$0 for state schools, $418m for privates

Private schools in Victoria would receive an extra $644 million in state and federal funding over six years if Victoria signs up to the education reforms, according to long-awaited figures released by Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Catholic and independent schools will receive the federal share of this extra money from next year even if Victoria does not sign up to the plan, although state schools, which educate the majority of disadvantaged students, would miss out if Premier Denis Napthine holds out.

This is because the new funding model, which is expected to pass the Senate within weeks, will affect Catholic and independent schools regardless of whether the states and territories agree to it because the Commonwealth is the primary public funder of non-government schools.

Dr Carmen Lawrence, a member of the Gonski panel, said it would be ”unthinkable” if states did not sign up and the extra money flowed only to the non-government sectors that needed it the least.

”The whole plan is based on increasing the amount of money to the most needy schools,” she said.

The figures reveal Victorian Catholic schools would receive an extra $379 million over six years, independent schools an extra $265 million and state schools an extra $3.5 billion. But state schools will benefit only if Victoria contributes 35 per cent of the total $4.2 billion, commits to a 3 per cent increase in education spending every year and signs up to school improvement reforms.

NSW and the ACT are the only jurisdictions to have signed so far. Ms Gillard said she did not want to see Victorian schools get left behind.

”Dr Napthine has until June 30 to sign up, or he’ll stop much-needed extra funding going to each Victorian school,” she said.

But Victorian Education Minister Martin Dixon said he would ensure a better outcome for Victoria in which no school system was made worse off. ”The Victorian government began this process in good faith and continues to engage on that basis despite the daily threats and bullying tactics that are coming our way,” he said.

The Gonski review found 80 per cent of students who did not reach the level required for proficiency to participate in society in reading and mathematics were in state schools. ”The panel believes that a significant increase in funding is required across all schooling sectors, with the largest part of this increase flowing to the government sector.”

Australian Education Union president Angelo Gavrielatos said Victoria already had a deeply inequitable school funding system. ”Dr Napthine needs to sign up and deliver his share of this urgent funding,” he said.

Melbourne University professor Richard Teese said it would be perverse and a great injustice if state schools were left out in the cold. ”My feeling is this is a beautiful piece of wedging. It could be quite effective as a political strategy: how else do you get the Victorian government to sign up?”

He said instead of trying to reach consensus with the states over two years, the federal government had turned the negotiations into a game of political chess.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

Posted in 杭州龙凤