Saturday, November 17, 2007

clarifying the view from here

In a recent post titled the view from here, I expressed dismay at the way in which education funding was being discussed in Canada. Our federal elections are coming up and funding of independent schools is one small issue among many. An excellent example of how things are discussed here is provided below:

There are many perspectives on school funding, but the two main views tend to boil down to whether you fund schools on the basis of need or on the basis of entitlement. Giving more support to those in want is a principle enshrined in Judeo-Christian ethics, philanthropy and civic duty. Giving everyone their entitled share is enshrined in principles of equity and fairness.

Neither argument in its purest form is appropriate for schools funding. There needs to be a judicious mix of both to arrive at a sensible policy.

An extreme expression of the entitlement approach is the "voucher system", which would see a per capita grant made available to every student. It would be enough to fund them at a public school, but it could also be used to defray the cost of a private education. It's fair, perhaps, but it may be the death knell for several public schools, particularly those in disadvantaged areas.

An extreme expression of needs-based funding involves giving no money to "rich" schools, even though their families pay often significant taxes. It's fair, perhaps, but it erodes the right of entitlement and choice.

The present funding of independent schools according to the presumed wealth of parents is a needs-based model. It may not be perfect, but it is a much improved model on the messy funding method inherited by the Howard Government. The criteria are apolitical, transparent and sensible, and federal Labor has had difficulty improving upon them.

source: Tim Hawkes: Funds squabble impoverishes schools

It's all about rich and poor here and the entire discussion revolves around fundamental Judeo-Christian principles as Hawkes affirms. It makes a hell of a lot more sense than the Canadian situation in which "faith-based" education is the key concern.

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