It's time to go the full Gonski

Media coverage on schools funding in the past week shows commentators are not buying into the federal government's spin on schools funding.

Federal Education Minister Birmingham wants to negotiate a new funding deal for beyond 2017 — ripping up agreements with states and territories that apply to the end of 2019. In trying to distract attention from the fact that the Coalition's offer would leave schools $3.9 billion worse off over two years, Senator Birmingham has fixed on the lack of uniformity among deals with each state and territory.

As all state and territory education ministers (bar Western Australia) are opposing the federal government's plan, commentators have challenged the Coalition's direction on schools funding.

"Time to go the full Gonski, for children's sake", the headline for the Sydney Morning Herald's editorial from September 27 reads.

The Sydney Morning Herald challenges the federal government's argument that education spending has risen for a decade but students outcomes have fallen: "It misses the key point: the money went to the children who already enjoyed sufficient resources."

"The ideal of Gonski remains potent for voters, as a fair go for every child, regardless of where they live, family income or school," the editorial also states.

Crikey's politics editor Bernard Keane wrote on September 27: "No matter what its intention are on education funding, the Coalition can no longer be believed when it talks about public schools. It has turned this issue into a toxic mess for itself." Link to article

On ABC TV's Q&A program on Monday night, host Tony Jones questioned Senator Birmingham over the Coalition's promise ahead of the 2013 federal election to fund the Gonski model and then later reneging.

Senator Birmingham said the funding for 2018 and 2019 has never been included in the budget forward estimates.

Tony Jones then asked: "You are saying the promise was never there? Or the money was never there?"

"The money was never there," the senator replied.

In the past week Senator Birmingham claimed Labor corrupted the schools funding model.

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