If I were a girl and I wanted to be a Riot Grrrl, I couldn't think of a better pseudonym than Susan Apathy. It would be post-punk perfection. But I am not a girl and will never be a Riot Grrrl. Besides, the name is already taken: oddly enough it belongs to the Deputy Chief Executive of the Catholic Education Office.
Ms Apathy was in the news this weekend for some encouraging news: the Catholic Church in New Zealand is running out of priests and nuns. Ms Apathy has a solution, an old favourite of the Catholics: get them while they are young. "Young people are at their most idealistic in their mid to late teens," says Ms Apathy; she is encouraging Catholic schools to recruit for the Vocations.
Nothing new here, I am sure you will agree. But it is worth noting here that we are paying for these Catholic schools. Under a thoroughly dirty deal done by that nice Mr Kirk with the Catholics in 1974, the priests and nuns get to run their schools more or less as they please and we get to pay for them. The other denominations have also got into this act and so we also pay for Anglican, Presbyterian, Muslim and Hare Krishna schools, as well as a whole bunch of fundy schools and one run according to the cod philosophy of Rudolf Steiner.
You will of course have seen Mr Finnemore's post on the subject of integrated schools; I believe Mr Finnemore himself is the product of a Catholic integrated school. It is worth noting that there are no private Catholic schools in New Zealand: the deal offered by Mr Kirk (give us your votes and we will pay for the rescue of your crumbling schools) was so irresistible that the entire Catholic education system was converted. And it has paid dividends: posh schools like Baradene College of the Sacred Heart and St Peter's College are run on grounds of academic, social and religious discrimination at public expense. In short, it's a middle-class rip-off.