States and territories are being asked to play a game of "Simon Says" over school funding, with education ministers declaring a new commonwealth deal unacceptable.
They say a meeting in Adelaide on Thursday with Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham provided little detail and they remain united in calling for existing agreements to be honoured.
"This is a game of Simon Says and we're meant to jump when Simon says so," Queensland Education Minister Kate Jones told reporters.
She said the Commonwealth had offered no information on what strings might be attached to the latest offer and was "putting the cart before the horse" in trying to lock in funding arrangements before a new review.
The Turnbull government has outlined a plan to put $18.6 billion more into education over the next decade while moving all schools to consistent, needs-based funding.
Legislation, already before federal parliament, requires states to sign up to a national education reform agreement to get the cash.
The government plans to finalise that agreement by June 2018, which will incorporate recommendations from the new review by businessman David Gonski, who led the original school funding review in 2011.
Senator Birmingham said Thursday's meeting was constructive and he looked forward to the discussions continuing.
"What I saw in the room today were a lot of constructive conversations about the detail of the funding proposal, the detail of how our legislation will work," he said.
"There are lots of questions from the states about how it is they will be measured in terms of their contribution.
"Because we are determined to make sure, that as we tip in increasing, growing, record levels of funding, the state's and territories don't cut back or cost shift."
Senator Birmingham also dismissed as "posturing", calls from the states for agreements with the previous federal Labor government to be honoured.
But South Australian Education Minister Susan Close said states and territories remained united in opposition to the funding deal.
What was on offer was "simply not good enough to guarantee a good education for our children", she said.
"The states and territories stood shoulder to shoulder."
Outside the Adelaide meeting, Australian Education Union federal president Correna Haythorpe described the federal government's education plan as a "huge con".
"It hides a huge cut," she said.
"We know that in 10 years time, 84 per cent of public schools will not meet the minimum benchmark.
"If we're to close the achievement gaps that our students face then we have to have the resources and the federal government needs to back our kids and their schools."