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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 7 Hansard (2 August) . . Page.. 2660 ..


Choosing the kind of education entails a great number of other choices as well, including where children might engage in formal learning. For our family the correct choice has always been to enrol our kids in public schools, and I appreciate the fact that here in the ACT we have a number of schools that we could choose from. Our eldest picked the college that he is currently studying at because its programs met his very specific interest. At the same time, it is easy for me to acknowledge that the correct choice for other families may look different from the choices that my husband and I have made for our children and that they have made for themselves as they have grown older.

This is part of supporting the individual freedom and equality of opportunity that we, as Canberra Liberals, proudly endorse. One size fits all can seem like an easy shortcut to equality but it never is, because we are not dealing with uniform products. We are, rather, dealing with wonderfully complex individuals.

The very best way to meet the needs of a richly pluralistic society filled with truly distinct individuals is to make sure that as many options as possible are on the table for education, and allow parents and carers to determine their children's education.

Visitor

MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER: I acknowledge the presence in the gallery of Karin MacDonald, former Member for Brindabella for the ALP.

Choice in education

Discussion of matter of public importance

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (4.12): I am pleased to have the opportunity to talk today on this important topic. The Greens believe that high quality, free education is a keystone of our democracy and a basic human right. We want to ensure that every student, no matter where they are educated, has access to an education that meets their needs and aspirations and gives them the skills and capacity to meaningfully participate in society.

Evidence shows that a large percentage of our students will struggle with some aspects of learning and some will struggle with the school environment. We know that each and every student has different needs and that parents want to take the best decisions for their children. Furthermore, a responsive and relevant education system is underpinned by community involvement and recognises that parents and carers play a critical role in the education of their children.

The decisions that parents and carers make include where their child is educated and what additional supports they might need to improve their social and learning outcomes. Because each child has different needs and circumstances, this means that there is not one right answer for everyone. For some children the best option might be a co-ed school, while some others may do better in a single-sex environment. Some children will do well in a large school with a wide variety of academic and


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