UPDATE: As I predicted a week ago, “Gonski” is not gone. The Abbott government announced today (2 December) that it would maintain the Gonski reforms – including the new needs-based funding model – and would honour the funding agreements Rudd and Gillard had made (well, for the first four years at least, with Victoria among others vowing it would continue to fight and negotiate to see the full six years – and full funding amount – covered). It also announced “in principle” agreements with the governments of Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory, stating that they would also be funded according to the Gonski model, although with fewer conditions attached. Depending on the details – which are yet to emerge – this could be a closer reflection of the Review’s recommendations that the Commonwealth pay greater respect to the states’ responsibility and expertise in schooling policy.
Australia’s new federal education minister Christopher Pyne has caused a storm with his announcement that he would seek to undo the Gillard-Rudd government’s National Plan for School Improvement (aka “Gonski” reforms). This would include rewriting the funding agreements his predecessors forged with the governments of NSW, South Australia, the ACT, Victoria, Tasmania, and the Catholic and independent school sectors. This is much easier said than done, and thus a most unlikely outcome. For more information on the legal and political barriers facing Pyne, you can read my analysis piece in Crikey, listen to my national radio interviews with the ABC’s PM program and the Wire, or catch me on the ABC’s current affairs television program The Drum.
I’ll be discussing the future of the “Gonski” reforms on Radio National’s Sunday Extra on December 1 and on Life Matters on Tuesday December 3. Podcasts will soon be available on program websites and my media page.
PS. The Final Report of the Gonski Review of School Funding been removed from the federal education department’s websites due to Machinery of Government changes (departmental restructuring), but you can access a copy right here. Enjoy!
A quick expert comment piece I wrote for the Election Watch website, putting the Coalition’s long-anticipated education policy – including the controversial Independent Public School proposal – under the microscope.
If you’d like to know more about Independent Public Schools you can listen to my interview on the topic on Radio National’s Life Matters program where I’m joined by the author of a report into Western Australia’s initiative. I also strongly recommend the latest book by Brian Caldwell, an academic guru on the subject and former Dean of the University of Melbourne’s Education Faculty. (Disclaimer: I just discovered that he devoted two pages to discussing and endorsing my research on Victoria’s ‘self managing school’ reforms and the influence of federalism.) A lovely compliment. Mine is the only study of these reforms from an intergovernmental perspective and you can read it here. (Photo: Gary Ramage, Sarah Blake media, Twitter).
If so, you might be interested in my latest publication, a chapter in this just-released book
“…breaks through the wall of sound bites and explores how century-old political philosophies connect to practical policy for the 21st Century.
Each chapter includes three essays from some of Australia’s most engaged political thinkers who explore contemporary policy issues, find the dividing lines and reinject values and ideas. Importantly, every author’s essay provides insight into the solutions they think are needed to make Australia a better country for future generations.”
My chapter is on the role and benefit of multiculturalism, and I am joined on this topic (in a separate contribution) by former foreign minister Alexander Downer.
You can purchase a copy here. Delivery is free within Australia. Would make a marvelous Christmas present