Just How Independent was the Gonski Review?

A puzzling aspect of the Gonski review of school funding is its adherence to the Government’s stated policy that no school would lose a dollar of funding as a result of the review and the apparent absence of this instruction from the terms of reference of the inquiry. Continue reading “Just How Independent was the Gonski Review?”

Gillard Turns Her Back on the Disadvantaged

The highlight of the Gonski report is its well-founded and important recommendation that Australia needs to spend an additional $5 billion a year on schools, predominantly government schools, so that they can address the issue of disadvantage. When all the figures are finalised, more may be needed, but as the reports says:

Australia must aspire to have a schooling system that is among the best in the world for its quality and equity, and must prioritise support for its lowest performing students. Every child should have access to the best possible education, regardless of where they live, the income of their family or the school they attend. [p. xiv]

The lowlight was that in her response to this vision, the Prime Minister repeatedly and pointedly refused to commit to the additional funding. Instead, she proposed further reviews and community discussions. She did not even promise to provide the funding when the budget was in surplus, as Tony Abbott did when he committed to a dental health care scheme. She simply turned her back on the disadvantaged.

So much for the rhetoric about closing the gap and ensuring that wealth does not determine educational outcomes.

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Gonski Review Should Terminate Funding Bonanza for the Wealthy

The SES funding model is providing millions and millions of dollars in over-funding to many of Melbourne’s more privileged families and schools. In 2011, 20 primary and secondary schools in high income suburbs were over-funded by $43 million (see table below).

Total Federal Government funding for these schools was nearly double what they were entitled to under the SES scheme. Under the scheme they were only entitled to $48.7 million, but instead they got $91.8 million.

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It is Government Schools Which Are Under-Funded, Not Private Schools

The National Catholic Education Commission has called for more funding for Catholic schools by the Federal Government. It says there is a resource gap between Catholic schools and government schools and that government funding of government schools has been increasing faster than for private schools.

This claim ignores the much higher level of disadvantage in government schools compared to Catholic and other private schools. Government schools do the heavy lifting in education and they should have more resources than private schools. Their funding should be increasing faster than private schools if the achievement gaps between rich and poor, between Indigenous and non-Indigenous and between remote area and metropolitan students are to be reduced. Continue reading “It is Government Schools Which Are Under-Funded, Not Private Schools”

School Funding Should be Better Directed at Reducing Disadvantage

The following is a summary of a confidential submission to the Gonski Review of School Funding commissioned by state government education departments. It was written by Professor Richard Teese from the University of Melbourne. It says that the Australian school system has become segregated between rich and poor with government funding being spent on supporting school choice rather than reducing the achievement gap between rich and poor.

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Fee Increases Outstrip Cost Increases in Elite Private Schools in Queensland

School fees in Queensland’s elite private schools have increased by nearly 6% in 2012. Fees at Brisbane Boys Grammar and Girls Grammar are approaching $20,000. At the same time, they are raking in millions of dollars in government funding. Continue reading “Fee Increases Outstrip Cost Increases in Elite Private Schools in Queensland”

Private School Funding Figures are a Shambles

The official figures on government funding of private schools are a shambles. Even the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) is confused. Its latest National Report on Schooling in Australia presents two contrasting sets of figures on private school funding.

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Govt. Funding Increases Have Favoured the Wealthiest Schools

New figures show that Australia’s wealthiest school sector received the biggest increases in government funding over much of the past decade. Government funding of Independent schools has increased by nearly double the rate of increase for government schools since 2001-02. It has left Independent schools much better resourced than government schools. Continue reading “Govt. Funding Increases Have Favoured the Wealthiest Schools”

Private Schools Will Get a Funding Bonanza from Voucher Models

School funding models proposed to the School Funding Review by Independent Schools Victoria (ISV) and the Centre for Independent Studies (CIS) feather the nest of private schools, especially the wealthiest schools. They would deliver a massive funding boost to private schools and give them a huge resource advantage over government schools. At best, government schools would get no additional funding and, at worst, a massive reduction in funding.

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Outlandish Funding Bonanza for Private Schools

A report published today by the public education advocacy group, Save Our Schools, finds that two voucher models of school funding proposed to the Gonski Review would deliver billions of dollars in additional funding for private schools and no increases for government schools.

Trevor Cobbold, author of the report and national convenor of SOS, said the proposals would provide an outlandish funding bonanza for private schools and should be rejected by the Review. Continue reading “Outlandish Funding Bonanza for Private Schools”