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Canberra: what about Gonski? « Previous | |Next »
August 18, 2012

When I was watching Question Time in the House of Representatives last week I thought that the Coalition’s iron grip on the political agenda is beginning to loosen. The Coalition's no carbon tax wrecking ball mantra has lost its resonance and momentum --it looks like what it always was, a political slogan with no policy substance behind it with respect to energy policy. Carbon pricing now a fact of life and ordinary life continues.

With Big Tobacco defeated maybe the Gillard Government has a space to begin to focus on its educational reform agenda in the form of the Gonski school funding review. Christopher Pyne, the Coalition education spokesman, has not only rejected Gonski but said that an Abbott government would repeal it.

RoweDGonski.jpg
David Rowe

This provides an opportunity for the Gillard government to push a policy issue to which it might be able to get a positive reaction, since the Liberals are publicly seen to be attentive to the needs of private education at the expense of public education, and they are increasingly assertive in defending public funding for the very richest private schools.

It's an inequitable system as there is a concentration of disadvantaged students within particular parts of the government schooling sector, and the accumulation of resources within particular parts of the private schooling sector. Even though it's an inequitable system the Coalition will offer little to families who want more from the government sector. Their position is one of "equal funding, regardless of need".

The Gillard Government can respond by outlining additional terms and conditions linking funding increases with a commitment to enrolling disadvantaged students when they address the imbalance of responsibility of state and federal government for public and private schools with increased Commonwealth funding.

The Gonski review said that while all sectors should get more, the largest increase is required for the government schools, where there was the most need. The intention of the Gonski Review is that the majority of the funding will go to government schools because that's where the greatest concentration of disadvantage lies.

The review has called for:

*school reform initiatives to reflect much closer Commonwealth-state ties.

*a much closer systemic integration within and between various school providers so that public funding more efficiently reflects national education reform agenda.

*and has identified what those targets should be, which, apart from allocating a fixed entitlement per student across all systems and providers, assigns additional funding in respect of disadvantaged groups, including indigenous students, rural and remote schools and students with disabilities.

One difficulty here is that Gonski’s implementation depends on matching funding from the states. Another is that the elite private schools can harness the social capital of their wealthy parents, plus government funding, to leverage ever higher standards. Most schools in the public system cannot keep up due to their lower resources.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 5:48 AM | | Comments (4)
Comments

Comments

"the Liberals are publicly seen to be attentive to the needs or private education at the expense of public education"

Abbott has contradicted the findings of the Gonski review into school funding by suggesting that state schools receive too large a share of education spending. Private schools were being treated unjustly by receiving a smaller proportion of funding than state schools.

Gonski recommended an annual $5 billion increase in funding to all schools, but with an emphasis on increased funding to state schools because they have a higher proportion of disadvantaged students.

The Gonski review found that more than 80 per cent of students who could not ''participate in society'' because they were so far behind in reading and mathematics were in state schools.

Abbott is opposed to increased funding to help disadvantaged low income students in residual schools even though they are on average two to three years behind their high-income peers.

Gonski recommended an annual $5 billion increase in funding to all schools, but with an emphasis on increased funding to state schools because they have a higher proportion of disadvantaged students.

The Gonski review found that more than 80 per cent of students who could not ''participate in society'' because they were so far behind in reading and mathematics were in state schools.

Abbott is opposed to increased funding to help disadvantaged low income students in residual schools even though they are on average two to three years behind their high-income peers.

After bearing witness to the Lee Sales interview of Anthony Adverse last night am-truly-perturbed enough to be alarmed at the prospect of such a strange person being entrusted with the running of our country at a future time.
Light's on, is anyone home?