Public education isn’t free

Next Tuesday Mr 5 is off to start Prep.  We have the giant pile of stationary needed, all the books and the copy paper.  Yep that’s right, copy paper.  The government is funding public schools so poorly now that parents have to provide paper for the school.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t begrudge the school for asking for it, but I do side-eye the government for letting it loungeOn social media over the last week or so there have been a few posts talking about the needs for starting school.  There are different pieces of technology, requested brands and sometimes a list as long as your arm of stationary that needs to be bought.  There’s also a lot of misinformation about those needs and a lot of complaining.

Now, I completely understand the outcry when technology is a necessity in the classroom now, and the parents pay for the pleasure.  I do think that it would be better if the school is able to purchase these in bulk (and hopefully getting a discount) so they could be sold to parents for a cheaper price.

However, what I don’t understand is when people just flat out refuse to buy the things for their child, or buy things that aren’t what was requested.  I’m talking more of the model of technology needed, rather than buying store brand pencils here.  School is hard enough for some kids, I don’t understand why anyone would choose to make it harder by not giving their kids the tools that they need.

I have friends who are teachers and it annoys me that people complain about the tools the teacher is using to teach their child.  If only they had any idea the kind of money that is put in by the teacher themselves.  They buy extra resources, because they know that there will always be a student who doesn’t have the things they need.  That makes me really sad.

I’m glad though that we have teachers who are willing to fill the massive gaps left by the government funding.  A good education is so important and the reality is that not all kids have the same opportunities.  Public education isn’t free anymore and it hasn’t been for a long time.

Have you got everything ready for school yet?

What was your favourite subject at school?


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10 thoughts on “Public education isn’t free

  1. Lydia C. Lee

    A friend of ours is a teacher and he used to his own chalk (for high school) – that used to make me so angry. You can’t believe you are adequately funding a school if they don’t even have enough chalk….Shame. And that was under a government that supported education.

  2. Jess - A Little Part of the World

    I have a wonderful friend first year out teaching this year at a primary school and I was completely shocked to find out how many of her own resources she has to provide. I am not at the school age yet but H is starting pre-school in a couple of weeks and is very excited about it. Jx

  3. Nikki

    An article came out last year, with research identifying that NSW public school teachers spent, on average, $1900 on school essentials. About half of these expenses were just classroom supplies. As the wife of a high school teacher I can definitely say that teachers contribute a significant amount to school supplies and many do go out of their way to help the students who do not have the correct equipment.
    And my oldest child is about to start Kindergarten (prep in other states), but thankfully we have not been asked to provide any stationary as yet.

  4. Robo

    I was asked to contribute a few things to my son’s kindy last year and I did it with all my heart.
    Schools are terribly under resourced but rather than a kid going without, you just grin and bear it. I’m always handing out pens and other types of stationery to kids and most of the time, I’ve paid for it. To be honest with you, I always swipe pens from bars, hotels and conferences just so I have them on hand for my classroom. Can’t believe Mr is starting prep! Where does the time go?

  5. Sarah Mac

    Miss Mac is in year 11 and taking her GCSE’s this year. There has been a huge outlay in revision guides for each subject. It would have been helpful if the school had been able to buy in bulk and sell to students at a reduced price but you just have to bite the bullet on some things. She needs the tools to give her the best chance and I’ll find a way to provide them.

    I used to be the chair of the PTA at school and was really shocked at the requests we had from teachers for basic supplies. I had imagined that we would be raising money for additional resources and treats but in reality it was the nuts and bolts of teaching aids that they really needed.

  6. Lili

    My children are at a primary school where the fees include stationery because they realise it is cheaper for them to buy in bulk, plus they are exempt from paying tax on the supplies. Changes that have been made recently make me angry, taking away funding from schools, we used to have the Education Maintenance Allowance but they’ve scrapped that too. The Australian government signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, but they certainly don’t act as though they are even aware what many of those rights are.

  7. Mel Roworth

    Not entirely sure if I understand what you are getting at but I found it very upsetting to have to buy an iPad for my son when I already had a perfectly good Samsung he could have used.
    Does the government have a deal going with Apple?
    After forking out $800+ on public school fees and uniform ($6 per pair of socks!) We need a specific and expensive brand of technology as well.

    1. Tegan Post author

      My guess is that they have specific learning apps that they use in class. These apps are not always available across android and apple platforms. They also need all students to have the same devices so that teachers don’t have to learn how to use multiple devices.

  8. Mel Roworth

    I think that is the reason Regan but there is no shortage of open source educational programmes out there. There is no reason for Apple specific programmes when Apple has the ability to make them open source (available to all devices). It just feels like a scam to me.


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