Greens say: Get on with Gonski
The Australian Greens have urged the Government to get on with Gonski amid reports this weekend that a formal government response to the review will be delayed by several more weeks.
"The Government needs to get on with Gonski as a matter of urgency. Legislation must be passed this year to allow schools to plan for the start of new fairer funding from 2014," Greens spokesperson for Schools, Senator Penny Wright said.
"If we are to prepare Australia for all the challenges of the 21st century, we need to invest now in a smart and fair school system, to give our kids the best start in life.
"Inequity has crept in over decades and there is now a staggering difference between the performance of the most advantaged and disadvantaged children - a five and a half year gap by year nine. The current unfair funding model must end as soon as possible."
Senator Wright also expressed concern about the Government's announcement that schools funding would be linked to performance plans and student results rather than the needs-based model recommended by Gonski.
"It is well established that a major cause of low educational performance is disadvantage. The Gonski reforms ensure that schools with more disadvantaged students get more funding. Linking funding to performance and results, as the Government is suggesting, risks perpetuating disadvantage. This is not what Gonski recommended and will just hurt our children.
"The Greens reject the scare campaign being run by the coalition. The modelling reported today is misguided conjecture as the Government has not yet released its response. An Abbott government will cut funding from public schools while maintaining a discredited funding model. The coalition's $2.8 billion cuts to schools will hurt the most disadvantaged students.
"Following the recommendations of Gonski offers the best chance in three decades for all children to access quality education.
"The federal government must fund the bulk of the additional $6.5 billion needed without cutting other social services. This is why the Treasury-backed mining tax is necessary.
"With Federal government leadership and genuine goodwill from all those who believe in the principles of high quality education for all Australian children, we must get on with Gonski and get these reforms into legislation by the end of the year."