Unfortunately the school funding debate, perhaps shouting-match is more apt, has dissolved into the sad and unhelpful imbroglio of half-truths that plagued us for three or four decades before we (almost) all settled on a new ‘model’.
Let’s be clear at the outset of the IEUA’s bias in any contribution. The IEUA wants a funding model that ensures certainty, after all our members want job security. The model needs to ensure that there is capacity to meet the learning needs of all students, so that our members can do their work with all the necessary resources to allow every child to achieve their potential. The model needs to ensure that there is appropriate indexation, so that our members’ jobs have good wages and conditions. It’s that simple, and that complex.
It was for these reasons the IEUA supported the principles of the ‘Gonski funding review’ recommendations. The review proposed a needs-based model; significant increases in funding rolled out over time to meet the clearly identified but unequivocally under-funded needs of many students; and indexation rates that reflected the historic cost increases in education.
The recent ‘debate’ has dissolved into odd notions of ‘over-funded schools’ and falling performance at a time of significant increases in school education expenditure.
So let’s deal with these three themes and then look at the solution, which is a solution to build on the principles and direction of the current model, a model that was always going to need to evolve and be tweaked, not kicked around as a political football.