Comparison of Funding of Government and Non-Government Schools

Comparison of Howard Government Recurrent Funding of Government V Non-Government Schools 2006/2007 And 2007/2008

TOTAL AMOUNT

CLASSIFICATION OF SCHOOL

2006/2007

2007/2008

DIFFERENCE

Government School

$2,299,074,000

$2,510,453,000

$211.379,000

Non-Government (private church) schools

$5,303,261,000

$5,761,900,000

$458,639,000

per capita amount

CLASSIFICATION OF SCHOOL 2006/2007 2007/2008 DIFFERENCE
Government School $1022.6 $1116.6 $94.0

Non-Government (private church) schools

$4735.9

$5145.4

$409.5

It is obvious from the above tables which pressure group in Australian Education has captured the Treasury.

In the coming financial year private schools are to receive 4.4 times ( 440%) the increase in recurrent funding provided for government schools. In relative terms they are 4.6 times ( 460%) better off in terms of recurrent funding.

These figures do not take into account capital funding, that is taxpayers money put into private ownership of billions of dollars worth of private property, or indirect taxation expenditures provided in taxation exemptions because private church schools for the rich are "Charities".

One should reflect on the thin end of the wedge principle in relation to federal government activity in education. In 1969/70, when recurrent funding was first introduced, non-government, private schools received $12,177,000.

In the last 38 years this means there has been an explosion of State Aid to private/church schools of over 473 times.

It was estimated that in 2006, 117 church schools would receive more than $5 million each in per capita federal funds alone, and another 120 church schools would receive between $4 million and $5 million in federal recurrent grants in 2006.

3.        "THIN END OF THE WEDGE" SCHEMES

Readers should realize the implications of small increases of funding, which become a flood swamping public education with private education.

The thin end of the wedge which prizes open the public sector to federal government domination and privatisation is found in various announcements in Julie Bishop's budget papers. A quick perusal of her Media Release: "Education for Life: Realizing our Potential" indicates this. She has noted that:

 in addition to the total funding provided for schools in this year's budget the Australian Government will, from 2009, require that government and non-government education authorities focus on improving school standards and quality including through

  • introducing national teacher training and registration standards to improve the skills of new teachers;

  • including external assessment as part of Year 12 certificates and common descriptions of levels of achievement;

  • introducing greater principal autonomy in school management and teacher employment arrangements;

  • introducing performance based pay for teachers to encourage and reward excellent teaching;

  • reporting school and student performance against national benchmarks ( including literacy and numeracy results with school and state comparisons;

Not included in the above was the extension of the literacy "voucher" scheme.

The above adds up to a fractionising, destructive attack on the principles of public education. It points to a wholesale takeover of public education by an aggressive right wing revolutionary  government.

The above schemes will enable the Federal Government to destroy public education more quickly than starving the system of funds. The above programs are guaranteed to open the public system up to wholesale privatisation. God Principals are a disaster for teachers, students and public schools.

4.     REACTION OF TEACHER UNIONS TO THESE SCHEMES

The Federal AEU commented on the above schemes as follows:

"This budget has more of the same of the ideologically driven initiatives like performance pay and literacy and numeracy vouchers . Tying funding to divisive programs like performance pay will only put a greater administrative burden on schools and wont help to improve student outcomes...

and

The extension of the literacy voucher schemes means more money again being directed to private tutors who have little or no accountability for student outcomes. This is money which could and should be directed to schools where it is most needed.

The NSW Teachers Federation commented:

"Instead of systematic funding,. the Treasurer, Peter Costello has put forward gimmicks and failed "incentive" schemes. These include :

  • offering cash bonuses to schools based on exam results which may in effect punish struggling students;

  • literacy and numeracy vouchers - this scheme takes money out of public schools and dissipates it.

  • establishing more (private) "Australian technical colleges" which duplicate courses already available at TAFE Colleges and public schools.

  • "Summer schools "- all teachers need the support provided by regular and funded professional development and training."

5.        REACTION OF TEACHER UNIONS TO FUNDING

The two strongest Teacher Organisations that promote Public Education , the Federal AEU and the NSW Teachers Federation thankfully, entered the lists. They roundly condemned the Federal Budget. Readers should be aware of some of the Statements made by these two groups.

We refer you to www.nswtf.org.au/media/latest_2007/20070509_budget.html and www.aeufederal.org.au ( Media Release 8 May 2007)

Readers should be aware of some of the statements from these two groups.

a).        The NSWTF  News Release 9 May 2007 stated that the Budget Betrays our Public School Students as follows::

Public school and TAFE College students are betrayed in Peter Costello's twelfth budget which provides no real increase in funding to public education. The federal government's education priorities are completely wrong and deliberately misguided.

With a record surplus, the federal government has chosen to bypass the 2.3 million students in public schools and the 1.3 million in TAFE Colleges across Australia. Only public education is open and available to all students regardless of family background, faith and level of income.

Over the next five years public schools will only receive an increase of $300 million. Private schools will be given almost six times as much - $1.7 billion. The Federal Coalition Government has exponentially increased per student funding to private schools since 1996.

For every one dollar of direct federal recurrent expenditure per public school student, the federal government spent the following on a private school student:

 

1996 $1.00 per public school student $3.50 per private school student
2001-4 $1.00 $4.00
2005-8 $1.00 $5.00
2009-12 $1.00 approx $6.00

These increases are clear policy directions not enrolment changes.

Public schools need an extra $2.9 billion in recurrent annual funding from federal and state governments (MCEETYA report). The federal government has ignored this shortfall and the problems arising from chronic under funding. Early childhood has also missed out in this budget. There are also no increases for TAFE.

It is a national disgrace that the federal government, awash with funds, continues to fail public education

b).        The Australian Education Union Media Release "Public School Students Lose Out  Again"   stated that :

"Peter Costello's 12th budget will further convince Australian parents that the Howard Government does not care about the nearly 70% of Australian students who attend public schools.

..the budget just underlines the decade of neglect suffered by public schools under the Howard Government.

Public schools need an extra $2.9 billion in recurrent annual funding but there is no attempt in this budget to address the problems which have arisen as a result of that systematic under-funding.

The $ 549 million in wage top-ups for apprentices and apprentice training vouchers will help individuals but does nothing to build the infrastructure our TAFE system needs to properly address Australia's skills shortage.

By skewing funding away from public schools the Howard Government is denying thousands of Australian children this opportunity.

The Howard Government has decreased share of funding for public education from 42% to 35% since they came to power and this budget just continues that decline.