Education has been front and centre on the political agenda for several weeks now since Prime Minister Julia Gillard made her long-awaited response to the Gonski report.
Both NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell and Education Minister Andrew Piccoli supported the report in principle but quite rightly wanted to know where the money was coming from.
We also assume that like everyone else they agree more needs to be done to bring Australia's education system back to world class standards. So it beggars belief that the Premier and Mr Piccoli are planning to savagely cut independent school funding.
Already we have heard Mr Piccoli will slash Catholic school spending by $66.7 million from next year. That decision has outraged the Illawarra's Catholic community, and rightly so.
We agree with Independent Education Union general secretary John Quessy that the cuts are a breach of trust with the thousands of NSW families, mostly low-to-middle-income, who valued choice in education.
As Wollongong diocese director of schools Peter Turner says, the cuts will have a devastating impact on the Illawarra, will likely lead to fee hikes parents can't afford and will erode the credibility of any negotiations Mr Piccoli has with the Federal Government as it attempts to implement its Gonski recommendations.
We understand the government needs to rein in costs but it must not happen at the expense of our children. It is a poor decision, not in the interests of our children and one that will come back to bite the government.