Voucher Advocate Recants – “Vouchers are dangerous”

In a welcome display of intellectual honesty, a leading US advocate of school vouchers has recanted. In a damning indictment, Professor Joshua Cowen now says that “vouchers are dangerous” and they “fail to deliver for the kids who are often most in need”. He says that “the evidence is just too stark to justify the use of public money to fund private tuition”.

In an opinion piece in the US education website, The Hechinger Report, Professor Cowan unequivocally stated that voucher programs have failed in the United States:

They promise an all-too-simple solution to tough problems like unequal access to high-quality schools, segregation and even school safety. In small doses, years ago, vouchers seemed like they might work, but as more states have created more and larger voucher programs, experts like me have learned enough to say that these programs on balance can severely hinder academic growth — especially for vulnerable kids.

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Labor Chooses Tax Cuts for the Rich Over Better Funding for Disadvantaged Schools

The Prime Minister has chosen to deliver Scott Morrison’s billions in tax cuts for the rich while disadvantaged schools remain massively under-funded. New research shows that the PM should think again – the tax cuts are a complete waste. Fully funding disadvantaged schools will do more for economic growth than tax cuts for the rich.

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Waiting for Gonski – A Review Essay

The following is a summary of a review essay of Waiting for Gonski by Tome Greenwell and Chris Bonnor. The full review can be downloaded blelow.

Ten years ago, the Review of Funding for Schooling was published. Widely referred to as the “Gonski Report”, it recommended a completely new approach to funding schools in Australia. It was based on a national resource standard for schools – an estimate of the resources required to educate students with no identified disadvantage – supplemented by funding loadings for various categories of disadvantaged students and schools. It took account of both Commonwealth and state and territory government funding for schools.

The Labor Government adopted the basic framework recommended by the Gonski report. It was implemented through the Australian Education Act 2013, the National Education Reform Agreement between the Commonwealth and three state and territory governments and memorandums of understanding with private schools. It planned a $16 billion increase in school funding phased in over six years with over 80 per cent to go to public schools.

Waiting for Gonski by Tom Greenwell and Chris Bonner is a well-researched and well-written account of the history of the Gonski funding inquiry, the flawed implementation of the new funding model by the Labor Government and its destruction by successive Coalition governments. It reveals new information about the implementation of the Gonski model and should be read by anyone concerned about the state of school funding in Australia and inequity in education outcomes.

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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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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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