AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL FOR THE DEFENCE OF GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS
PRESS RELEASE 442
GONSKI FUNDING REPORTS AVOID THE OBVIOUS :
ONLY PUBLIC SYSTEMS PROVIDE EQUITY
15 September 2011
The ALP and Gonski Committee are involved in a hopeless exercise because they studiously avoid the obvious truth:
Only public systems of education can provide equitable outcomes.
They are politically correct in avoiding the public/private ideological divide, concentrating on ‘schools’ not systems and their underlying objectives.
Forty years of ‘Needs’ policies and pages of statistics later, all Reports have discovered that the current funding arrangements have failed to provide equitable outcomes. Surprise! Surprise!
All ‘independent’ Reports reveal a growing tail of disadvantage in Australia. These inequities are far greater than any confronting the nation in the 1960s, and occur in the public school systems.
Because since 1969 private religious systems have been provided with billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money to divide children on the basis of creed, class and culture.
No-one, except the DOGS and ordinary public school parents, have the plain guts to spell out the obvious. If you subsidise the wealthy, the poor get poorer.
SO…with the reports commissioned by Gonski we are looking at evidence of obvious failure of the various versions of “Needs’ policies. Yet, because ‘no school will lose a dollar’, the citizen taxpayer is left with recommendations for ‘more of the same’.
i. The Allen Report talks about a school resource standard for all schools. with added weightings for specific needs. This is favoured by the sectarian systems.
Without open accountability for all private school financial resources, this will quickly descend into a voucher system - and greater disadvantage. The added ‘weightings for disadvantage’ will lead to continued rorting by the sectarian sector.
ii. The ACER Report reveals the need for a substantial long term investment in schools with disadvantaged students, primarily government schools.
This rehash of the ‘Needs’ policy will be open to abuse by ‘needy’religious schools.
The ACER Report also suggests that residualised schools should be targeted with ‘significant investment funding’ above and beyond recurrent funding for a five to ten year period.
This assumes that schools are cogs in a market economy, rather than an essential local community resource, part of a system provided by governments out of taxpayer funding.
iii. The Nous group suggest reconsideration of funding for elite private schools that are proven to not be value-adding to student performance, and pressure on wealthy sectarian schools to take disadvantaged students.
This assumes that education is a ‘charity’, not a ‘right’.
To be fair, however, the Nous group do draw distinctions between Australia and countries that do not subsidise sectarian systems of education. They even refer to three distinct ‘sectors’. However, they do not distinguish between the objectives of public and sectarian systems.
iv. The Deloitte report recommends a streamlined and co-ordinated approach to funding and notes that the effect of funding maintenance for the private systems has negated the SES ( Needs) model. The allocation of funds using students’ home addresses as a proxy for socio-economic status is also criticized as a ‘crude measure’.
Deloitte does not take the next step and point out that only a public authority accountable for public money and responsible to parliament can provide certainty of educational outcome.
It is unlikely that the Gonski Committee will confront the obvious as they manufacture statistical and sectarian obscurities according to their terms of reference.
The plain facts are these:
i. The basic ideological differences between public systems open to all and sectarian systems that discriminate is not going to go away.
ii. Only a public system is available to all and can tackle disadvantage.
iii. Only a well funded public system can provide the nation with an educated and skilled citizenry.
iv. Only a public system is publicly accountable for public money.
v. Other countries with equitable systems do not subsidise sectarian systems
vi. All Australian attempts at ‘Needs’ policies have failed because the sectarian systems have shamelessly abused them – quite legally . There has been and still is little or no public accountability for the billions of dollars poured into these systems on an annual basis.
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