|Issue No 87||10 March 2001|
Public Education Day on March 15
Schools and colleges throughout NSW are getting behind Public Education Day with a variety of activities planned to celebrate the work undertaken by students and teachers.
Events on the day will highlight its place in Australian society and the need for it to be properly supported and funded.
Teachers in the lower Blue Mountains have decided to make Sir Henry Parkes' gravesite at Faulconbridge a site of celebration. Henry Parkes' is widely known as the Father of Federation and is also acknowledged as the "Parent of Public Education" in NSW, being primarily responsible for the Public Instruction Act of 1880, which began free public education in this state.
Lower Blue Mountains Teachers Association President Robert Treasure said: "Henry Parkes, a Faulconbridge resident, was not only a great fighter for public education. His priorities were very clear: in 1882, two years after the passage of the Public Instruction Act, state aid to all private schools ceased. From that time onwards, schooling became fully government funded, secular and compulsory for the children of NSW."
Schools will be distributing leaflets in the afternoon of Public Education Day to every household in the school community. This leaflet will be sponsored by the NSW Teachers Federation, Federation of P&Cs, Federation of School Community Organisations (FOSCO), Primary Principals Association, Public Schools Principals Forum and NSW Secondary Principals Council.
A separate leaflet will be distributed from TAFE colleges.
School staffs will also be sending messages to their local Federal Member reminding them of the need for Federal governments of any political persuasion to properly fund public education. These messages will be followed up by delegations of parents and teachers visiting the electoral office of Federal Members of Parliament to deliver a statement about the role and place of public education in Australian society and the need for it to be properly funded.
This article is based on material written by Barry Johnson and Kerri Carr. Barry Johnson is the Assistant General Secretary (Schools) and Kerri Carr is the journalist for "Education", the journal of the NSW Teachers Federation.
Roundup of celebrations
A glance around NSW reveals that planning for Public Education Day is advanced.
∑ Lithgow Teachers Association is arranging a photographic display of school activities to be showcased in a shopfront in the main street of Lithgow.
∑ Newtown Performing Arts High School is planning a grandparents day.
∑ Cherrybrook Technology High School has invited new parents to an evening BBQ.
∑ Castle Cove PS will mark the occasion with a maths day.
∑ Mosman and Roseville Public Schools will conduct open nights.
∑ Mudgee High School will display a sign celebrating public education.
∑ Woy Woy Public School is having a Teddy Bear's Picnic day.
∑ Rowena Public School's activities will include students dressing up as they would have 100 years ago and playing old-time sporting activities.
∑ Gilgandra schools (both primary and secondary) are planning a competition where students think about "What is good about our school". Entries could range from writing, dioramas and photographs.
∑ The Entrance Public School will show off its new classrooms and hall during an open day.
∑ Goolma Public School plans an open day and BBQ
∑ Paxton Public School is hosting an open day and morning tea.
∑ Beresfield Public School plans a Promote Public Education Day.
∑ Shoal Bay Public School is having a picnic, and performing arts, arts and fitness displays.
Why we are celebrating
Public education has made Australia one of the safest, most democratic and cohesive societies in the world. Public education is dedicated to giving all Australians the foundations upon which to build a future for themselves and their families. It is open and accessible to all. It does not discriminate. It develops self-motivated learners and responsible, co-operative and caring adults. Public education maximises the performance of all students from all parts of society.
Public education is the cornerstone of our democracy and one of the reasons that Australians live in the most peaceful nation on earth.
Students from public schools are among our nation's great achievers. Perhaps it's because they have the opportunity to meet and relate better to others from different backgrounds.
They also benefit from the knowledge and skills of dedicated teachers who are proud to be making a difference.
On March 15 we are celebrating in our public schools and TAFE colleges.
With your support and government help our great public education system can be even greater.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005