This will be an evolving post throughout the day. The Prime Minister is set to deliver the government’s response to the Gonski review of school funding that it set up. The headline findings of the review were that school education needs an additional 5 billion dollars a year, and that it’s time, finally, to do something about the inequities between funding of private and public education.
Have to admit that my attitude can be summarised as ‘hoping for the best and preparing for the worst’. Would be lovely to be ‘surprised by courage’…
Predictions from Michelle Grattan at The Age: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/political-news/pm-pledge-for-top-five-school-spot-20120902-258k5.html
“Today’s announcement will put front and centre a major difference between the parties, with the Coalition saying it would repeal any legislation to implement Gonski, and Tony Abbott recently suggesting independent schools already do not get a just deal.”
Liveblog of the announcement is here: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/blogs/the-pulse/gonski-live-september-3-2012-20120903-2594u.html
While the overall plan is positive, the fact that it is contingent on (mostly conservative now) State governments worries me.
And this chills my spine:
The Prime Minister:
New funding will be contingent on states and systems agreeing to and delivering school improvement – and school improvement takes time.
Can you say ‘No Child Left Behind’? If school funding is contingent on narrowly-defined ‘improvement’ (i.e. perpetually rising test scores), this is anti-reform.
Disappointing (though perhaps inevitable these days) that it is being sold almost entirely on the basis of international economic competitiveness.
And disappointing, too, that these are the focus points (from The Age site linked above):
- Lifting teacher quality, including requiring more classroom experience before graduation and higher entry requirements for the teaching profession.
- More power for principals, including over budgets and staff selection.
- More information for parents through My School.
Last thing: government’s site on the initiative: http://www.betterschools.gov.au/
My short summary: neither as good, nor as bad, as it could have been. Perhaps a bit more analysis tomorrow, if I have the heart for it…