Social Justice and Schooling
Social stratification in the educational system is one of the factors affecting countries like Australia. More specifically, the imbalance has created huge gaps in the educational system between the rich and poor. Several reasons have been advanced attempting to explain the differences in societal classes. However, one point remains synonymous with all parties, rich and poor. The effects of social class stratification on the educational system have huge implications on the final consumers of education (Hauser & Featherman, 2013). Children in the lower social class receive fewer resources and would most likely end up crammed in deplorable conditions (Kenway, 2013). The children in higher classes are able to learn from schools having all necessary facilities. These two schools classified as either public and private schools reveal huge differences in amount of resources. The latter has been associated with lack of resources and children from poor social backgrounds while the former is associated with increased amounts of resources and children from higher social standing. It is a fact that education plays a critical role in the development of all children across the whole nation. Education might be the only solution in addressing different social needs of the society and impacting knowledge to all people. Education is not supposed to divide the different social classes in the society since this would mean that certain aims such as those wanting to make the society equitable won’t be achieved (Kenway, 2013). Instead of education being the solution to address disparities in society, it has further widened the gap between different social classes resulting in inequitable distribution of resources. Parents have the right to take their children to private schools instead of public schools. Parents cannot be blamed for the social injustices that relate to either type of schools. The government and other institutions have funded private schools in a much better way as compared to public schools.
The Gonski report showed the major deviations and supported the arguments that private schools were more equipped compared to public schools. The findings identified differences in resources between public and private schools. It also noted that performance of students had declined over the past decade. They also noted that there was a large gap between high and low-performing students. Additionally, schools were not equipped to support some children. The findings also identified that there was lack of coordination between all forms of government. Lastly, the findings also showed that school capital and infrastructure was uncoordinated by the different parties (Australia. Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, & Gonski, 2011). Some of these recommendations proposed by the report illustrated the wide differences between the two forms of schools. The first recommendation required the government to increase flow of funds towards disadvantaged schools. The recommendations required that government increases the amount of allocation provided to public schools. It also established rates that were going to be used by different parties (Australia. Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, & Gonski, 2011). A new schooling resource standard to determine funding for all school in different sectors. Loading of the extra costs of education was never to be introduced to children coming from poorly disadvantaged communities. The report also required that public school funding to be fully funded by the government while those of private schools were to be based on anticipated levels of contributions (Australia. Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, & Gonski, 2011). The recommendations attempted to solve the inequalities between private and public funded schools (Kenway, 2013). Essentially, there existed a huge gap between the amount of resources that was being invested in private and public schools.
Most parents take their children to private schools because they have the ability to do so. It is inherent to parents to send their children to schools that have enough resources so that they can receive a better education. The fact that some parents want the best for their children should not be used as a weapon against private schools. Private schools are catered for by independent investors and would in most cases receive funds to boost their education standards (Kenway, 2013). Parents also contribute a lot of money and resources towards the development of these private schools. As a result, such schools perform much better as compared to public schools which have a deficit in the amount of money that is contributed. It is true that all schools require some level of funding to run all of its services effectively. However, children from low social backgrounds do not have the ability to be in private schools due to the high amounts of money required. As a result, they opt for public schools. The only problem with public schools is that they are too underfunded that they do not have enough resources. As a consequence, the levels of education provided are minimal and not up to the standards as compared to those in private (Kenway, 2013). The difference in education standards cannot be blamed on their parent but on the inability of the government to have enough resources and mechanism to address the above problem that is facing the society.
Unlike other countries across the world where private schools are considered as private entities that fund themselves, the Australian government partly funds private schools present in the country while public schools are funded by state and territorial governments (Perry & McConney, 2010). The total number of private and public schools in Australia differs significantly. The number of public schools in the country is many similar to the high number of enrolment that is associated with such schools. Therefore, if the state is in one way or another funding schools in Australia that have less number of students as compared to public schools that have more students, it becomes easier for the wide disparities to be noted. Private schools should have been set aside and funded as different entities by the owners and parents of the school. Already these private schools have more resources as compared to public schools and therefore the continued support especially in recurrent expenditure makes private schools have an upper hand compared to public schools (Murdoch, 2012). As a result, the huge gap disparities will trickle down to students going to either of the schools. Those going to private schools will have an upper hand because the government has ensured that they have enough resources while those going to public schools will find it difficult to succeed since available resources are not sufficient. Since education plays a critical role in shaping the future of either type of children, the varying resources make children from private schools to be at a better stage to progress well as compared to those from public schools.
Some entities would counter argue the above argument by claiming that each government has a responsibility of providing education to all children irrespective of the schools they attend. The argument will also seek to show that it is not the responsibility of the government to determine the socio-economic levels of the parents of both the students attending private and public schools (Murdoch, 2012). The government under the constitution is required to ensure that there is the free and fair distribution of all resources irrespective of the socio-economic condition of either party. However , in the case of the Australian Government, a lot of resources have been placed towards private schools (Murdoch, 2012). Most public schools do not receive adequate resources despite having a large number of enrollments in the country. Therefore, it can be said that the government in its implementation of its rights has established a system that does not cater for needs of all students despite their socioeconomic standing in society. This is why the Gonski report provides numerous recommendations that aim to address the inequalities in the funding system that is currently used in society.
The government as an entity is supposed to be concerned with the numerous inequalities that have been witnessed in the education sector. This is because the government has the role of formulating laws that ensure that there is equitable distribution of resources across the education sector. The predicament of the Australian system is that it has been ailing for the longest possible time without the government providing any remedy that will reduce disparities in the system. Fair distribution of resources will ensure the disparities noticed in society are addressed. The outcome of these would be improved better standards in the education system as well as a reduction in disparities witnessed in the education sector (Hauser & Featherman, 2013).. The problem with the education system in Australia has occurred because the society allows issue relating to social stratification to continue without providing alternative measures to address the problem. When such disparities occur in the education system, they let a lot to be desired from the society. The only possible and available way of solving the problem at hand and reducing issues that relate to social stratification in the society would be to provide adequate resources for both parties (Hauser & Featherman, 2013). In this case, more priority should be given to public schools which have been discovered to be lagging behind especially when it comes to availing the necessary resource related to improving educations standards.
Social stratification is the classification of people basing on their economic status. Australia as a country provides a good example where social stratification has been applied to the education system. Even though the government plays a critical role in ensuring that all its citizens are educated via public and private schools, more focus and resources are in the hands of private schools as compared to public schools. The huge disparities coupled with low economic backgrounds for children who go to public schools does not fulfill the main aim of providing education in the society. Findings of the Gonski report provide some solutions that could be applied to address inadequacies in society. Top on the list will be ensuring that more public schools under areas that are economically disadvantaged are provided with enough funds to ensure that more resources are present. This would be one way of addressing existing gaps in the education system.
Australia. Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, & Gonski, D. M. (2011). Review of funding for schooling: Final report. Australia. Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. Review of Funding for Schooling.
Hauser, R. M., & Featherman, D. L. (2013). The process of stratification: Trends and analyses. Elsevier.
Kenway, J. (2013). Challenging inequality in Australian schools: Gonski and beyond. Discourse: studies in the cultural politics of education, 34(2), 286-308.
Murdoch, D. (2012). An Initial Response to the Gonski Report Review of Funding for Schooling—The Final Report (2011). TEACH Journal of Christian Education, 6(1), 7.
Perry, L., & McConney, A. (2010). School socio-economic composition and student outcomes in Australia: Implications for educational policy. Australian Journal of Education, 54(1), 72-85.