Fully Fund Public Schools to Increase Productivity

Prime Minister Albanese says that increasing productivity is a priority for the Labor Government. A key component of increasing productivity is improving workforce knowledge and skills. However, major barriers to improving Australia’s workforce knowledge and skills include the large proportion of disadvantaged students who do not achieve an adequate level of education and the large achievement gaps between rich and poor. Over 80 per cent of disadvantaged students attend public schools and they are massively under-funded. Fully funding public schools will be fundamental to achieving Labor’s goal of increased productivity and economic prosperity because money matters in education.

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Submission to the Productivity Commission Inquiry on the National School Reform Agreement

The following is a submission to the Productivity Commission Inquiry on the National School Reform Agreement by Professor Pasi Sahlberg and Trevor Cobbold.

1.     Introduction

This submission focuses on the issue of the meaning of equity in education and how progress in improving equity can be measured and monitored. It is supported by the attached paper “Leadership for Equity and Adequacy in Education” published in the Journal School Leadership and Management. We consider that the idea of equity is central to national school reform and is not defined clearly enough in the current framework guiding the National School reform Agreement.

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Media Release: A Public Education Agenda for the New Education Minister

Save Our Schools (SOS) today presented a public education agenda for the new Minister for Education, Jason Clare. SOS National Convenor, Trevor Cobbold, said that Labor’s silence on crucial issues in public education must end: “The new Minister must step up for public schools”.

“Labor went to the election without an agenda for public education. It cannot be a do nothing government on public education. There are major issues and challenges facing public education that the new Minister must take action on.

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Stuart Robert’s Duplicities on School Funding and Outcomes

Education is the forgotten issue of the Federal election campaign. Yet, it hasn’t stopped the promulgation of highly misleading statements about school performance and funding by the Acting Education Minister, Stuart Robert. He claimed on the 7.30 Report last week that the Government has increased funding for public schools by 113 per cent and 86 per cent for private schools yet Australia’s international results have decreased. Both claims are highly misleading.

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Labor Chooses Privilege Over Fairness in Education

Labor has chosen privilege over fairness in school funding. It has chosen to continue the massive over-funding of Australia’s wealthiest schools and dumped its commitment to fully fund public schools. It is a craven capitulation to the powerful interests in private schools. It denies resources to those most in need. Fairness in school funding has missed out in Labor’s election campaign.

Labor has endorsed Morrison’s massive over-funding of private schools, including hundreds of millions of dollars for the most exclusive schools in Australia. Labor Education Shadow Minister, Tanya Plibersek, recently said that “Catholic and independent schools will not have their funding touched” by a Labor Government. In doing so, she endorsed the rapacious greed of the wealthy for taxpayer resources.

Exclusive Independent schools are massively over-funded by the Morrison Government. Just 50 schools will be over-funded by nearly $400 million from 2022 to 2028 under the current funding arrangements, an average of $8 million per school (see Table below).

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A Letter to Parents on NSW Teachers’ Strike

The following is a letter to parents from the NSW Teachers’ Federation on the forthcoming strike by teachers.

Every day across NSW, children are missing out because of a lack of teachers. It’s an unacceptable situation affecting public and private schools. Children can’t put their education on hold and wait for this to be fixed. They have a right to be taught by a fully qualified teacher today and every day. This is why teachers and principals have made the difficult decision to go on strike on Wednesday, May 4.

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Wealthy Victorian Private Schools Massively Over-Funded by the Morrison Government

Many Victorian private schools are massively over-funded by the Commonwealth Government. Victorian Catholic education system and about one-third of Independent schools will be over-funded by $510 million by the Commonwealth Government from 2022 to 2028.

The Catholic system will be over-funded by $225 million and 67 Independent schools by $285 million. Just 33 Independent schools are over-funded by $224 million. They account for nearly 80% of the total over-funding of Independent schools. They include many of the most expensive and exclusive schools in Victoria.

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Exclusive WA Private Schools Massively Over-Funded by the Morrison Government

Western Australian private schools are massively over-funded by the Commonwealth Government. The WA Catholic education system and about 40 per cent of Independent schools will be over-funded by $324 million by the Commonwealth Government from 2022 to 2028.

The Catholic system will be over-funded by $158 million and 56 Independent schools by $166 million. Just 14 Independent schools will be over-funded by $98 million. They include many of the most expensive and exclusive schools in Western Australia. The full list of over-funded Independent schools is in Attachment 1 below. The estimates are based on official figures presented to Senate Estimates.

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Wealthy Qld Private Schools Massively Over-Funded by the Morrison Government

Queensland private schools are massively over-funded by the Commonwealth Government. Queensland Catholic education system and about one-third of Independent schools will be over-funded by $665 million by the Commonwealth Government from 2022 to 2028.

The Catholic system will be over-funded by $384 million and 88 Independent schools by $271 million. Just 30 Independent schools are over-funded by $199 million. They account for nearly three-quarters of the total over-funding of Independent schools. They include many of the most expensive and exclusive schools in Queensland.

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Critical Pedagogy in the Age of Neoliberalism

The experience of the 21st century in education is dominated by the culture and language of neoliberalism. Since the mainstreaming of neoliberal values in the 1980s, a dominance of hyper-individualism, meritocracy, competition and conservative, nationalist values has been normalised in the day-to-day practices and culture of the British education systems (Angus, 2015). This has created a culture in which social problems have been reimagined as individual problems; in which the ‘tyranny of merit’ (Sandel, 2020) paints those who do not ‘achieve’ – where achievement is measured in purely quantitative terms – as disposable and wholly to blame for their own failures.

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