Prof. Rachel Wilson

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Public Education Day

Public Education is the foundation for strong and flourishing democracies. It serves to provide opportunity for all, within a schooling system that promotes inclusion, diversity and shared experience. The world's top education systems are built on public education and homogeneity in educational provision. Yet, here in Australia we are drifting away from those ideals, with irrefutable evidence of increasing inequity in school funding, increasing segregation between schools, and a lack of fairness.

Australian Public education continues to be driven by teachers with deep commitment to the above ideals, although the system frameworks and circumstances present them with ever increasing challenges. Today I salute all those working to preserve and strengthen public education and the many teachers working under duress and personally shouldering additional burdens in order to support their students. Thank you.

I ask that governments attend to the inequities in our system that are a constant restraint on Australian prosperity and amplify all the challenges we are currently facing. It doesn't matter which political orientation you hold, education is undeniably the engine of economy, and we will all pay a high price for continued inequity.

The current crisis provides an opportunity to re-envision Australian education. We must listen to our experts - public school teachers. We must make full and frank assessment of our schooling systems, and bold, long-term plans. Australian public education, schools, teachers, parents and students are at the heart of how we can address the COVID-19 crisis and benefit from bold change long into the future.

Professor Rachel Wilson