Core of Gonski is our nation’s future

Gonski campaign – funding – Parliament House

A decade on from Gonski, an architect of the reforms said the model can be refloated when political, business and industry leaders, the media and community understand the “hard-headed reason” behind the review – our national prosperity.

Ken Boston, a former teacher and a member of the Gonski review committee, told the launch of a Centre for Public Education Research (CPER) conference that Australia has “wasted 10 years” since the reforms.

“Gonski won’t float again until there is a rising tide of public advocacy and support from our political leaders, from the leaders of educational authorities, from business and industry, from the unions, from the media, and from parents, the community and the teaching profession,” he said.

Mr Boston, told CPER’s “Why Money Does Matter” conference last week, that the core of Gonski – moving funding to socially disadvantaged schools – was not for “social justice”, but “the hard-headed reason that these are the schools in which the greatest wastage of potential human capital occurs”.

“It was understood that building our national stock of human capital requires the structural reform of school funding arrangements to produce high-quality, high-equity outcomes,” he said.

To raise the tide of political and public support for Gonski “requires emphasis on the economic impact of social disadvantage on our national stock of human capital”.

“It requires demonstrating that reducing the rate of taxpayer funding to wealthy and advantaged schools and redirecting that funding to the elimination of educational disadvantage will be of direct benefit to the national economy,” he said in his keynote speech to conference.

Speakers at the conference last Friday, held on the 10th anniversary of the release of the Review of Funding for Schooling (Gonski Report), examined the state of school funding in Australia.

Issues explored included:

  • the promise of the Gonski Review and what has happened since
  • the relationship between high-performing systems and resourcing
  • an up-to-date analysis of the current Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) funding model
  • the equity areas: the growing gaps and the unmet needs
  • the link between teachers’ working conditions and recurrent funding
  • enrolment projections, student complexity and capital requirements into the future.

The academic and research papers delivered during the “Why Money Does Matter” school funding conference organised by the Centre for Public Education Research will be made available in an accessible form to Federation members and the general public.