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A kick in the privates on education

• Some people feel compelled to turn their attention to those who send their children to private schools, as if such parents were some sort of weird sect.

If a parent decides to use their hard-earned net income to invest in their child's future, what's the problem?

Instead of criticising those who send their children to private schools, we should be thanking them for saving the taxpayer so much money.

Why has Education Minister Ruairi Quinn asked for an inquiry as to how the private schools spend the money they receive from the State?

I have no doubt the minister would be well served if he asked his department to compare state costs per child in a national school compared to a private school.

I suspect he already knows the answer to this but has ordered this fruitless inquiry instead simply to placate the hard left.

What would be the impact if the State attempted to withdraw its funding from private schools? For one thing there would most likely be a serious legal challenge to the legitimacy of such a discriminatory move. After all, every child is entitled to a state education.

What if the State was successful and fees were to increase by €3,000 or €4,000 per child?

One may find schools closing due to lack of demand and the State being forced to find places for thousands of children who have left the private sector in search of state education.

It's not just the school fees, there are many other ancillary costs to consider such as dental care.

What would be the next regressive step? Perhaps we should consider means testing every parent who sends their children to national schools?

Most parents make serious sacrifices to have their children privately educated.

Those who want to change the system had better be careful what they wish for -- the State may have to find 25,000 more school places in the next few years.

Patrick Cassidy
Terenure, Dublin

Irish Independent