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What happened to Gonski’s schools?

Chris Bonnor writes in Inside Story (18.8.23) about the state of school systems and funding in Australia, highlighting a failure to heed lessons from successive recent reviews of school education.

‘We are in the middle of yet another school review. In recent months, twenty-one Australian schools have been visited by members of the federal government’s Review to Inform a Better and Fairer Education System. Most of the reviewers have some familiarity with schools, but getting closer to the chalkface is all the better if you are deliberating on their future.

‘Years ago, David Gonski and his panel also visited schools as part of their deliberations. But something got lost when their recommendations were translated into spending by state and federal governments. Will it be different this time around for the schools visited by the latest panel, and the 24,000 people who recently completed the review’s survey? Will the review, as its title suggests, create a better and fairer future?

‘Looking at the schools Gonski visited in 2011 might help answer those questions. Are they any better off, or do they still exhibit the contrasts and inequalities that have dogged schools for so long?

‘… The story of the Gonski schools is evidence enough that a class system of schools does nothing for fairness and comes at a considerable cost in money, opportunities and school achievement.’

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