Public Education Day 2020
A well-funded, fully resourced public education system is the cornerstone of a strong democracy and a fair society.
You don’t build a strong economy without a fully-resourced public education system.
You don’t plan for the future without valuing and investing in teachers.
You don’t create a vibrant, caring and diverse society by widening the gap in education resource funding, giving to those that have too much and taking from those that have too little.
All of this was obvious long before the pandemic. Now it is even more patently clear. At a time of global crisis, the massive fault-lines of inequality and injustice are revealed in neoliberalism. Now, more than ever, it’s time to redress the disparity in school funding; it’s time to value and respect public educators; it’s time to make sure that every child is able to enjoy an education of the highest quality in a safe and inclusive environment. In the words of Gough Whitlam: ‘We are all diminished when any of us are denied proper education.’
Education is a human right. It should not be treated as a commodity. Which is why the public education system should be properly resourced and funded. Public education is a powerful reminder that there are some things too precious to leave to the market. Public schools, and the educators who work in them, are a bulwark against growing inequality; a defence of democracy; a space for creativity, learning and respect; a building block for a more equitable society.
I am deeply proud to support and celebrate Public Education Day.
Dr John Falzon OAM
Senior Fellow, Inequality and Social Justice