Peter Brock, was stood down from his Maitland parish in late last year, it’s suspected police are involved in that investigation also. I wonder what’s going on in the Hunter Valley?

2. Lots of talk about the rejection of the proposal to build a Muslim school in Camden in the news. There has been some bigotry in some of the arguments against the Quranic Society school (and we seem to have a new Pauline Hanson) but you have to wonder why they need a school for 1200 when there are only 211 Muslims in the area? Personally I don’t care what religion a school supports, I just don’t see any need for religious based schools at all. I don’t see how they can be a good thing, I also don’t see how single sex schools can be a good thing.

The opinion piece tries to argue that specialist (read single faith) schools can help integrate or assimilate migrants and states that religious schools remain as important as ever.

They provide a possibly marginalised immigrant group with education which is both sympathetic to minority concerns, and mainstream in orientation.

I can’t see how mainstream a single faith school is going to be. Sure, if government oversees the school and ensures they stick to the state curriculum then they will at least get mainstream education. On the other hand they will be indoctrinated with the particular single faith beliefs, perpetuating false ideas and leading to further ‘us and them’ mentality. Wouldn’t it be better for all children to go to non-denominational government schools where no particular religion is taught?

3. A US soldier has been suspended for distributing coins to Iraqis that quote the Bible. US troops have also been accused of acting like Christian missionaries and that the Iraqi occupation is a Crusader war. Well Duh! When your President says God told him to invade Iraq and atheist soldiers have been victimised by their own countrymen it hardly comes as a surprise that there are elements of a Crusader war.


Filed under Catholic, Muslim, private school funding, religion

New funding model for public schools

Surprise surprise, the new Labor government has realised that the public schools might not be funded as well as some of the private schools. Why private (read, religious) schools should get any money off the government, let alone the enormous amounts they currently do, is a question unto itself. However, it looks like the federal government is at least looking at improving the public school funding model. From the SMH on-line:

The Federal Government says the model of funding for private schools on a socio-economic basis could soon be extended to public schools.

If the government believes this will provide more money to some public schools, isn’t that an admission that the private schools are being over-funded? So why don’t they just cut money to the private schools and give it to the public schools?


Opposition Leader, Brendan Nelson, has had his right of reply. He’s worried that the new funding model may take funds from one public school to boost funds in another public school. Don’t worry Nelson, if the government is smart and brave enough, they’ll  take it off those over-funded private schools.


Filed under atheism, atheist, private school funding, public school funding, religion

Why are we paying to teach ID?

The SMH has been headlining the weekend news with stories of taxpayers over funding private schools to the tune of $2b (yes, that is two Billion dollars). As if that isn’t bad enough, it turns out that some of this money is going to schools which teach Creationism and/or Intelligent Design! Sean the Blogonaut has been discussing this problem at his blog.

I provided Sean with the links to the applicable SMH articles, which make quite interesting, and somewhat disturbing, reading:

Taxpayers owed $2b

Loophole keeps schools in clover

Opinion – In black and white, the unfairness of school funding

The Government needs to plug-up these loopholes and stop providing so much money to private schools.

The opinion piece, and one of the letters to the editor, question why nothing has been done about this. One would think the current Government could have a field day blaming the previous government for this fiasco. Then making themselves look good by fixing it. It’s been two days since the report in Saturdays SMH was released and not a peep out of the Government. Is it because a large portion of this money is going to the Catholic school system?


Filed under atheism, atheist, christianity, creationism, ID, news, politics, private school funding, religion