Saturday, August 26, 2006

rant #7554

I've said it before so it's really no surprise when I say that I have little time for private schools and their shenanigans regarding 'extra funding' and the like. I'm a big supporter of state schools. I don't believe in paying through your teeth for an education. In fact I hate it. I believe education should be a right that everyone enjoys regardless of socio economic status. Not something that is held up like a carrot and dangled over the heads of families who can only just afford to make the ends meet after paying off their mortgage and bills every month (read: most of the population). Maybe it's because I went to a state school and so did most of my friends. We all got into university and/or the work force by working our arses off. I don't support buying your way into university and I will never support the boys club (or the sorority mothers club) shaking hands under the business table in order to give little Joey a go in big business. Fuck yas. I say.

So with that in mind you can imagine me so eloquently puking my guts out when I heard this little piece of news. It seems that Haileybury College, an elite (or so they say) school located in the outskirts of Melbourne has been poaching a number of high flying students from surrounding schools and offering them scholarships to study Haileybury. This, of course gives the school an instant chance when it comes to the much coveted top 20 position in those "best schools" lists. Not only that: If a school can afford to poach a whole volleyball team for an $18,000 a year scholarship then they have waaaay too much money to burn. Either they are not using their tuition as they should (on their students) or they are being given too much government funding (don't even get me started). It's also a slap in the face of those parents who scrimp and save and go without other things in order to send their children to these private schools, on a full tuition. Meanwhile teachers in government schools are oft found in the local stationary shop buying up pencils so their students have something to write with.

I realise campaining for students is a symptom of a larger problem of our schools trying to compete for funding and uni places - especially now that there are so many fee paying places (grr!!!). In order to be more attractive to prospective parents schools find themselves under pressure to offer an impressive (ridiculous) range of extra curricula activities, present an image of high academic success and show they have wide arms that reach right into the job market - that will ensure that John/Jane will have a little leg up should s/he need it. Life has never been fair, and money makes money and you may argue "if you got it, flaunt it" but that just pisses me off when it comes to something so important as education. What else do we have to give us a lift out of poverty but education (and health, mind you)? I prefer the playing field in these cases to be a little more fair. I find the whole mess sickening, really.