With Term 4 well underway, the Federal Government continues to play politics with our students’ futures.
Importantly, over the weekend, Education Minister Merlino further stated what is at stake if the Turnbull Government abandons the final 2 years of Gonski funding. As reported in The Age, each Victorian student is set to miss out on an average of $848 every year from 2019. The further intervention by the Deputy Premier into the debate about the future of Commonwealth funding for our schools is welcome and comes on the back of strong advocacy by the Victorian Government at the national meeting of Education Ministers during the school holidays.
The Deputy Premier also highlighted that it will be public school students who will be worse off by far, with private school students only missing out on $66 each per year. This analysis supports the work by education funding expert, Dr Jim McMorrow, in early September. This work commissioned by the Federal AEU, showed that under Malcolm Turnbull’s plan – which he and Federal Education Minister, Simon Birmingham, took to the federal election – non-government schools will receive two-thirds of the extra $1.2 billion promised over 4 years from 2018 with public schools only receiving one-third.
This compares with more than $5.2 billion due to go to schools in 2018 and 2019 under Gonski – 80% of which would go to public schools.
A debate has erupted about the amount of money allocated to some non-government schools. We know that a fair funding system must be needs based and sector blind – the opposite of what the Federal Government is proposing in their policy. A fair and equitable funding model must deliver funding on the basis of student and school needs. However, Minister Birmingham has engaged in a deliberate attempt to turn the discussion away from the proposed Commonwealth funding cuts to public schools.