I have read a few articles recently that are suggesting some form of public-private partnership as a model for bringing our beleaguered public education system into the 21st century. The latest involving a parents trust sounds OK to start with, I mean would it really hurt parents to invest in their child's education.... until you start to look under the hood a little.
I think that one of the main reasons we have a public education system is to give all children regardless of their parents earning capacities a similar footing from which to start their lives.
I believe that if either the parents trust model goes ahead, then this will negate this ideal, as parents in poorer communities will not be able to put as much into trusts as parents in richer areas. Which will inevitably lead to disparity in the quality of education in these areas and add more to the ever growing divide between rich and poor.
I also believe strongly that curriculum should be based on strong public debate and not set by the whim of a vocal minority group. All models of public-private partnership suffer from this problem, as no private interest will ever be devoid of the desire to influence in some way be it to recoup investment money (such as in the case of an enterprise investing in a school), or just because of the additional investment that parents have made to their child's education.
The solution I put both to the Federal and State governments is to fund public schooling in Australia appropriately.