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Education official reopening of 1950s class war wounds


An official at the Catholic Education Commission NSW has said that by starting a costly battle that could take years, the NSW Teachers Federation is opening wounds from the past, dragging the education system back to the 1950s and reigniting a war that was settled decades ago.

The comments of Ian Baker, policy director of the Catholic Education Commission NSW, were reported in today's Daily Telegraph. They follow revelations that the Federation plans to mount a bid in the High Court which could cut funding to all religious schools.

"When I woke up this morning I thought we'd been propelled back to the 1950s," he said. "It is highly unfortunate that such a divisive issue should be brought back. It divided the Australian community for 100 years.

"From the establishment of the first Catholic school in 1821, in Parramatta, through until the 1960s, there were often very bitter debates about support for religious schools. Our view is that all that was settled in 1981."

According to the Catholic Education Commission, the NSW Teachers Federation campaign is both "misleading and mischievous".

It threatens to be a repeat of a contentious 1981 High Court battle that ended with a ruling that there was no Constitutional barrier to governments funding religious schools.

Federation president Maree O'Halloran said public school teachers wanted to re-open the issue because they were fed up with poor funding of government schools.

"For every $1 that the Howard Federal Government spends on public education they spend $5 on a private education student," she said.

SOURCE
Taking class war back to the '50s (Daily Telegraph 7/7/04)

LINKS
Catholics angry over teacher plan (Sydney Morning Herald 7/7/04)
Private schools attack legal move (The Australian 7/7/04)
NSW teachers angered by religious funding (ABC Radio The World Today 6/7/04)
Teachers to challenge federal private school funding (Sydney Morning Herald 6/7/04)
Australian teachers mount cash-for-faith challenge (Radio Australia 6/7/04)
Legal challenge to federal cash for religious teaching (CathNews 6/7/04)
NSW Teachers Federation
Australian Council for the Defence of Government Schools (DOGS)
School Funding - Lies and Truths (ABC Radio National Perspective, 21/6/04)
Diocese of Parramatta Catholic Education Office: Special feature on the recent teaching salaries decisions
Catholic school principals win 19.5% rise (Sydney Morning Herald 11/6/04)
Catholic Senior Staff favoured in wage decision (Online Catholics 16/6/04)
Victorian Catholic teachers get bigger pay rise (CathNews 25/6/04)
Catholic Education Commission NSW

7 Jul 2004