POLYA, Gideon. Australian scientist & educator slams wealth-based Educational Apartheid in Apartheid Australia

Dr Gideon Polya is a Melbourne-born, Melbourne-based Australian scientist, writer, artist, Humanist humanitarian and pro-peace, pro-environment and pro-human rights activist (see: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya290810.htm ).  

Dr Gideon Polya in a Comment on an article by sensible Australian economics journalist Kenneth Davidson in part about the gross underfunding of Government Public Schools in Victoria and Australia (2010): “Excellent article. The Lib-Labs are betraying Australia's children and their parents in 2 key ways: (1) Educational Apartheid in favor of the rich and (2) Violation of Intergenerational Equity re climate change, this also involving perversion of childrens' education through lying and spin.

1. Educational Apartheid. The worst kept secret in Australia is that the majority of children who attend Government schools are disproportionately excluded from optimum education, entry to university, entry to good universities and entry to top courses such as medicine and law (just consult "My School" for the Awful Truth about your local state school versus Trinity Grammar, MLC or Melbourne Grammar). The Libs have traditionally believed that it is a good strategy to keep the "lower classes" ignorant and poor but the now neocon Australian Labor Party (Another Liberal Party) evidently also believes that ignorance and poverty will help keep safe Labor seats safe.

2. Intergenerational Equity. Top scientists say that to avoid disaster the world must reduce CO2 emissions to zero by 2050 (racial equality means that high per capita polluting Australia must do this by 2020). The pro-coal, anti-science Lib-Labs are committed to BAU greenhouse gas pollution and back this with child-violating lies, spin and slies (spin-based untruths).

Decent, child-caring Victorians are obliged to vote Green and put the Lib-Labs last, their only problem being who should be very last, the Liberals (who have always supported the rich and see nothing wrong with it) or Labor (who support the rich but know it is wrong and that they are betraying Labor voters in the process).” [1].

Dr Gideon Polya commenting on an article on Australian educational inequities by Chris Bonnor (co-author with Jane Caro of "The Stupid Country: How Australia is dismantling public education”) (2010):

"Excellent article. Obscene neoconservative desire to commodify education found fertile ground in the greed-based politics of Lobbyocracy Australia.

Australia has an Educational Apartheid system in which the majority of Australian kids attending Government schools are disproportionately excluded from university, from top universities and from top courses such as Law and Medicine.

The article is correct in stating that "The My School website, for all its faults, is laying bare many of the regressive features of our system". Consult the My School website and you will discover that the percentage of kids going to university from a working class state high school is half that from a top Melbourne private school.

Of course Educational Apartheid exists in the UK and flourished under neocon Labour that, like Labor in Australia, has utterly betrayed its lower income supporters. Educational Apartheid flourishes in the US as a race- and wealth-based de facto Segregation system (for details Google Educational Apartheid).

Race-based Educational Apartheid in Australia also involves Aboriginal Ethnocide (legislation for most NT Indigenous instruction in a foreign language, English; cf prohibition of Welsh in schools in 19th century Wales) and contributes to the disastrous Aboriginal Health situation (9,000 avoidable deaths annually; Google Aboriginal Genocide).

"Fair go" Australians should be incensed over the betrayal of Australian kids by the Lib-Labs and especially by Labor. UK university students have hit upon an excellent if counter-intuitive political strategy: withdraw support from potentially more progressive but presently disgustingly neoconservative Labour until it agrees to massively support equity in education and other major equity issues (peace, requisite climate change action). Australians should do likewise." [2].

Dr Gideon Polya commenting  on an article re Educational Apartheid by Professor David Blanchflower (professor of economics at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, US, and the University of Stirling, UK) (2010):

“The US Dartmouth College leveling system is a major step in the right direction to address the appalling Educational Segregation and Educational Apartheid that occurs in the US (race-based) and in the UK and Australia (wealth-based) (for details see "Educational Apartheid": https://sites.google.com/site/educationalapartheid/home  ).

Senior UK journalist and editor Peter Wilby has suggested a similar leveling system to address post-secondary Educational Apartheid in the UK: "So what's the answer? There is a very simple one. We change the whole basis of élite university selection. Each year, Oxford and Cambridge between them admit 6,000 UK undergraduates. There are about 6,000 schools and colleges that have young people taking A-levels. The top pupil from each - the one who achieves the best A-level results - should get a place at one of the two universities " (see Peter Wilby, “Put an end to educational apartheid”, Guardian, 7 July 2002: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2002/jul/07/schools.publicschools  ) .

However the intrinsically racist US has a long way to go to end Educational Apartheid.

Thus according to the US Census Bureau (2003 data) the percentage of US-born  people with a bachelor's degree or more was 27.2 (total), 29.7 (Whites), 16.3 (Blacks) 13.5 (Hispanics) and 48.3 (Asians) and this says nothing about the quality of the degree (see "Educational attainment in the United States: 2003: http://www.census.gov/prod/2004pubs/p20-550.pdf  ).

In the UK and Australia, proposals such as that of Peter Wilby should be rapidly implemented.  However the entrenched Educational Apartheid at the pre-university level requires tough political action by the young and the poor.

Reform is more likely to come from Labour (Labor in Australia) than from the Conservatives (the Liberal-National Party Coalition in Australia). However pro-war, pro-Big Business, neocon Labour (Labor) has utterly betrayed its voters , not just on Educational Apartheid  but on many other matters, notably intergenerational equity issues (social equity, war, climate change).

My counter-intuitive strategy proposal is that the disadvantaged and young should simply dump Labour (Labor) until it decides to adopt a really strong progressive and equity agenda, not just on abolishing Educational Apartheid  but also on abolishing nuclear weapons, participation in genocidal US wars (8 million excess deaths so far in the US War on Terror) and man-made climate change (10 billion will die due to unaddressed man-made climate change; see "Climate Genocide": https://sites.google.com/site/climategenocide/  ). [3].

[1]. Gideon Polya, comment to Kenneth Davidson, “Labor cosies up to the rich and influential”, The Age, 15 November 2010: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/labor-cosies-up-to-the-rich-and-influential-20101114-17sm9.html .

[2]. Gideon Polya, commenting on Chris Bonnor, "Misguided schools "market" sees us slip down the ranks", The Age On-line, National Times, 9 December 2010: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/misguided-schools-market-sees-us-slip-down-the-ranks-20101208-18pq0.html.

[3]. Gideon Polya comment on an article by Professor David Blanchflower, “”What the US can teach Oxbridge”, New Statesman, 15 December 2010: http://www.newstatesman.com/uk-politics/2010/12/black-students-oxford .