We don’t need no education, we don’t need no thought control.” Pink Floyd’s haunting verse lingers in my subconscious, ready to jump up and make a racket every time a debate about the state of our national education is proposed.
For the past week the debate has taken centre stage as the nation’s parents, educators and politicians stalk talkback radio and supermarket queues looking to provoke some conversation about the federal government’s new My School website.
The results are explosive. And while critics argue that the methodologies behind the rankings need closer examination, current results seem to prove a point: government schools can be just as good as private schools.
Take this example: according to the My School website, Trinity College (a private high school in Sydney’s trendy Summer Hill) is ranked equal to Bulli High School (a public high school near Wollongong). Likewise, one of Melbourne‘s most privileged schools, Scotch College, ranks equal to Epping North Public School.
It’s been awfully rowdy since the My School site launched these results. While many feel the criteria responsible for the rankings make the results invalid or misleading, others think the site finally allows for better transparency and accountability.
Personally, my family are lucky to live in Balmain in Sydney’s inner-west (where most of the schools fared quite well) but what of families in areas where schools are bottom of the heap?
The My School rankings have the power to deliver to parents happiness and relief — or deep disappointment and concern. Perhaps they will also illuminate the “dark sarcasm in the classroom” — in this case the notion that private schooling is always the better option.
How do the schools in your area rate? Leave your comments below.