Funding a good future for Australian schooling

Beth Blackwood

22 March 2018

There has been a significant shift in the public debate on schools funding.

Recent reports that federal Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten had promised to restore the myriad special arrangements that characterised the Gonski 1.0 funding package should Labor win government attracted swift rebuttal.

It seems there is now wide acceptance of Education Minister Simon Birmingham’s Gonski 2.0 mantra, ‘No special deals’, signalling a recalibration of community expectations of what ‘fair’ means in federal schools funding models.

The Turnbull government has committed billions of dollars to level the playing field when it comes to its funding of non-government schools and it appears the wider community is fast adapting to the new terrain.

Governments must accept equity and transparency as baseline principles for schools funding models. Schools and families also look for stability and certainty as they plan ahead to ensure students continue to receive a quality education.

Special deals that threaten to destabilise Australia’s non-government sector and its 1.3 million students are not good for schools or families. They most certainly are not good for the future of Australian education. n

Beth Blackwood is AHISA’s Chief Executive Officer.

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