Leaked school funding proposals. Should we be worried?

The leak of four reform proposals for Australian schooling from a confidential draft of the Green Paper on the Reform of the Federation has triggered panic and confusion across the country. But while the proposals may seem worrying at first glance, they need to be put in context.

In this new piece for The Conversation, I run through each of these draft proposals and explaining that they are not policy announcements but merely the next step in the long, exhaustive White Paper process (which I wrote about here.)  I also detail a worrying fact that seem to have escaped the media, the politicians’ and commentariat’s attention, that  “free” public education hasn’t been free for a long time.

In February this year, the Victorian Auditor General’s Office found “parent payments have become essential to the provision of free instruction in government schools”; “schools are charging parents for items that should be free”; and the Victorian Department of Education, worryingly “has no oversight on what items and how much schools charge parents.”

We need to do away with the myth that public education is free and talk about how government and communities can work together to better support schools and students. Schools have been operating without necessary support for too long. Greater coordination, collaboration and support is urgently required.

UPDATE: Life Matters program on ABC’s Radio National ran a story on these issues two days after the leak (and my article) were published, with myself as one of the guests. Listen here.

 

The future of school funding in Victoria

What is the future of school funding in Victoria under the new state and Commonwealth governments? Is Gonski dead?

I’m delighted to join the Victorian minister for education James Merlino, Gonski Panelist Ken Boston, school principals and other key stakeholders in speaking at the most significant forum on school funding in years.

It’s organised by the Need to Succeed (NTS) coalition, a broad-based group of fairer-funding supporters that promotes transparent, sector-blind and needs-based school funding models. They believe these models better support students experiencing disadvantage and they work with key education stakeholders to advocate for their implementation.

For more information and to purchase tickets, click here http://needtosucceed.org/victoriansymposium/

 

What does the education issue paper tell us about potential federal reforms?

“Released two days before Christmas, you could be forgiven for missing the issues paper on government roles and responsibilities in education that is part of the process in developing the federalism white paper. This is a pity. Because if you wanted insights into the Commonwealth government’s attitude to federalism in education and potential directions this could take, it’s a good place to start.”

Click here to read the full article.

 

Bronwyn Hinz researches and teaches public policy and Australian politics at the University of Melbourne, where she is completing a PhD on school funding and federalism. Her innovative research has won her multiple national and international awards, and a Visiting Scholar position at Columbia University in New York last year. Her book, Many Hopes, One Dream was published in 2009 by Australian Scholarly Publishing and launched by former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser and former Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner.  This was the first book written on Australia's united ethnic movement and has been described as essential reading for those wishing to understand Australia's rapid and harmonious transformation to become a multicultural nation.

Bronwyn is a contributor to the ABC’s Drum Unleashed, Uneek magazine, and a regular guest on SBS French radio. She has worked for two federal politicians, including Senator Kim Carr, the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research; Per Capita; the Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria; the Contemporary Europe Research Centre; and the Education Foundation. She holds degrees from the University of Melbourne and the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris, better known as Sciences Po.

Her research covers Australian politics, comparative public policy, education reform, federalism, governance, interest groups and multiculturalism. Bronwyn is based in Melbourne and available for comment, written analysis and speaking engagements worldwide.

Contact me:

E: bronwynhinz (AT) gmail (DOT) com T: (+61) 402 077 976