Tim Dunlop has already posted on this noxious little comment from the bespectacled toad we laughingly refer to as Australia's Prime Minister:
People are looking increasingly to send their kids to independent schools for a combination of reasons. For some of them, it's to do with the values-driven thing; they feel that government schools have become too politically correct and too values-neutral.
Tim wonders how you can be politically correct and values neutral at the same time. So do I. I'm also unimpressed by this piece of Howard illogic:
The existing arrangements work quite well and the fact is that 78 per cent of all government funding goes to government schools, while they attract 69 per cent of the pupils.
I think it's just a fundamental exercise in choice. You can't stop that, and you shouldn't try to.
This is a very neat way of turning the issue arse about; what needs to be justified is the 22% of government funding which goes to private organisations in the business of selling education on a fee-for-service basis, not the percentage which goes to government schools. Howard seems to have forgotten the reasons government schools exist; such as the long held belief that every child has the right to an education and all the rest of that jazz.
The choice stuff is pure ideology and a pretty shonky basis for funding private schools, if you're serious about all those other good conservative values like personal responsibility and living with the consequences of your own silly choices and all the rest of that moralising guff. If people choose to send their kids to private schools, I say fine, let 'em - as long as they're prepared to shoulder the financial consequences. It's a lot better for the dignity of the parents and students than promoting a hand-out mentality by subsidising the upper class ponces and wannabe upper class ponces who infest the likes of Geelong Grammar and Sydney's Trinity College.