Showing posts from February, 2015

Bitten by the art bug

For years the ANU School of Art has been a magnet for me. Like a pilgrim, each year I went to the open day looking into lecturers' eyes, searching for a sign, anything that said I was ready to change track.

I have wanted to go to art school for a long time. But something held me back, pulling at my collar and whispering: "It's a bit selfish isn't it?"

Surprisingly good marks at school and subtle messaging pulled in me in another direction. We make pictures, sculptures and Lego buildings before we learn to read and write, but we're too often expected to put them behind us.

Selfish or not, this week I finally began my three year degree - majoring in painting - joining scores of others, nervous and eager to get on with it after 'O Week'.

My dream began in Mr Milne's art class. Students were treated more like his equals, trusted with his precious inks and paper. The stools would scratch on the paint-licked concrete floor, but we found a place to chill…

Growing education divide that ricochets

Monday was a magic day for 5000 newly minted Year 7 students. They went to high school for the very first time.

But in Canberra they did it differently. Whereas in NSW the bulk of them went to government schools (58 per cent) in the ACT only 49 per cent went to the ACT government's own schools. The majority - 51 per cent - went to private schools, around 1700 to Catholic schools and another 900 to others if previous year's figures are any guide. The ACT has the uncomfortable distinction of being the first state in the nation in which more parents send their children to private high schools than government ones.

It's all the odder when you consider that ACT government high (and primary) schools are among the nation's best, and odder still when you remember that the ACT is largely a government town.

Yet I have heard countless times from parents and friends that they are going private because they are not going to "sacrifice" their children.

What's going on?