The Public Education Foundation has launched a new campaign promoting the importance of public schools to the community.
The online campaign helps raise awareness and instil confidence in parents and the community that our public schools provide a vibrant, inclusive and high quality education to all Australians.
The videos feature three famous Australians who credit their public education for equipping them with the skills and values that have enabled them to go on and make great contributions to society.
David Hetherington, executive director of the Public Education Foundation, said the campaign aims to highlight the impact of public schools to society.
“We believe that public schools are an essential pillar of Australian society. Tens of millions of Australians have benefited from public education as a springboard to happy and successful lives,” Mr Hetherington said.
“We wanted to shine a light on this great national institution so we’ve asked a few famous Australians to share their stories.”
Mark Scott, Secretary of the NSW Department of Education, said the campaign represents our commitment to supporting our students.
“We want every student in public education to be known, valued and cared for and the Public Education Foundation campaign highlights our commitment to providing opportunities for all our young people to succeed,” he said.
Television personality Craig Reucassel, a writer, comedian, and host of ABC TV’s War on Waste, spoke about the impact of attending a public school on his career and life.
“One particular teacher established this debating and public speaking class, and it really changed how I saw a lot of things,” he said.
“I think they instilled in me a lot of the interest in social justice that I have now.”
The videos also feature Professor Larissa Behrendt, the first Aboriginal Harvard Law graduate, who spoke about the teacher who had the most impact on her at school.
“My English teacher, Miss O’Sullivan, was somebody who really shaped my confidence,” she said. “I was encouraged to have a voice and be passionate about what’s right and wrong.”
The Hon. Michael Kirby, former Justice of the High Court of Australia, recalls the encouragement he received at school to strive for excellence.
“We were a public school, encouraging people to do what they want to do and with excellence.”
“Excellence was the motto of my school,” Mr Kirby said.
The three students featured in the videos attend Wollongong High School of the Performing Arts, Sydney Secondary College Balmain Campus and Northmead Creative and Performing Arts High School.
The Public Education Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to providing life-changing scholarships to young people in public education and enhancing the value and reputation of public schools.
More information on the foundation is available on their website.