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high expectations
short skirts
school uniforms
first job
aspects of life
second nature
spending money
Why Don’t We Impose High Expectations On Children In Our Public Schools?
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Why Don’t We Impose High Expectations On Children In Our Public Schools?

I was driving through a Mt Druitt suburb today at around 12.00pm and I noticed three children of about fourteen from a local high school at the bus-stop. The two girls were wearing untucked blouses and short skirts and the boy was wearing an untucked shirt and shorts. All were wearing sandshoes. The two girls were lying on the bus-stop seat and the boy was standing. The two girls had dyed hair, one head was an orangey blonde colour and the other was black and blonde stripes.

Three things struck me:

1. why were the children out of school during school hours?;

2. why are our children allowed to present themselves at school in such an untidy manner?; and

3. why our children spending money on hair (ie. becoming consumers) at such a young age?.

Expectations and Standards

I am a firm believer that all children should be taught to take pride in themselves and their appearance from a young age. They should be taught to present themselves in the best light possible as once this becomes a habit it carries through into all aspects of life such as caring for toys, caring for school property and presentation of school work. Yes it may be more comfortable to go to school in loose clothes and sandshoes but If we allow our children to let their standards slip they will resent the rules that they have to comply with when they get their first job. There will be standards of presentation and grooming then and our children are likely to be far more successful at adhering to these if they are second nature.

Also, why should we allow our children to lie all over bus seats? They are in their school uniforms representing the school and pride for self and school seems to be totally missing. Why aren’t our schools not insisting on a minimum standard of behaviour when in school uniform and following through with consequences when there is non-compliance. Why aren’t there monitors at the bus-stops just like at the private schools.

Public v Private Schools

Many people look at scenarios like I saw today and shrug their shoulders and say that’s the way children are. It’s not important. I disagree. It’s the way children are because we permit it and in so doing we further widen the gap between public and private schools and further entrench the stigma of disadvantage.

The Gonki Report into school funding places a lot of emphasis on disadvantaged schools and the fact that they deserve more funding to raise the standard of education of the children attending.

I say the first thing we need to do to close the gap between private and public schools is look at the different expectations in the two sectors. In a private school students are expected to wear a school uniform with pride and conduct themselves respectfully when in public places. Why can’t we have the same expectations of our children attending public schools? Why are they allowed to look dishevelled? Why don’t the teachers insist on a minimum standard of grooming? Also, why isn’t there a rule that hair colouring must be natural and unobtrusive? Are they ever asked to consider whether there money is being well spent on consumerism at such a young age?

We seem to forget that these students are children. They need rules and boundaries and if we are to close the gap between different types of schools and remove the idea that some schools are disadvantaged we have to do all of our children the same favour of expecting a lot from them.

You will be surprised at just how many of them will step up to the bar and make us proud.


Street Talk

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