Victorian Government Schools Short Changed on Funds

The Age newspaper is on the money, with its recent reporting on the financial plight facing an increasing number of Victorian government schools. With banner headlines such as “Schools battling to balance books” (11/06), “Broke schools forced to hire out teachers” (17/06), and most recently, “Schools cutting classes, breaking rules for money” (21/6), The Age is confirming what everyone in our government system knows – our school funding model is bankrupt! Disturbingly, that’s only the half of it.

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Ken Boston Lambasts Political Failure on Gonski

A key member of the Gonski School Funding Review, Ken Boston, has savaged the political failure to implement the Gonski plan as originally recommended. In a speech last week to the NSW branch of the Australian Council of Educational Leaders commemorating the eminent educator, Dr. Paul Brock, Boston said that Gonksi has been “torn apart at the seams”.

While welcoming the increase in funding that has flowed from the review, Boston listed several fundamental weaknesses of the funding system implemented post-Gonski. Most importantly, the system that has emerged from the political process is not sector-blind, needs-based funding as recommended by the review panel, but continues to discriminate between public and private schools.

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Apple and Other Multinationals are Fleecing the Disadvantaged

A ground breaking decision by the European Commission has highlighted massive tax evasion by large multinational firms that depletes government revenue to invest in essential services such as health and education. The loss falls most heavily on disadvantaged families who get reduced access to quality health services and education opportunities for their children.

The Federal Government claims that funding the $7 billion for the last two years of the Gonski school funding plan is not sustainable given the state of the federal budget. However, tax evasion by large multinational companies is a major drain on government revenue and it needs to be stopped to provide decent health and education for disadvantaged families and children.

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Birmingham’s Unscrupulous Duplicities on School Funding

There was much wringing of hands at the stagnation in Australia’s literacy and numeracy results revealed by the latest NAPLAN data. A critical factor behind the stagnation is the continuing failure of governments to spend money where it is most needed and will do most good. Since 2009, funding increases have been misdirected to the school sectors least in need while funding has been cut to public schools which serve the overwhelming proportion of disadvantaged students.

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Ending Federal Funding of Public Education is Still on the Agenda

At the end of last month, the Prime Minister floated the idea that the Federal Government withdraw from funding public education as part of a proposal to allow the states to levy income taxes. The idea had a short life because at a meeting of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) on the following day, the states rejected levying their own income taxes. A few days later, the Prime Minister said that he is “totally committed” to funding public schools while the Minister for Education, Simon Birmingham, said that the “Turnbull Government is not abandoning schools or public education and has never proposed doing so”.

These statements are highly misleading. COAG has decided to consider an alternative proposal that will have the same effect of ending targeted federal government funding of public education. The Prime Minister and his Education Minister are flagrantly misleading the public in the lead up to the election. It is a sleight of hand that ranks with Tony Abbott’s and Christopher Pyne’s 2013 pre-election big lie that the Coalition was on a “unity ticket” with Labor on school funding. Continue reading “Ending Federal Funding of Public Education is Still on the Agenda”

Can We Afford Gonski?

This article is a summary of a speech delivered by the National Convenor of Save Our Schools, Trevor Cobbold, to a state-wide meeting of the Meeting of the Victorian Association of State Secondary School Principals on the 11 March. A much expanded and fully referenced version of the speech can be downloaded below

The Turnbull Government claims that we cannot afford the $7 million funding originally planned for the last two years of the Gonksi plan initiated by the previous Labor Government. Labor and the Greens appear to agree, because they both now only commit to a much reduced level of funding for the last two years.

Australia is a low tax country and the Government has a massive potential revenue pool from which to fund Gonski by reducing tax expenditures and clamping down on the use of overseas tax havens by wealthy individuals and corporations.

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Money can’t buy you love but can it buy you a better education?

The following article is a summary of a new analysis of public and private school Victorian Certificate of Education results and their comparative funding levels by Dr. David Zyngier, Senior Lecturer in Curriculum & Pedagogy, Faculty of Education, Monash University. 

It is often claimed as fact that private schools outperform public schools. New analysis of MySchool data and 2015 Victorian Certificate of Education year 12 results by Dr David Zyngier of Monash University Education Faculty shows that public schools and private schools with similar Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage (ICSEA) rankings have very similar VCE results. However, public schools achieve these results with far less funding.

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Victorian Catholic Education Commission Favours High SES Schools in Funding Allocations

The Catholic Education Commission of Victoria (CECV) is failing to direct state government funding to students most in need according to a new report by the Victorian Auditor-General. The report shows that the CECV is directing state government funding away from the lower socio-economic status schools to schools with a higher socio-economic status. There is also evidence that Catholic education authorities are favouring high SES schools in re-allocating Commonwealth funding.

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Australia’s Unfair School Funding System Must Be Overhauled

The following is a summary of an Education Policy Brief published by Save Our Schools. The Brief can be downloaded below.

Over the past 15 years, total Commonwealth and state government funding for private schools has grown at more than twice the rate of funding for public schools, and in more recent years, funding for public schools has been cut while private school funding still increased.

Between 1998-99 and 2013-14, government funding per private school student, adjusted for inflation, increased by 39% compared with only 17% for public schools. More recently, between 2009-10 and 2013-14, real funding for public schools funding per student fell by 3% while private school funding increased by 10%.

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Another Study Shows That Money Matters in Education

A new review of research studies has found that money matters in education. It shows that there is strong evidence of a positive relationship between school funding and student achievement and that particular school resources that cost money have a positive influence on student results. As well, more equitable allocation of funds between schools increases equity in student outcomes. Continue reading “Another Study Shows That Money Matters in Education”