Principles of Public Education
The public system must deliver equal opportunity for all children to develop their abilities to the fullest, regardless of where those children attend school. This will be achieved through:
- Strong core curriculum
- The recognition and addressing of disadvantage
- An equitable distribution of adequate numbers of qualified and skilled teachers
The public school system is primarily concerned with the education and welfare of its students. School and system administration must reflect the primacy of teaching and learning.
The central relationship in schooling is that between student, teacher and parent. This relationship should be reflected in decision making throughout the system.
A successful public education system is one which provides a service to the community and attracts students because of the availability of that service. To see this service in market place terms is totally inappropriate. Governments must be held accountable for public education and not allowed to privatise this vital public service, or to separate themselves from responsibility for resourcing schools adequately by transferring those responsibilities onto local administration.
A strong public education system with a well-qualified and supported teaching profession, free from political interference, is among our greatest safeguards of democracy.
This profession must have:
- Appropriate pre-service teacher training
- Substantial opportunities to enhance professional expertise
- Assessment and promotions systems which enhance professionalism
No system of education can flourish unless it develops and supports the profession of teaching.
Public schools must be able to continually attract new teachers and retain the experienced teachers. Not only should teachers receive public support in their work, but they should also receive working and employment conditions which are competitive and attractive. Among the major benefits of teaching in the public education system are security, tenure and a state-wide transfer and promotions system.
A public education system flourishes with active parent and community involvement. To ensure this, opportunities must be created to strengthen parent and community participation.
(From Education, Volume 72, Number 11, 29 July 1991 : front page.)