I found myself sitting in my son's new school orientation day and I was stunned by the lack of visible diversity in the teaching cohort. It got me thinking, why do we ask businesses to report on diversity but not schools? Some schools in Victoria earn upwards of $50 - $100m in revenue. They are the recipients of public funding, yet we aren’t asking them the same questions that we ask of corporates. We aren’t holding our schools to the same standards that we do of any other contemporary organisation.
Why don’t schools report on their diversity data? How can we be calling for diversity, equity and justice in our Parliaments, in our businesses, in our public service and not in our schools? How have they flown under the radar, and schools that generate millions in revenue and multi multi millions in assets are somehow exempt from societal expectations of equity and inclusion? How can we hope for our children to create a more equal and just society if the very schools they attend are taught within a monoculture?
We have seen examples of private boys schools in particular being part of scandals and incidents of violence against women and students demonstrating misogynistic and homophobic behaviours like this one and this one. Isn’t diversity and representation part of the answer? Representation and diversity in leadership is by no means the whole answer. Representation in the teaching cohort and school council doesn’t equal equality (forgive the pun), but it is a starting place for a conversation. There are many examples where increasing diversity doesn’t actually increase equality, but it is one of the metrics to begin a conversation about equality and justice.