Almost 137 years ago the Public Instruction Act of 1880 instituted free, secular and compulsory education to enable children, regardless of religion, race, creed or class, to sit, in the words of Henry Parkes, 'side by side' in their local public school.
Public Education Day provides an opportunity each year to reflect on the nation-building that starts with children sitting side by side in a public school.
Public education is profoundly democratic for it does more than educate an individual; it brings together children and young people from a range of diverse backgrounds and creates community. In doing so, public education strengthens the social, economic and cultural fabric of our nation.
On this day we also recognise that funding to public schools is under attack from those that would seek to increase the gap between the advantaged and disadvantaged. Our national TAFE system is being threatened by an ideologically driven market-based model.
So, on Public Education Day 2017, teachers, parents and community members will continue to fight side by side against the forces of privilege and privatisation.
This has been our tradition. This will be our pledge
NSW Teachers Federation