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educational reform « Previous | |Next »
July 25, 2012

Educational reform in Australia is now primarily seen in terms of increasing labour productivity and workforce participation rates in order to increase economic growth. It is usually discussed in terms of funding with the subtext being that of class rather than the quality of the education or encouraging critical thinking. Despite this, teacher quality is commonly held to be the key to improving the required neo-liberal educational outcomes.

In Gonski Takes Labor Back To Schools in New Matilda Ben Eltham reminds us that it was the Howard Government that broke with the 25-year settlement in Australian schools funding, in which the states funded the government schools, the Commonwealth funded the universities, and parents and churches funded private schools with some residual support from the feds.

The settlement was overturned by Howard and Kemp when they poured billions into private school education, with the result that Canberra now gives more money to private schools than it does to universities: more than $36 billion in federal funds will flow to non-government schools in the period 2009-2013.

According to Eltham the recent policy review of the schools system by David Gonski established the following:

One was that Australia’s school standards were dropping compared to international benchmarks. Another was that big gaps in quality had opened up in the Australian system — between top private schools and run-of-the-mill government schools, between capital cities and remote regions, and between indigenous and non-indigenous students. Finally, the Gonski report restated what everyone knew, but some were trying to deny. Schools funding is a dog’s breakfast — a complex and confused mish-mash of Commonwealth, state and territory funding systems and socio-economic formulas that were neither sustainable nor adequate.

Gonski recommended that the entire system of schools funding be reformed, with the eight state and territory standards and the alphabet soup of SES and AGSRC replaced by a single, national standard for funding per student that would apply across all the education systems of the land, public and private.

Will the Gillard Government bite the bullet?

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 1:35 PM | | Comments (3)


The Coalition will repeal any legislation to implement the Gonski Proposals. They are opposed to anything that undermined non-government school funding

We can expect the Liberal party to launch another of their very effective attacks on the ALP 's support for public education on the grounds that Labor’s approach to education is based on “class envy”.

The LIberal states will oppose the reforms as they unlikely to accept any changes to funding arrangement since Gonski’s implementation depends on matching funding from the states.

The progressive removal of middle-class kids from the public school system (the upper-class kids went a while ago) leaves public school teachers increasingly dealing with the disruptive behaviour of kids from dysfunctional families.

This leads to poorer outcomes, which in turn increases the incentive for parents to move their kids to private schools.

The public system is now in a death spiral from which little less than a revolution can save it. Gonski is too little, too late.