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Turnbull announces schools funding and a new Gonski review

Michelle Grattan writes in The Conversation (2.5.17) about the federal government’s surprising about-face on supporting long-term, equitable school funding akin to the original Gonski model.

‘The Turnbull government is seeking to seize the political initiative on schools, with a substantial funding injection and the appointment of David Gonski – who delivered the 2011 landmark schools report – to chair a “Gonski 2.0” review on how to improve the results of Australian students.

‘A day after announcing university students will pay more for their education, Turnbull unveiled an extra A$18.6 billion in funding to Australian schools over the next decade, including more than $2.2 billion in this budget for the first four years. Turnbull said that, under the government’s plan, “every school will receive Commonwealth funding on a genuine needs basis”.

‘At a joint news conference with Turnbull and Education Minister Simon Birmingham, Gonski – who is a personal friend of Turnbull’s – said he was very pleased the government accepted the fundamental recommendations of the 2011 report, particularly the needs basis. The proposed injection of money was “substantial”, he said.

‘… The announcement is a major and surprising turnaround for the government, which had previously planned more modest funding, and refused to embrace the final two years of Gonski. But Turnbull was in full Gonski mode on Tuesday: “This reform will finally deliver on David Gonski’s vision, six years ago, after his landmark review of Australian school education,” he said.’

Gonski 2.0: Is this the school funding plan we have been looking for?

The Grattan Institute’s Peter Goss writes in The Conversation (3.5.17) wondering whether, for the first time, Education Minister Simon Birmingham has proposed a credible national plan to deliver needs-based school funding.

‘They used to say that a week is a long time in politics. How last century! Now a day is a long time in politics, or at least the politics of school funding.

‘Just yesterday morning, I was arguing that school funding was at an impasse. By early afternoon that had all changed, along with the federal government’s rhetoric on school funding. Instead, we were introduced to Gonski 2.0.

‘… But is this the plan we have been looking for?’

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