My School 2.0 will be used to cut funding to non-government schools
4th March 2011

In the comment piece below in the Courier Mail I argue, in the context of the Gonski funding review, that releasing funding details will be used to cut funding to non-government schools.

Courier Mail
Edition 1 - First with the newsFRI 04 MAR 2011, Page 027
Plenty to fear from ALP stance on schools
By Kevin Donnelly

WHEN she was education minister, Prime Minister Julia Gillard promised, as a result of the school funding review chaired by David Gonski, that no non-government school would be worse off and that the exercise was not about the old politics of class envy.

Wrong. As illustrated by the My School 2.0 website - which provides details of every Australian school's literacy and numeracy test results, socio-economic profile and, for the first time, school funding details - it's clear that Catholic and independent schools are being set up to lose funding.

The ALP, notwithstanding recent rhetoric about favouring school choice, is no friend of non-government schools.

The Left has long argued the main determinant of educational success is a student's socio-economic status (SES) and that government schools deserve funding priority as they serve the most disadvantaged in society. Catholic and independent schools, so the argument goes, serve the top end of town and their students achieve so much because they come from privileged backgrounds.

Hence, the structure of My School 2.0.

By making public every school's test results, financial resources and SES, the intention is to demonstrate non-government schools do not deserve or need present levels of state and Commonwealth funding.

National and international tests show non-government schools generally outperform government schools. The reason state schools fail to perform as well, critics such as the Australian Education Union argue, is because they are underfunded and serve disadvantaged communities.

Also, as detailed on the My School 2.0 website, when you add government and private sources of funding, such as school fees, it's clear that many non-government schools have more money than government schools.

One only needs to read the submissions to the Gonski review by critics of non-government schools such as the AEU and Trevor Cobbold, the national convener of education advocacy group Save our Schools, to see what the real agenda is behind My School 2.0.

Critics argue wealthy non-government schools do not deserve present levels of government funding as they are awash with money, already achieve strong results and serve privileged communities.

The flaws in the Left's critique are many. Arguing that a student's SES will determine success or failure is not only self-fulfilling, it is also incorrect. Research shows a student's prior academic ability, teacher effectiveness and the culture of the school are equally as important.

Such qualities explain why non-government schools achieve excellent results even after adjusting for students' SES. It's also the case that many non-government schools, especially low fee-paying ones, serve similar communities to government schools and the current system of Commonwealth funding is needs-based.

Gillard argued all students, regardless of school, deserved to be properly funded and promised Catholic and independent schools had nothing to fear. Doubts are growing the promise will be kept.


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4th March 2011

In the comment piece below in the Courier Mail I argue, in the context of the Gonski funding review, that releasing funding details will be used to cut funding to non-government schools.Courier Ma...
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