Thursday, August 14, 2003

Fee-paying schools

Frank McGahon over at Internet Commentator believes that Noel Dempsey's proposal on withdrawing the state's money to pay the salaries of teachers in fee-paying schools could be the beginning of the privatiziation of education in this state. If I thought for one minute that was the case, I'd be 100% behind the Minister.

Unfortunately, I see this as the complete opposite. If privatization was the Minister's goal, then something along the lines of what I proposed below would have been a better first step. Offering parents credits that they can use in any school is better than causing a large increase in fees and, thus, forcing many parents to remove their children from the schools they're in. They will then have to send them to the non-fee-paying schools, which only increases the dependence on the state.

If the Minister had offered to make the fees 100% tax deductible when the salaries were withdrawn, then that would have been a bold step towards privatization, but there was no indication that this was on offer either.