Greg W weighs into the debate – no pun intended. A good response, although I though McMorrow’s had much merit.

This article is from the January 2 issue of The Sydney Morning Herald Digital Edition. To subscribe for $4.50 a week, visit

The claim by Jim McMorrow and Lyndsay Connors that for 50 years ‘‘ Australia has been conducting a radical experiment in school funding’ ’ may be a good headline-grabber but does little to foster an environment for considered reflection by the community, nor add to the quality of the debate that needs to be had on this matter (‘‘ Faulty system in class of its own’’ , December 31-January 1).

The simple fact is that since the 1960s successive federal governments have provided funding to the non-government schools in response to growing demands for this option by increasing numbers of parents. While there are many factors to be considered in this growing demand, it is disingenuous to claim it as some sort of experiment.

Further, their gross generalisation that Catholic systemic schools which, by the way, educate about 20 per cent of all students in Australia, ‘‘ largely leave the costs of those growing up in low-income families to the public sector’ ’ ignores the reality of the demographic make-up of most Catholic systemic schools and does little service to their argument. Ultimately it leads to furthering a ‘‘ them and us’ ’ mentality.

The funding policy that flows from the Gonski report must ensure that both the government and non-government sectors provide every child in every school with a high-quality , wellpaid teacher who is committed to improving his or her craft; then we’ll have world-class schools. Let’s argue from what unites, not divides us. Our young people deserve nothing less.

Gregory Whitby

executive director of schools, Catholic Education Office, Diocese of Parramatta, North Parramatta

Copyright © 2012 The Sydney Morning Herald