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Christopher Pyne gets it wrong again

Media release today from the Hon Peter Garrett MP (Minister for School Education; Minister for Early Childhood and Youth). Worth repeating.

Christopher Pyne has shown once again that he has no idea about how the school funding system works or what our plans are – and he has no interest in finding out.

His latest claims show a complete lack of understanding about the National Plan for School improvement and follow a succession of ridiculous positions on the important issue of school funding:

  • He dismissed the Gonski Report within 20 minutes of it being released.
  • He said he would repeal any legislation we introduced before he had even seen it.
  • He has consistently said he will keep a broken funding model that will see schools across Australia lose up to $5.4 billion in coming years.
  • He continues to pretend the Opposition would index schools at 6 per cent when he knows the current indexation rate is 3.9 per cent and is estimated to fall to 3 per cent from 2014.
  • He claims the Coalition cares about teacher quality when his real plans are to slash $425 million from our Teacher Quality National Partnership.

He has also confirmed he doesn’t even think it is his job to come up with a better way to fund schools, even though the most comprehensive independent review in 40 years found conclusively a new model is needed.

How does he expect anyone to take him seriously on education when he doesn’t even think it’s his job to come up with a plan to fix a broken school funding system?

The National Plan for School Improvement includes a new fairer school funding model. We want every child’s education to be supported by a new nationally consistent Schooling Resource Standard.

This would include a base amount per student and additional ‘loadings’ to address school and student disadvantage. These loadings would support Indigenous students, students with a disability, students with limited English language skills and schools in regional and remote areas – exactly what was recommended in the Gonski Review.

We have always recognised the important role of education authorities, including government, Catholic and independent schools, and the need for them to retain some flexibility to address local need. The Gonski Review also supported the role of system redistribution noting that it would need to be more publicly transparent.

This approach is exactly what we are negotiating with the states, territories and non-government education authorities. It represents the biggest change to school funding in 40 years.

Mr Pyne clearly opposes both transparency and needs-based funding and has said that he will not sign up to the idea of Australian schools being amongst the best in the world.

We are prepared to make significant additional investment but we also expect the states to pay their fair share. We can’t do this if some states continue to cut funding to their own education budgets.

That’s why we’ve asked states to commit to at least 3 per cent indexation and not cut further funding.

If Mr Pyne had spent more time reading the Gonski Review and less time dismissing it, he would know what we are proposing is consistent with the core recommendations of the review.

Mr Pyne’s latest claims do nothing but confirm that the Opposition simply don’t have a plan for the future of our schools – and are clearly not bothering to develop one.

The Coalition’s only plan for schools it to slash funding, sack one in seven teachers and squeeze more kids into every classroom.

Cutting funding from education is what Liberals do. Only Labor can be trusted to deliver the best results for schools across Australia.

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22 comments

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  1. Miglo

    It’s a pity that these media releases appear nowhere in the mainstream media.

  2. Mark Hyde

    They need to be ‘edited for length’ and ‘comments sought for balance’ Miglo….;P

    So the message is never the point of the release but what the journalist WANTS to say.

    Rejecting it outright without at least acknowledging it’s specific points let alone respond specifically to it’s recommendations is ludicrous.

    Take education seriously for once not just as fodder for industry and corporations…..

  3. silkworm

    This may or may not be relevant, but Gillard has guaranteed to the private school sector that no private school would be worse off under new funding plans. “… the Prime Minister guaranteed that even the richest private schools would secure an indexation rate of 3 per cent.”

  4. Ricky (Tory Torcher)

    Pyne is a terrifying prospect for the educated educators.

  5. johnlord2013

    There is no greater need than the need for equality of opportunity in education’

  6. Joy Cooper

    Pyne is a foolish prat. How he can get re-elected in his electorate, I’ll never know. They certainly get the representative they deserve.

    Press releases always contain plenty of content & need editing & comments sought. Today’s journalists seem to be too lazy to do this & would rather concentrate on, what they see as “sexier” things such as following Abbott about a fruit shop watching him steal grapes than actually talk about what the Government has been achieving.

  7. Steven

    Cretinous Christopher Pyne never fails to surprise us with the depths of his idiocy.

  8. Dirk Rossey

    massive similarity in the two pictures…
    But title should read.. Miglo gets it wrong …. again

  9. andyrob65

    How on earth do you see a media release, from a member of parliament, as Miglo getting it wrong?

    You are an imbosile

  10. andyrob65

    Can not wait for the #ashbygate enquiry from the AFP (eventually) finding Pyne be charged. Justice Rares found it!

  11. Bill Morris

    Don’t you mean imberseal?

  12. Cuppa

    this is what happens when born-to-rule toffee-nosed tossers spend their time spinning and planning stunts instead of working on their portfolio area.

  13. Joy Cooper

    Agree wholeheartedly, Cuppa. Of course their egotism is such that they don’t think they need to know anything about their shadow ministries & so they prattle on with nonsense.

    With the MSM on their side these born-to-rule prats believe they will cruise into power (their rightful place, so they think) then we shall all be up s**t creek without the proverbial paddle..

  14. hannahquinn

    Look what they’re doing to TAFE to see how the education system will fare if they get into government.

  15. Alison White

    I still don’t understand why rich private schools get any taxpayer funding.

    Recently I gave a presentation at a very rich private school – there were 3 technical support staff there just to set up the laptop, the facilities were amazing, outstanding – like a luxury hotel, the grounds were immaculate too with a number of gardeners evidently at work. On the grounds, an archery range, polo field, competition sized swimming pool, indoor basketball and tennis courts. I was gobsmacked! If only all our children could access such facilities.

    Then I compared what I saw with my son’s school – leaky roofs, no pool, one crappy tarmacadam tennis court, no gardeners – just parent volunteers, one hall that serves both drama, school assemblies and sport. It’s enough to break one’s heart.

    Trouble is, when you encourage parents to opt out of the State system they no longer have a stake in keeping the State schools well equipped. More people move their children out of the State schools because as there are no votes in it – the schools get run down = they get less funding, less students and so on until it’s just the poorest people who are left in the State school system.

    If we want to ensure that every child regardless of economic background gets a chance to achieve the best education possible for them and their capabilities then the Govt should withdraw all funding from private schools.

    Back to “Free, Compulsory and Secular” – then if parents choose an alternative it is their choice to fund it with their money. You don’t get back from your taxes what you put in -ask all the childless people how they feel about providing schools and child care, pacifists don’t want to fund an army – but they don’t get to choose.

    The public purse should support PUBLIC services – not private ones. Well, that’s my take on it!

    NB I’m interested in how other countries fund education so can anyone point me to a comparable country where so many taxpayers dollars go to the private school system?

  16. Anna-Rose Smith

    If some private schools require financial assistance from the Government, then fair enough,they should also get the help they need, but the main spending should go to Public Schools……the Liberals will always look after themselves and their “class” first, they have absolutely no idea how difficult some families find educating and providing for their children really is for the average Aussie!!!

  17. Col

    John Lord said

    There is no greater need than the need for equality of opportunity in education’

    :
    Such comment is a ‘common sense’ statement that rarely attracts any critical analysis. But it should, because it’s an assertion that masks a whole set of issues. First, the evidence suggests that the greatest predictor of educational success is the ‘socio economic status” (SES) of the parents. And that ‘driver is evident across the western world. Study after study stresses that SES is by far the most important variable effecting and affecting student achievement.

    So the lack of ‘equality of opportunity’ begins and is firmly rooted in the family SES location. But all is not lost. In most, if not all, classrooms, teachers take the notion of ‘equality of opportunity’ and basically disregard it. And so they should. Teachers do not treat all children equally, particularly when it comes to allocation of resources whether they be ‘time’, ‘assistance’ or whatever. Teachers whether they’ve heard of Jefferson or not tend to abide by the notion “There is nothing more unequal than the equal treatment of unequal people.” So the child who doesn’t initially grasp a concept can expect unequal treatment in the sense of a greater time/assistance allocation from the teacher. And given that teaching time is finite, that additional time will be at the expense of the ‘other’.

    So the teacher isn’t so much concerned with ‘equality of opportunity’, but more concerned with ‘equality of outcome’. Of course, ‘equality of outcome’ is never guaranteed (there are too many variables, including SES influences outlined above) but teachers want all students to achieve at the highest level and, by and large, are prepared to therefore treat students unequally.

    At the school system level there is a wealth of evidence that both the concept ‘equality of opportunity’ and the concept of ‘equality of outcome’ are disregarded. While students in both private and public schools study the same curriculum and receive the same types of certification, the resources allocated to the pursuit are way out of kilter. Leaving aside disabled children or others with special needs, we can find any number of examples of some children receiving less than half the monies allocated to others. There is no outcry when ‘little Jimmy has $20 000 spent on him each and every year while little Joey gets a mere $8 000 per annum.

    This ‘inequality of resource allocation’ is currently justified by those who claim the monies spent are irrelevant and that the real barrier is ‘teacher’ quality’. And while there is a kernel of truth’ in what they say (after all, every ideology must have an element truth otherwise it’s rapidly discarded). But notice also that those who make the claims invariably send their children to well resourced schools, apparentl y just to be on the safe side.

    This lack of ‘equality of opportunity’, manifest in unequal resource allocation, can also be found within systemic private schools. The catholic system provides any number of examples where ‘poor’ schools sit side by side with ‘rich’ schools even though they are both under the same administrative umbrella and presumably subscribe to the same social justice values. I suppose the mantra is ‘charity begins at home’.

    Perhaps more later. If anyone is really interested. LOL

  18. Alison White

    To Anna-Rose, why should private schools get any public funding?

    If parent’s can’t afford to pay the fees that would result from private schools being genuinely private- then they have the option of sending their children to the local State school.

    If they want to keep their children separate because of religious reasons then they should pay for their intolerance. Perhaps the religious organisation should subsidise those schools?

    If they are trying to buy an advantage over other children then they should pay full price for that advantage.

    If it is to avoid bullying then place pressure upon your local public school and the government that funds them to ensure that there are enough staff and protocols in place to deal with the issue – or you could always home school your children. But just as you wouldn’t ask for money to home-school your children – so private schools should not be tugging at the public purse.

    If private schools continually put their hand out for public money then they should be required to take in any local child that may want to attend.

    I’m sorry if this offends you but I cannot see any reason why private schools should get public funding – period, (especially after seeing first hand what the taxpayer’s money is helping pay for).

  19. Alison White

    I’m interested Col – would you be interested in writing an article or two?

    For many people the ‘private school’ issue is totally out of bounds. Howard very cleverly aligned private school funding with the politics of envy – so loads of people won’t even address the issue.
    Personally, I think parents who buy an advantage for their children while requesting ‘their’ state funding follow them to a private school are just plain selfish.

  20. Col

    Alison, one of the prevailing myths of the Australian ‘common sense’ is that ‘private schools’ generate ‘achievement’ levels that are somehow unrelated to, or independent of, SES background. They don’t (with reservations) but, and here’s the difficult bit, children of low SES background benefit from attending schools with a higher SES student population. (Thus it’s not the private school that adds value but the high SES school population) And at the same time, students from a high SES background are not adversely effected by an influx of low SES students, provided such populations remain in a minority. (In other words they don’t effect the school culture or at least only affect it substantially). It’s why they introduced ‘bussing in the US. That debate can be studied here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desegregation_busing

    Believe you me it takes a PHd to untangle the variables and their relative effects and affects.. And even then …

    Lately there’s been talk about improving the achievement levels of Australian students, with reference to achievements in certain Asian countries. That’s complete BS. The levels of student ‘effort’ required would produce a local rebellion. We will never achieve at those levels without significant cultural change and nor should we try. Simply, it’s not worth it. It’s a bit like ‘foot binding’.

    If one wants to find a ‘western’ world model for educational improvement, look at Finland. It’s almost the exact opposite of where we are going in Australia. (where we are following the US track, down a path to nowhere). In Australian we have NAPLAN testing (universal). In Finland no universal testing. They recognise that ‘constant weighing of the pig doesn’t make it fatter’.

    In Finland teachers have enormous autonomy. They are well paid, are well respected, selected from the academic ‘elites’ and most importantly each teacher feels profession responsibility for each student’s progress.

    Rudd set the parameters for Gillard (who like Rudd has no ‘educational background’) who in turn came under the influence of the FED educational bureaucracy, (selected by Kemp and Bishop) and whose only ‘experience’ was to listen to US ‘experts’, many of whom now work for Murdoch. I kid you not.

    Shakes head.

  21. Fed up

    Finland, along with other leading nations in education, only fund state systems.

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