The Federal Budget is a disaster for public education in Australia. It has killed off the Gonski school funding increases for 2017-18 and 2018-19. Public schools stand to over $6 billion as a result. The unity ticket on school funding promised by Abbott and Pyne before the election has been completely shredded.
Tuesday April 1, 2014
Following questions raised about its commitment to the Gonski funding for the two final years of the six year transition period, the Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten, has clarified Labor’s position. At a doorstop interview in Perth yesterday, Shorten gave an unequivocal commitment to the full Gonski funding.
The new National Plan for School Improvement (NPSI) consists of a new funding model for government and private schools, increased funding over six years and a range of new education policies. The new funding model is based on the framework recommended by the Gonski report, but there are some significant differences.
This is a speech to a Gonski Information Forum in Perth by Trevor Cobbold on 6 June.
The new school funding plan passed by the House of Representatives last week is a potential watershed for school funding in Australia. It breaks new ground in the history of school funding with its focus on increasing equity in education. Its adoption of Gonski’s equity goals and principles sets the foundation for the future.
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.
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.
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”
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.
The Prime Minister’s pointed and repeated refusal to commit, even in principle or in part, to taking up the recommendation of the Gonski review to boost school funding leaves government schools very vulnerable to getting little out of the review. Yet, over-funded private schools will continue to be guaranteed their privileged funding, and many private schools may get even more as the Government goes into an election year. Continue reading “Gillard Should Go it Alone on Gonski”
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?”