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 abc.net.au/news
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.