Public school students in Victoria are being robbed of funding by a bloated bureaucracy There has been a huge expansion in the education bureaucracy over the past decade or more. It has far exceeded the growth in teachers and students in public schools. It has soaked up much of a very small funding increase for public schools.
Since 2009, the increase in non-teaching staff in the public education system was double that of teachers and three times the increase in students. Non-teaching staff increased by 60.4% between 2009 and 2021 compared to a 29.3% increase in teachers and an increase of 20.1% in students.
The growth in non-teaching staff has occurred at all levels of the school system – central and regional offices and in schools. The increases occurred under both Liberal and Labor Governments.
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The following is a summary of a research paper on school outcomes and funding in Victooria.. The paper can be downloaded below.
Victoria is not the education state it claims. It is a failed education state because it has largely failed to improve results for disadvantaged students, the vast majority of whom attend public schools. Funding failures are a major factor behind the education failure.
There have been a few successes, most notably in some Indigenous outcomes, but they are few and far between. The Victorian election is an opportunity to fix the failures. The funding of public schools is a key test for candidates and parties.
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The Shadow Minister for Education, Alan Tudge, has again fudged figures on school funding and school results. He is a serial offender here. He regularly resorted to fudging data while Minister for Education to denigrate Australia’s school performance. His fudges obscure the facts that school funding increases have heavily favoured private schools for the last two decades.
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New figures published by the Australian Tax Office (ATO) last month dramatically show how the rich rob from the poor. They rob from the poor by paying no or minimal taxes which siphons funding from key services such as public education, health care, aged care and the NDIS. The ATO figures show that a tiny minority of very wealthy individuals feed their wealth at the expense of millions of low income families who rely on these crucial public services.
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The Albanese Government should scrap the Stage 3 tax cuts for the rich. They are indefensible when public education and other critical human services face a funding crisis. New studies show that there are no trickle-down economic benefits from tax cuts for the rich. They only to boost inequality directly and indirectly.
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Save Our Schools today called on the Albanese Government to ditch the Stage 3 tax cuts for the rich. SOS National Convenor, Trevor Cobbold, said the tax cuts are indefensible when public education and other services face a funding crisis. “New economic studies show that the tax cuts will only serve to boost inequality without any economic benefit”.
“The tax cuts will cost $243 billion over the next ten years according to new estimates by the Parliamentary Budget Office and over $150 million will go to the top 20% of income earners. This massive windfall for the richest people in Australis will exacerbate inequality and those most in need will be denied key services.
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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:
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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.
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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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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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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