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.
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/
“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.