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Not sensible, logical or needs-based: a tale of three Gonskis

Jane Caro comments in The Guardian (19.6.17) on the latest iteration of the federal government's school funding model, asking how Gonski 2.0 can be considered sector-blind if it would have our poorest children relying almost entirely on the most cash-strapped level of government.

'Are you as confused as I am about exactly what is being proposed regarding schools funding?

'I have laboured mightily to understand how what is being called Gonski 2.0 works and who will win and who will lose. My focus is on how it will play for our most disadvantaged kids, most of whom, for perfectly obvious reasons, attend public ( non-fee charging) schools.

'Such a focus makes perfect sense when you consider all three iterations of Gonski have been presented as needs-based and sector-blind. If each version of Gonski lives up to that claim, then public schools should be the biggest winners, regardless of anything else.

'... What frightens me most about this is that we will be enshrining in law that our poorest kids must rely almost totally on the most cash-strapped level of government for the majority of their funding, while our more fortunate kids would rely on the richest. Maybe it’s just me, but this doesn’t seem sensible, logical or needs-based.'

Government finds a way on Gonski schools funding

Mark Kenny reports in the Brisbane Times (21.6.17) on details of the government's success in gaining Senate crossbench support for its reworked school funding model.

'Labor spinners were out in force on Wednesday claiming they were happy with the Turnbull government's looming breakthrough on the schools funding front.

'Not because it was good policy, you understand - don't be naive. Rather, it was because in Labor's assessment, the extra $18.6 billion to be pumped into schools will be seen by parents as parsimony so abject as to ensure the school funding wars rage uninterrupted all the way to the election. Good luck with that.

'Labor had proposed an extra $40 billion over 10 years but never demonstrated how it would be afforded, and cannot even say now how it would be spent.

'The Greens were also in on the doom-and-gloom act, railing against an apparent deal which privately some had supported strongly and which substantially, to their leadership's enduring credit, they had constructively negotiated.

'... Politically, Labor's task has taken a hit. The government moved a long way by agreeing to the needs-based funding principle. As school funding experts have noted, its formula is not perfect but probably less imperfect than was Labor's 'political' hotch-potch.

'And while Bill Shorten will argue his party wants to spend another $22 billion, the onus will increasingly fall on him to demonstrate that it is needed, and that he can find the capacity in the budget to justify it.'

 

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