Public Schools Face a Funding Crisis; Private Schools Are in Clover

Government funding increases continue to massively favour private schools over public schools according to new figures published by the Australian Curriculum, Reporting and Assessment Authority (ACARA). As a result, Catholic and Independent schools are far better resourced than public schools in every state even though public schools enrol over 80% of all disadvantaged students and 95% of all disadvantaged schools are public schools. This funding trend is set to continue under current funding arrangements and more special deals for private schools from the Morrison Government. This is a recipe for continuing educational, social and economic inequality.

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Funding, Enrolments and Staffing in NSW Public Schools

The following is a summary of a submission to the Independent Inquiry on the Teaching Profession in NSW Public Schools. The full submission can be downloaded below.

The NSW public education system has undergone a huge expansion in bureaucracy since 2003. There was a massive increase in administrative staff in schools and in central and regional offices that is many times greater than the increase in students. Yet, there was only a very small increase in inflation-adjusted funding per student despite a large increase in disadvantaged students. Expanding the bureaucracy was prioritised over funding classroom learning and support. As one former principal told Save Our Schools, it reflects an “increase in roles orchestrating compliance not teaching, learning and curriculum”.

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Turnbull Exposes Rorting of School Funding by Catholic Church

In his recently published memoirs, Malcolm Turnbull thoroughly exposes the hypocrisy of Catholic education authorities in diverting taxpayer funding intended for poor schools to subsidise rich inner-city schools. In doing so, he exposed his own hypocrisy by allowing them to continue to do so under his Gonski 2.0 funding model.

Turnbull says:

I felt too many of the Church leaders were more interested in defending their system and resisting accountability than in fulfilling Jesus’ mission to the poor.

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Wealthy private schools don’t deserve bailout money

The following letter was published in the Washington Post yesterday. It has particular relevance because of similar claims from private schools in Australia for a taxpayer bailout.

I was disappointed to learn from the May 6 Metro article “D.C. prep schools keep federal loans” that many of the area’s private schools are being bailed out with taxpayer money. Sidwell Friends School, with only about 1,100 students, received $5 million in bailout money while charging $45,000 in tuition. If elite private schools cannot keep themselves afloat with that kind of revenue coming in, then those institutions deserve to go belly up and their students sent to D.C.-area public schools, where they can get a comparable, if not superior, education.

These private schools should not be allowed to be bailed out when our public schools are scrambling to redo their budgets and our underpaid public school teachers face potential furloughs. Meanwhile, the largest school district in our area, Fairfax County Public Schools, educates more than 188,000 students and employs more than 24,000 people. FCPS and other D.C.-area public schools graduate some of the best talent in the world, while charging not a cent in tuition.

Districts such as FCPS are mainstays of the local economy that provide priceless value to local communities through education and support. Small, endowment-rich private schools have no business receiving our taxpayer dollars while public school systems around the nation get left behind.

The Coalition Govt Sabotaged the Gonski Funding Model

The following is the conclusion of a Working Paper published by Save Our Schools on the sabotage of the Gonski funding model by the Coalition Government. The paper can be downloaded below.

Comments on the paper are invited. Notification of issues not covered and mistakes of fact, analysis and interpretation will be appreciated. Please excuse any remaining typos and repetitions. Comments can be sent to the Save Our Schools email address:

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Increased Spending Improves School Results

A new study published in the Journal of Public Economics found that increased expenditure on schools in low-spending school districts led to significant improvements in student achievement and high school graduation. It adds to the large number of research studies showing that money matters in education.

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Morrison’s $3.4 Billion Increase for Private Schools is Another Special Deal

The report by the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee on moving to a direct income measure of assessing the capacity to contribute of families in private schools contains a bombshell. It unequivocally shows that the financial cost of the move to a direct income measure has never been properly calculated by the Government. The additional funding for private schools of $3.2 billion (now $3.4 billion) promised by the Government is just another special deal plucked out of thin air.

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New Method of Assessing Financial Need of Private Schools Has Major Flaws

At the end of February the Senate referred the provisions of the Australian Education Amendment (Direct Measure of Income) Bill 2020 to the Education and Employment Legislation Committee for inquiry and report. The Bill provides for a new measure of capacity to contribute by families to private schools, adjusted taxable income, to replace the area-based socio-economic status method introduced in 2001.

The submission by Save Our Schools highlights major flaws in the new measure and makes 13 recommendations to the Senate Committee. It can be downloaded below.

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ACT Public Schools Hit With Funding Cut While Private Schools Got a Massive Funding Increase

The following are the notes and slides of a talk given to the ACT Council of P&C Associations by Trevor Cobbold on 25th of February. It shows that changes in school income and government funding have hugely favoured Catholic and Independent schools over public schools since 2009. In particular, government funding of public schools has been cut while private schools received large increases in funding. Moreover, public schools face further cuts in funding as a result of the bilateral agreement between the Commonwealth and ACT Governments in December 2018. In contrast, private schools will continue to be over-funded under the agreement and as a result of another special funding deal by the Commonwealth

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The Federal Government Has a National Responsibility to Fund Public Education

The call by the former head of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Martin Parkinson, for the Federal Government to hand over all responsibility for school funding to the States would have disastrous consequences for the nation. If pursued, it will only ever apply to public schools because the Coalition and Labor will never agree to ending the Federal role in funding private schools. Ending Federal funding for public schools would undermine national education, social and economic goals,

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