The Economics of Gonski

A slightly edited version of this article was published in the Australian Financial Review on 18 February 2013.

There is a compelling economic case for the $6.5 billion investment in disadvantaged schools recommended by the Gonski review of school funding. Low achievement and low school completion amongst disadvantaged students impose high costs on the economy.

These costs include higher unemployment, lower lifetime earnings, lower productivity, less taxation revenue, higher health care and crime costs, and higher welfare expenditure. The Gonski funding will be worthwhile if it is well targeted at those most in need and at programs that work. Continue reading “The Economics of Gonski”

SOS Submission on the Govt’s Education Bill

This is a summary of a submission by Save Our Schools to the Senate Education Committee Inquiry on the Australian Education Bill 2012.

The submission addresses two issues relating to the Australian Education Bill 2012 – equity in education and collaboration between schools. It proposes clarification of what is defined as equity in education and recommends that the definition adopted by the Gonski report on school funding be included as a key principle and object. It also recommends that collaboration between schools be included as a component of the reform directions for the national plan for improving the performance of schools and students. Continue reading “SOS Submission on the Govt’s Education Bill”

The Rebellion Against Testing in the US Continues to Grow

The rebellion against high stakes testing in the United States that began early last year continues to grow. In recent weeks, there have been some significant developments with teachers in Seattle refusing to administer tests and Republican legislators in Texas deciding to cut back tests. Continue reading “The Rebellion Against Testing in the US Continues to Grow”

New Test Results Reinforce the Case for Action on Gonski

The latest international test results show that Australia’s performance has stagnated over the last 16 years while many countries have improved. The results reflect Australia’s failure to address the extent of disadvantage in education.

The new results, and those before it from the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment, confirm Australia’s highly inequitable education system. They reinforce the case for action on the Gonski report recommendation to boost funding for disadvantaged students. Continue reading “New Test Results Reinforce the Case for Action on Gonski”

The Federal Govt. Should End the Secrecy on its School Funding Model

The Federal Government should end the secrecy on its preferred school funding model and release the details for public comment. There is a very real danger that the needs of government schools and disadvantaged students are being discounted in secret negotiations with state governments and private schools. Ending the secrecy would allow government school organisations to participate in the discussions.

Continue reading “The Federal Govt. Should End the Secrecy on its School Funding Model”

O’Farrell Refuses to Budge on School Funding Cuts

The NSW Premier, Barry O’Farrell, has refused to give any ground on his plan to slash $1.7 billion from the education budget over the next four years. He has rebuffed a call by a coalition of government and private school organisations for the cuts to be reversed. The coalition put the Premier on notice that he faces a major political backlash up to the next NSW election.

Continue reading “O’Farrell Refuses to Budge on School Funding Cuts”

ACT Liberals Ignore Disadvantage to Defend Privilege

Tony Abbott recently claimed that private schools are the victims of an “injustice” because they get less public funding than government schools.

ACT Liberals have taken up this claim with a vengeance in their election promise to increase funding for private schools. They have revealed their true colours – their first priority is to support better-off families, not low income families.

They ignore the real injustice in ACT education – a massive achievement gap between rich and poor. Increased funding for private schools can only compound this gap.

Continue reading “ACT Liberals Ignore Disadvantage to Defend Privilege”

Restrict Funding Increases for Wealthy Private Schools

The public education group Save Our Schools today called on the Federal Government to restrict future funding increases for wealthier private schools. SOS National Convenor, Trevor Cobbold, said that modelling based on the funding announcement last week by the Prime Minister shows that private schools would get a huge windfall gain of nearly $2 billion a year. Continue reading “Restrict Funding Increases for Wealthy Private Schools”

The Real Class War on Display

The real class war in education was on show this week. It was an object lesson in how the rich ruthlessly exploit their power to gain privileges at the expense of the poor and less well-off. Within a few days they extracted commitments to a funding increase for private schools which will likely amount to about $1.5 billion from the Federal Government and an unspecified increase from the Coalition. Continue reading “The Real Class War on Display”

Is Gillard Preparing to Dump Gonski?

It seems that the Prime Minister may not “give a Gonski”. When challenged at a community cabinet meeting in Brisbane this week to implement the recommendations of the Gonski report on school funding she put the onus on state governments. Her response raises the question as to whether the Federal Government is preparing to dump the report and sheet home blame to Coalition state governments.

Continue reading “Is Gillard Preparing to Dump Gonski?”