Schools need more funding
A radical shake up could see a push toward equality between state and private school funding. Gonski review is set to bridge gaps between private and public schools. Hannah Sinclair reports.
The Gonski report recommends the Government spends and extra five billion dollars on education. Three quarters of this money would go to state schools. The Gillard Government hasn’t yet committed to increase, while many public schools are welcoming this news some lobby groups are still concerned that wealthy private schools could be set to receive substantial funding increases.
Monday David Gonski revealed the first in-depth review of funding arrangements for schooling since 1973.
“The report proposes arrangements that we believe will deliver a funding system that is transparent, equitable and financially sustainable,” said David Gonski who continued by commenting on the report.
“The differences in educational outcome must not be the result of differences in wealth, income, power or possessions.”
The president of the Australian Education Union Angelo Gavrielatos has welcomed the suggested five billion dollar boost to funding education; he says Prime Minister Gillard should follow through on the recommendation.
“The recommendation for the injection of five million dollars in our schools is great news. We welcome the recommendation and we call on the government to act immediately in order to insure that we progress and see the development of new funding system, new legislation this year, so that resources can flow to our schools as soon as possible.”
Mr. Gavrielatos says that it’s fair that three quarters of the funding will be directed toward public schools. He says this is representative of what is needed in the sector.
“It also reflects the concentration of disadvantage in government schools. Government schools across the nation educate about 80 percentages of special needs students and 85 percentage of indigenous students. The overwhelming majority of students in remote and isolate settings and the overwhelming majority of students who are new arrivals of a non English speaking background. It’s only appropriate that the overwhelming majority of this funding will go to government schools,” says Anglo Gavrielatos.
The Gonski report says the capacity of parents to contribute to their school should also be taken into account this means that private schools funding could eventually be means tested.
The president of NSW teacher’s federation Maurie Mulheron says that all political parties should get behind the report.
“This is the time when we can have funding turn into a critical football. All parties should get behind these recommendations and do it for the national interest.”
Mr. Mulheron also agrees that the Gillard government needs to make the investment. After the report revealed that Australian schools are falling behind international standards.
“We have been doing it on the cheap far too long and we now need to put in the investment into this nations future. Our kids deserve it and we shouldn’t relegate another generation of young people to have to go to schools that are poorly resourced and this is an opportunity to actually do it better for our kids,” says Mr. Mulheron.
The panel recommend that private and public school funding should be balanced by adopting a new schools resources standard. This means that there will be a base funding rate for each student with special allowances for those with disabilities, low income or schools with more indigenous pupils. The national convenor of Save Our Schools Trevor Cobbold says the report is flawed because it panders to wealthy private schools.
“Low income students are two to three years behind their high income counterparts and essentially what the federal government has done is to issue a new no loser’s guaranty for private schools for their federal funding. The wealthy private schools get funding guaranties into the future, while the poor and the disadvantaged threw on the never.”
Mr. Cobbold says he sees no case for private schools to keep a hold of government funding.
“80 of the wealthiest schools that serve the wealthiest families in Australia get 400 million dollars a year in federal government funding, which is now going to be indexed into the future. That funding ought to be used as part of the funding pool to reduce the achievement gap between rich and poor in the country.”
Heather Sinclair is a reporter for The Wire