I started primary school in 1970. I can't remember if we had a flagpole, but I'm sure that if we did, it did not have a plaque honoring the Prime Minister and our local MP at the base of it. I do remember a little van driving into the playground every day with free milk. They stopped that in 1973, when I was only 8.
In years 5 and 6, I was chosen for an Opportunity Class (OC) program. It was the best two years of education I ever received. But the programs were deemed too controversial by small-minded bureaucrats (whose own kids were too stupid to qualify).
Come high school, it was back to Dumbsville. My headmaster was a former Australian rugby star who placed sporting prowess ahead of academic achievement - 'nuff said. (Former students of my high school include Russell Crowe, Jack Thompson, Ted Mack, René Rivkin and John Pilger. Not exactly a settled mob, is it?)
I completed an Arts degree at Sydney Uni back in 1985. It cost me $400 a year. Most of that was student union fees, which included books. Today the same course would cost my children over $20,000 per year.
My point is that, at nearly every step of the way, IMHO, the system failed me. And now, by all accounts, quite inexplicably, it is even worse. At least it was cheap in my time. Now it is just nasty.
WHAT HAS HAPPENED???
A clue to the answer lies here.
Our children deserve much, much better.
UPDATE: Heh. Just got an ASIO hit from Woomera on this post. Hi guys! Would have thought you could have identified me by now without all the biographical data. Ask your CIA buddies for more details: they know me from bushout.blogspot.com.