An Indecent Education

13 March 2013

A couple of nights ago, I watched a television discussion with the Minister for Education, Peter Garratt, and the Shadow Minister for Education, Christopher Pyne.

A student in the audience said that he hoped to become a teacher and intended to work in State schools so that he could teach the children of parents who were unable to afford a decent education.

Neither of the Ministers made any comment on this, or any attempt to refute the suggestion that a State education isn’t a “decent education”.

This reminded me of the time I was working in North West Australia.  An English friend was asked by his Australian workmate “Are you educated?”.  My friend said “Yes, aren’t you?”.  To which the Australian replied “No, I went to State school”.

I’ve met many perfectly well-educated Australians who’ve attended State schools but no wonder the State education system feels neglected if neither the Ministers responsible for it nor the ex-pupils are willing to defend it.



  1. Interesting. I’m beginning to hear some of the “state-school” education comments being made in the U.S. as privatized schools become more established (and state funding moves from the state schools to the private schools). I suspect there are more funding and staffing challenges in our state schools, but I believe what you get out of school depends on what you put into it.

  2. Hi Sal
    My daughter was educated in state schools and now had PhD after her name. It’s what u do with what you’re given that matters, not what school you attend.

    • I hate to think that anyone would consider a State education to be sub-standard. I think the records show that paying large sums of money does NOT guarantee that your child will do exceptionally well. As you say, it’s “what you’re given that matters”. The attitude of the parents (and child), the quality of the teachers, the help that is offered to those who have learning problems, or for whom English isn’t their first language – all add up to the “outcomes” of the schools. We see every year children from refugee families arriving in Australia with little or no English, attending a State school and then topping the State in their HSC results. Congratulations to your daughter who I know has done exceptionally well and of whom you’re naturally very proud!

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