Monday, September 28, 2020

Qlders say private education is too expensive, experts warn the extra cost brings little benefit

This is transparent nonsense. It included ALL Queenslanders when it is only middle class parents who can afford it. What people think who cannot afford it is irrelevant. Around 40% of Queensland teenagers go to a private school so there are plenty who think it is worthwhile, almost the whole of the middle class, one surmises.

I sent my son to a private school and thought nothing of the fees. I got value for money in several ways — including orderly classrooms and some male teachers

I am also sponsoring a very bright lad in Scotland to the tune of $33,00 a year. With my help he is going to a top private school so that his opportunities in later life will be commensurate with his abilities. What school you went to is immensely important in Britain

Queenslanders have sounded the alarm over exorbitant school fees, with 60 per cent of Sunshine State residents saying the price of private education is too high, The Courier-Mail’s Your Say sentiment survey has found.

The survey, which garnered responses from 8000 Sunshine State residents, revealed 60 per cent of Queensland parents thought private schools were too expensive.

The Courier-Mail this year revealed that All Hallows’ School increased fees by 5.5 per cent to $11,450 for Year 7 in 2020.

Elite Brisbane Grammar School secondary fees are $27,540 per year, while sister school Brisbane Girls Grammar’s fees for Years 7-12 are $25,782 per year.

Southwest Queenslanders felt private education would cause the most hip pocket pain, with 64.72 per cent saying private education is too costly, followed by those who live in other southeast areas at 63.61 per cent.

Queenslanders in northern Greater Brisbane areas were the third most likely to think private school is too expensive with 60.85 per cent of residents in the area sounding the alarm over fees.

Sunshine Coast residents followed closely behind with 59.93 per cent objecting to private education costs, only slightly ahead of 59.08 per cent Central Queenslanders, and 59.03 per cent Far North Queenslanders.

Of those living in south Greater Brisbane, 58.8 per cent objected to private school costs, followed by 57.64 per cent of Gold Coast respondents.

The Sunshine State residents least likely to object to fees were North Queenslanders with just 54.14 per cent objecting to the costs of private education.

Southern Cross University associate professor David Zyngier said the average cost of educating a high school student was around $15,000 per annum.

“That’s the set costs for the average student so any private or non government school that charges more than $15,000, one has to ask the question what are they doing with that,” he said.

“If they’re charging $25,000 or $30,000, then parents should be asking themselves what they get for that additional money,” he said.

He explained that while parents pay more fees at independent schools, both public and private education outcomes balance out.

“Parents have been sold a story that private is better and unfortunately it is not,” Prof Zyngier said. “When you compare private schools (and public schools) with the same socio-economic status … the public school does better.”

UQ senior lecturer in education Dr Anna Hogan said there had been a trend of increasing public school enrolments.

“There seems to be an understanding in the public school sector, that middle-class parents who have the choice to pay for school fees are actually starting to more closely consider what they’re paying for education,” she said.

Parents were questioning why they would pay $30,000 in elite school costs when their children could have a good education at a select public school, she said.

He said private education meant smaller class sizes, more extra-curricular and sporting activities and more opportunities for their three children.

“There’s a strong sense of community and connections for later in life,” he said.

“I didn’t go to a private school but I personally feel the opportunities of private schools are better than what I had.”


Call for Australia to adopt new ‘ring fencing’ virus approach

One of Australia‘s top health experts has called on the Australian government to introduce a new technique to contain the COVID-19 virus as the country moves towards reopening.

Professor Mary-Louise McLaws, an epidemiologist and World Health Organisation advisor, said “ring fencing” of certain hotspots should be adopted moving forward.

“We have at least a year-and-a-half before the vaccine is found and produced in large enough numbers to be rolled out and I can only say that really we are a small country with a population, but a larger physical country,” Prof McLaws told ABC.

“We need to have a national approach to reduce borders so that people can move around and have a national agreement to what is a rapid response so that we can just ring-fence small clusters so that Australians can freely move around our country for work and pleasure.”

Prof McLaws also warned against fast-tracking Victoria‘s roadmap out of lockdown, saying it could undo all the work residents have done to reduce virus cases.

“Given the numbers and the success that the Victorians had to date, I can‘t see too many restrictions being eased other than the 5km area that people are allowed to move around in because Victorians, and particularly the Melbourne public, only have 26 more days to go until they reach their goal of less than five cases per day,” she said.

“If they continue on the downward decline in numbers, they will get there. I would just recommend sticking with the plan and maybe letting them move more than 5km to give them a compassionate break from the challenges that they have had to deal with so far.”


Better than Sweden

While Sweden is often cited in debates over how best to balance health and economic considerations in response to the coronavirus, Prime Minister Scott Morrison doesn’t think Australia should be following that country’s model of lax restrictions.

Speaking on Sky News this week, the Prime Minister said June quarter GDP showed Australia’s economy had experienced one of the “lowest falls of any developed country”.

“Our economy fell by 7 per cent. Devastating, absolutely devastating. But compared to the rest of the world, it was one of the lowest falls of any developed country,” Mr Morrison said.

“And when you look at our health results, both on the case incidents in Australia of COVID and the upsetting number of deaths that we’ve had compared to overseas, I mean, I know a lot of people on your program talk about Sweden. Well, Sweden has had a bigger fall in their economy and they’ve had almost 20 times the number of deaths.”

Indeed, Sweden’s economy tumbled 8.3 per cent in the June quarter, compared with Australia’s drop of 7 per cent.

However, Mr Morrison’s claim that Sweden has had almost 20 times the number of deaths is wide of the mark.

According to data compiled by US-based Johns Hopkins University, Australia had recorded 859 COVID-19 deaths (as of September 23), while Sweden had suffered 5,870 deaths. While Sweden’s death count is much higher than Australia’s, it is only seven times the number of deaths seen in Australia.

While Mr Morrison referred to the number of deaths when comparing the two nations, a comparison of the rate of deaths in both countries more closely aligns with his claim.

On those figures, Sweden’s rate of deaths per million people is 576.62 compared with Australia’s rate of 34.37. That means the Nordic nation has suffered a death rate more than 16 times that of Australia.


Labor’s Joel Fitzgibbon threatens to quit shadow cabinet over emissions target

The veteran New South Wales Labor rightwinger Joel Fitzgibbon has threatened to quit the shadow cabinet if the opposition adopts a medium-term emissions reduction target he cannot live with.

In a significant escalation of Labor’s internal dispute about climate and energy policy, Fitzgibbon made the threat during an interview with Guardian Australia’s politics podcast.

The shadow resources minister said he would not quit the party over the issue. “I’m 58 years of age… I’ve been in the party for almost 40 years, I am too old to rat.”

But he said if Labor’s landing point on an emissions reduction target for the 2030s was “so offensive to me, if it didn’t keep faith with our traditional base, if it was fundamentally wrong and harmful, I would not criticise it from the shadow cabinet, I would have no choice but to go and do so from another position”.

Fitzgibbon said if the forthcoming shadow cabinet deliberation on the medium term target was a “fair fight and I just lost” then he would sell the collective decision even though it was “not my preferred position obviously”.

But asked whether the party leader, Anthony Albanese, would continue to enjoy his support if he insisted on Labor adopting a target Fitzgibbon could not live with, the shadow resources minister said: “I’d have to consider my position at the time.

“I wouldn’t overtly challenge it from the shadow cabinet, I’d have to make a decision about that”.

Albanese told the National Press Club in June Labor would set a medium-term target for the 2030s “based on science”, and the climate change spokesman, Mark Butler, has made that commitment several times since the 2019 election.

Fitzgibbon said he accepted the science of climate change, and had signed off on Labor’s policy of net zero emissions by 2050. But he has dug in his heels about the medium term target, first saying Labor should adopt the same position as the Coalition, then arguing Labor should not set one at all.

On the podcast, Fitzgibbon said first that he would accept the collective decision on the medium term target, pointing with unusual candour to his record of selling policies he didn’t support after collective decisions, including during the 2019 election.

“Gee I wish I could show you videos of me before the last election backing in things I hated, standing at the National Press Club and debating David Littleproud and ferociously backing in Labor’s policy.”

But later his position hardened, with the clear threat about quitting the shadow cabinet if the policy is not to his liking.

Fitzgibbon suffered a significant negative swing in his safe Hunter Valley seat at the 2019 election, and he contends ambitious climate change policies have contributed to Labor’s election defeats federally since 2013. He said voters in the regions now think Labor panders to inner city interests and disdains workers in traditional industries.

He argues Scott Morrison has made it much harder for Labor to resolve a medium term target by promoting a gas-led recovery from the coronavirus. While colleagues have criticised the prime minister’s announcements, arguing they lack substance, Fitzgibbon said Labor should let the prime minister roll out his agenda.

Fitzgibbon said it was unlikely Morrison would be able to implement many policies to lock in gas before the next election, but “if he rushes along that path, what does the Labor party do then? Do we say we are going to pull all that back and go down our own path?

“Now that’s an open question, and I don’t mind saying I will be internally urging my people to let him go his way, let this be his problem now, he’s the government, we lost. One of the consequences of losing … is you don’t get to call the shots.”

While Fitzgibbon’s front-running has some support within the caucus, and among some in the trade union leadership, his campaign has also infuriated and dismayed many colleagues. While his views have grabbed the headlines, many in Labor believe the party cannot retreat from climate action both on the merits of the issue, and politically.

Australian political history shows internal fights about climate change can be lethal for leaders of the major parties. But Fitzgibbon said Albanese would lead Labor to the next election.

“I’ve been around these games for a long time and there’s not even a hint, or a whisper, and very importantly he continues to enjoy my support.”

But Fitzgibbon suggested there was room to improve. “I think Albo is doing as well as an opposition leader could in Covid. I think this is a period where the power of incumbency is very, very significant.

“Not even a young Bob Hawke as opposition leader would be cutting through too much. But there’s a message in that for us too, to have a bit of a rethink ourselves about our approach. The last thing the Labor party can afford to be at the moment is a party of protest. It has to look like an alternative government.”

He said voters federally only “come to us when they are tiring of or angry at the other mob and when we don’t look too scary, and at the last election we made ourselves look as scary as we possibly could”.

“It’s as if we worked at it.”


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

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