Wednesday, 29 January 2014

School Funding

When the Gonski funding model was released by the previous government, Glen Park was eligible for an extra $90 000 is Commonwealth funding ( modest compared to some schools but lavish for us) we planned to use that funding (over 6 years) to employ a 0.2 teacher ( one day a week) either to provide LOTE or another specialist subject or to provide extra support for our early years students. Sadly, a change of government means an 'adjustment' to Gonski ( refer previous posts from last year about the gymnastics Minister Pyne performed trying to squirm out of his pre-election Gonski promises) funding. As a result increased state government funding will barely cover rising costs.Glen Park's SRP (Student Resource Package) has only increased marginally even though our enrolments have grown since 2013.
The commonwealth government has guaranteed a funding increase for private schools but not state schools. The government has committed to a funding increase of only $2.8 billion over 4 years instead of $10.3 billion over 6 years as was the original proposal. A shortfall of a staggering $7.5 billion. It should be noted that the new government promised to enact the Gonski reforms prior to the last election. The government also said it would provide funding without strings which means that state governments will be free to decide whether to increase their funding for state schools, substitute federal funding for their own funding or simply cut their funding.
 Minister Pyne will claim that states should decide whether they spend their money or not.(it should be noted that the state government has already significantly cut funding to state schools) State schools and schools like Glen Park are the big losers between these 2 governments. The cost of education has increased, with fees for private education NOT falling as previous government ministers said they would.( Howard and Kemp) A child being educated at a private school in Melbourne from kindergarten to year 12 will cost $500 000! ( For a state school education over 13 years it will cost $63 000) It would be interesting to see what it costs to send a student to a private and state school in Ballarat. Even more interesting to see what it would cost to send a child to a big school compared to a small rural school. Mmmmmm!
UNESCO recently released a report called "global learning crisis" which showed that 84% of the poorest year 8 students are achieving minimum benchmarks in maths compared with 96%  of the richest students. Just two thirds of indigenous students achieved the minimum benchmark in year 8 maths. Equity is the problem we need to address. Courageous governments should be investing in programs for poorer and disadvantaged students. (countries like Poland, France, Slovakia and others have gone down this road and seen their Pisa data improve compared to the US, UK and Australia.) Victorian government schools saw increased funding by 20% between 2002-03 and 2011-12 but non-government schools saw their funding jump 45% while state schools got a 13% increase.
The funding issue for state schools is an issue that will not go away. ( a worry for the state government in an election year) It is the responsibility of all state school teachers and the parents of children educated in state schools to make sure that it doesn't.
Meanwhile back at Glen Park we had our Foundation students (Peps) at school today for tests. (the English and Mathematics Online Interviews) All students will be back tomorrow. Everything is prepared for them. this afternoon I updated our Emergency Management plan and sent it off to Melbourne.
Below is a photo of one of our dry paddocks next door and our main classroom. We are in for another heat wave for the rest of the week. (It wouldn't be a proper 'back to school' week without some 40+ degree days!)

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