From today's SMH
It is time to end years of heated debate about about whether the federal government should fully fund the Gonski agreements and begin work on a new school funding model, according to the Turnbull government.
Education Minister Simon Birmingham will tell his state counterparts on Friday that Australia's current school funding arrangements are a "corruption" of David Gonski's original vision and must be replaced by a simpler, fairer.
The meeting of federal and state education ministers in Adelaide marks the start of negotiations for a new four-year school funding model to begin in 2018. This is when the big-spending final two years of the Gonski agreements, worth an extra $4.5 billion, were due to kick in.
Senator Birmingham will present a new analysis showing the current system - negotiated in the final days of the Rudd-Gillard government - is a patchwork of "special deals" with states and school sectors that is riddled with "gross inequalities".
The system is leaving disadvantaged children behind simply because of where they live or the type of school they attend, he will say.
For example, Tasmania will receive 40 per cent more federal funding in 2017 than Western Australia for comparable schools with the same level of need.
The analysis also shows that a low socio-economic public school in South Australia will receive $2897 per student in federal funding in 2017 while a school with identical characteristics in the Northern Territory will receive $4224.
The same school in NSW will receive $3236, in Victoria $3130 and $2942 in the ACT.
This shows that the current funding system is not truly needs-based and needs to be overhauled, Senator Birmingham said.
"The Turnbull Government is determined to right this corruption of the Gonski report and replace the special deals that Bill Shorten cobbled together as he ran around the country wheeling and dealing with the highest bidder," he said.
"We want to create a new, simpler distribution model where special deals don't distort a fair distribution of federal funds.
"Tomorrow's meeting will be a chance for Education Ministers to indicate which areas of our proposed evidence-based reforms they believe we can effectively co-operate on and their views on how we can share the record levels of growing funding most fairly."
A key requirement for any post-2017 deal will be that states and territories cannot cut their own education budgets if they want to receive more cash from Canberra.
From 2010 to 2014, Victoria cut school funding by 7 per cent while federal funding to that state rose by 22 per cent, according to the Productivity Commission. The Queensland, NT and WA government also cut their education budgets over the same period while federal funding soared.
Before the July election, the Turnbull government promised to spend an extra $1.2 billion on schools until 2020, but the details of how it will be distributed are up for debate.
Peter Goss, head of the school education program at the Grattan Institute, said: "We must move on from the idea of the final two years of the Gonski agreements.
"What has been implemented is very different from what the Gonski panel recommended."
Mr Goss said the government's $1.2 billion pre-election promise was a "Band-aid" and said he expected negotiations with the states to be tense.
"The scene is set for a continuation of the trench warfare we have seen over school funding for decades," he said.
There is nothing simple or fair about Turnbull's plan for education.
Don't forget this is the government that wanted to walk away from funding state schools entirely and just concentrate on the schools they have an affinity with ( affluent independent schools) it should be noted and isn't in that story that it was a coalition state government in Victoria that cut state school funding by 22%. The current government has restored it, but could spend more!
Gonski is only Broken because the current government and the inept previous minister (Pyne) and the arrogant current minister Birmingham have wrecked and devalued it.
Abbott and Pyne lied about continuing Gonski reform in the 2013 election and they've been floundering in education ever since. Shorten's promise to restore Gonski nearly won him the last election.
If Gonski is a mess then maybe the architect of it should be invited to the minister's meeting tomorrow to discuss how to fix it. Turnbull's policy in education is a mess and they know it. They have no plan and I'm sure in real dollar terms they will cut funding for state schools as they always do.They will also interfere in it and use it to help peddle their welfare bashing policies. Minister Porter wants to cut welfare payments to families whose children have poor school attendance. It's too hard for them to develop strategies to help these families but easier to punish them and further marginalise them.
I only hope the education ministers stand firm.