Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Private schools cost taxpayers almost as much as public ones, report says

Different figures could no doubt have been produced by other researchers but that is not the main issue.  Choice is the issue.  Private schools give parents some choice of what sort of schooling they want for their kids.  They should be entitled to that. It's an important liberty.

Such schooling clearly saves the government on capital costs.  Governments don't build private schools. The school arrives at no cost to the taxpayer. State school building is a significant budget item for State governments.

How much it saves on running costs is only an issue for authoritarian Leftists who use the issue in an attempt to force all kids into one government-controlled mould:  Very Soviet

Governments would have been financially better off if all new enrolments since 2011 had gone to public schools, according to new research which questions the view that private schools lead to big taxpayer savings.

The paper debunks the oft-repeated claim that private schools save the public purse up to $8 billion a year, and argues the true figure is closer to $1 billion, and potentially less.

The School Money-go-round, by researcher and former principal Chris Bonnor and Sydney University academic Rachel Wilson, found the per-student taxpayer spend in some brackets of disadvantage is less at public than private schools.

"Since 2011, in fact, governments would have come out ahead [in terms of recurrent funding] if all new school enrolments had gone to public schools," Mr Bonnor said.
A new report says private schools save governments far less than most people think

A new report says private schools save governments far less than most people think Credit:Louie Douvis

The authors said the findings should lead to a national discussion over restructuring school funding, and prompt governments to make the non-government sector abide by the same rules as public schools. "They have no obligations to serve a wide variety of students," said Mr Bonnor.

Since the Gonski reforms, funding increases to private schools have outstripped those to public schools because the federal government, which provides most public funding to private schools, has met its targets faster than the states. States have a bigger cost because they are the majority funders of state schools, and there are two public schools for each private school.

By 2017 differences in per-student funding had narrowed to $13,300 in the public system, $11,500 for Catholic school students and $9600 in the independent sector on average, according to the most recent data from the My School website.

But the researchers argued those figures masked the fact that students in the public system were the most expensive to educate, because they had higher numbers of disadvantaged, Indigenous and disabled students.

When the authors - who also included the former principal of St Paul's Grammar, academic Paul Kidson - compared per-student spending on schools with similar students, the gap became much narrower.

Among disadvantaged schools, the median amount of per-student taxpayer money spent on Catholic students was highest at $14,350, followed by $13,850 in the independent sector and $13,450 in the government system.

When the researchers calculated the cost of funding all students at the same per-student cost of government students across all bands of disadvantage, they found the cost would be between $800 million and $1.1 billion.

"Advocates for school systems need to keep up to date with the changing financial situation," Mr Bonnor said. "Because non government schools charge fees, they are de facto selective schools on a socio-educational basis. In equivalent countries overseas, that doesn't happen."

Dr Wilson said there was increasing evidence that segregation eroded the quality of school systems. "Now is the time for a full, national discussion on this," she said. "There's a creeping awareness that across education we need some really bold reform.

"And these school funding arrangements would have to be central to how that would occur."

The chief executive of the Association of Independent Schools NSW, Geoff Newcombe, said one in three students attended private schools, and parents paid a third of the recurrent cost and 90 per cent of building costs.

"It is clear parents enrolling their children in non-government schools save taxpayers billions of dollars each year in recurrent and capital funding," he said. "Savings estimates will vary based on methodology.

Non-government schools are already required by governments to meet significant compliance obligations as part of their registration requirements. We welcome transparency and accountability."

A spokeswoman for the National Catholic Education Committee, said 2017 figures showed the Catholic system saved taxpayers $2.3 billion in savings from the amount deducted from the base level of government funding.

They also saved $1.3 billion in building costs. "Catholic schools funded 89 per cent of capital works with state and federal governments contributing only $152 million combined," she said. Private and public schools had different reporting requirements because they were different entities.

Peter Goss, the head of the school education program at the Grattan Institute, described the report as important, and said while the non-government sector would quibble over details, the central argument of the report was correct.

"Non-government schools no longer save taxpayers much at all," he said. "The sad reality is that unfairness is now baked into our school funding model.

"While Gonski 2.0 in 2017 was a big step forward, several policy decisions since then have taken us backwards. And we can’t even console ourselves by saying that we pay less tax because of it.”


'Are they saying we're all paedophiles?' Fury as fire bosses are ordered to SACK nearly 10,000 hero firefighters who haven't applied for 'working with children' checks

Almost 10,000 firefighters face losing their jobs for refusing to get a Blue Card to work with children.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said 60 of 20,000 QFES staff and volunteers who applied for a Blue Card were denied - and warned those who do not obtain one by the end of the month will be sacked.

Blue Cards can be denied to people with a history of serious offences including selling drugs, rape, murder, child abuse and burglary.

Mr Crawford said the 60 refusals was 'powerful evidence of the need for a Blue Card', The Courier Mail reported. He said due to the nature of the work many firefighters have to come into contact with children. 

A QFES spokesman said only 58 per cent of staff and volunteers had applied for a Blue Card despite being ordered to apply by January 1. The deadline was extended until the end of March. 

'Those who choose not to obtain a Blue Card will be choosing not to continue their role with QFES,' the spokesman said.

Veteran firefighter Will Giumelli said many in the industry had taken offence to the demand and a petition has been launched objecting to the Blue Card order. 'Are they saying we’re all bloody paedophiles?’ he said.

Rural Fire Brigades Association general manager Justin Choveaux said the move could leave many communities with no one to defend them next bushfire season.

He said many long serving firefighters had already resigned after repeated phone calls from the QFES.

'Let’s make children safe, but let’s also make communities safe by not losing their volunteer fire brigades,' Mr Choveaux said.

He said the RFB still has 8,578 staff and volunteers still needing to apply for a Blue Card.


Like polar bears, coral reefs are doing fine

Corals are animals, actually closely related to jelly fish but of course differing in that they have a limestone skeleton made up of calcium carbonate. Their growth rates can be studied to give us knowledge of the ocean and its sea level over thousands of years.

They have lived throughout the oceans of our planet for many thousand years. Over those many years they have experienced both much warmer and much colder periods of geologic time. The bleaching that they have experienced in the view of many climate alarmists is not a sign of their destruction or in fact ill health. It is not a sign that the end of the world as we know it is in sight,

The simple truth is that when a coral experiences any number of environmental changes which could be the chemistry of its surrounding water or its local temperature, the algae that inhabit and feed a coral are likely to find the environment less suitable and leave for greener pastures.

The change in color of the coral which alarmists call “bleaching “ is a result of one group of bacteria leaving and then another group of bacteria taking its place. When the first resident group is leaving the coral becomes whiter and as a new group moves in the coral takes on a new color. This new color is often mistaken as the corals death knell. The algae that moves in not only provides it a new color but is also the corals source of the food it needs to live.

While the Polar Bear has been the face of the global warming delusion, coral reefs have been close behind as an animal that will eventually go extinct if we do not stop using fossil fuels, emitting carbon dioxide and warming the planet, its atmosphere and its oceans. The reality is anything but that.

The Great Barrier Reef, stretching 1400 miles along the coast of Queensland, Australia is also a prominent “poster child “ for the supposed damage mankind is doing to our Earth. It is actually composed of nearly 3000 separate coral reefs, can be seen from space and is perhaps Australia’s greatest tourist attraction. It’s ultimate destruction by man-caused global warming (now called Climate Change of course), is used regularly to pull at the heartstrings of those who sadly buy into the delusion.

In fact, it is probable that no reef has received greater scrutiny, and been the subject of more research than the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), especially since the clamor to save it hit warp speed.

The late Robert M. Carter, Emeritus Fellow of the Australian Institute of Public Affairs, who was considered the world’s leading expert on the reef, wrote extensively about it in Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts. He explained that to quantify the trend in live coral cover of the GBR between 1995 and 2009, which the International Panel on Climate Change contends was the warmest decade and a half experienced by the planet in the past thousand years, annual surveys were performed. Marine biologists surveyed coastal communities each year on 47 reefs in six latitudes across about 700 miles of the GBR. They took samples at varying depths between 20 and 30 feet.

They found that coral cover increased in about half the regions and decreased in the other half as one would expect when nature operates without human intervention. Overall they concluded that coral cover was stable and that there was no evidence of “consistent system-wide decline in coral cover since 1995”.

Other research throughout the world has confirmed that corals are capable of reproductive activities under extreme environmental conditions. There is now a growing body of evidence to support the notion that corals inhabiting more thermally unstable habitats outperform reefs characterized by more stable temperatures.

In sum and a little more erudite: coral bleaching is an adaptive strategy for shuffling symbiont genotypes to create associations better adapted to new environmental conditions, as opposed to a breakdown of stable relationships that serves as a symptom of degenerating environmental conditions.

In the words of the late Robert Carter “the Great Barrier Reef is in fine fettle”.


Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is baulking at the implications of the federal government’s royal commission into bushfires

The Victorian government is withholding support for Scott Morrison’s black summer bushfire royal commission, threatening the credibility of the inquiry and a nationally co-ordinated approach to natural disasters.

Constitutional lawyers said a refusal by a state to participate in the royal commission could prevent Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, who will lead the inquiry, from accessing that state’s documents and compelling high-level public servants to give evidence.

NSW and South Australia have already issued letters patent while Queensland and Western Australia have signed up and begun processes to deliver their letters patent as requested.

But Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews’s spokesman said: “We continue to consider Victoria’s involvement in the federal bushfire royal commission.”

Mr Andrews is concerned about the encroachment of commonwealth powers into areas of state responsibility.

Mr Morrison has asked the commission to look at whether the commonwealth should be able to declare a state of national emergency and be given clearer authority to take action.

He has also said hazard reduction, native vegetation management, building standards and planning laws should remain a state responsibility, but called for “national consistency” after the bushfires burned through states along the east coast.

Monash University constitutional law professor Luke Beck said the issuing of state letters patent meant the federal royal commission became a simultaneous state royal commission.

He said there was uncertainty over whether a federal royal commission could compel the handover of state documents and appearances of state witnesses without the letters patent being issued by all levels of government.

University of NSW constitutional law expert George Williams said it was likely Mr Morrison wanted the full co-operation of the states because a key component of the royal commission was looking into the responsibilities of and co-ordination between commonwealth, state, territory and local governments in preparing for and responding to bushfires.

“It’s hardly a good start if the states don’t sign on,” Professor Williams said.

“They (the federal government) don’t need (the states to sign on) to hold the royal commission, but they do need it if the commission wants to have credibility and to genuinely deliver a co-ordinated national plan or response.”

Mr Morrison took the unprecedented step of calling out 3000 ADF reservists on a compulsory basis to help the bushfire recovery in early January.


 Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

No comments: