PGR was formed some years ago by parents in the St Kilda/Elwood area of Melbourne who were dismayed by the savage funding cuts to public schools that were instituted initially in Victoria by Premier Jeff Kennett and subsequently nationally by Prime Minister John Howard.
While both of these governments are no longer in power, the public school funding situation is still grave so we remain active on a number of fronts.
PGR initially had primarily a fund-raising role, hosting a number of community events – a musical extravaganza at the Espy Hotel with countless musicians and comedians performing, the launch of the video of this event (See Below For Video Link To Watch On-Line), an art auction, a concert for kinder kids - PGR’s Little Kid’s Big Day Out, and several community days at Luna Park.
"PGR- the benefit of Public Education"
In 1996 as a protest against reduced funding for state schools, parents in St Kilda in Melbourne held a fund-raiser that promised to be more than just a cake stall.
The video features musicians and comedians, both in performance and voicing their opinions about public education. They include Paul Kelly, Joe Camilleri, Rebecca's Empire, Brian Nankervis, Matt King, Anthony Morgan, Chris Wilson & Shane O'Mara, Sean Hughes, Tracy Harvey etc.
Promoting The Arts
To promote the arts we instigated “Playgrounds” a youth performance project involving local secondary school students in the development of a play about starting high school, for which we received sponsorship grants. The final performance was staged at Gasworks theatre for local upper primary school students, as well as at the WICKED children’s festival
We also sponsored a graphic designer to take classes in the local secondary school, and held a postcard design competition for students.
Public Education Advocacy
As part of our public education advocacy role we held a Secondary Public School Expo called “Public By Choice” at Gasworks Arts Park, where 15 inner metropolitan public secondary schools held information stalls, while secondary students performed, and public figures talked on panels about the benefits of public education.
We have also published letters in national newspapers signed by hundreds of prominent Australians and submitted a petition to the federal government protesting at the inequitable funding for public schools (which contributed to the subsequent abolition of the Enrolment Benchmark Adjustment).
We have produced and circulated postcards with public education messages via Avantcard as well as the postcard designed by Academy Award-winning animator Bruce Petty (displayed on the ARTICLES page)
In the last few years we have concentrated on promoting public education locally. We set up our website with the assistance of students from Melbourne University initially, then subsequently with students from Swinburne University and a student from Holmesglen Tafe and from RMIT.
We have also conducted parent surveys for local schools regarding school curriculum and school preferences, and worked locally with community organizations to promote local public schools.
We are now one of the groups working under the banner of
Other OCOS members include: