Inspiration, education and Gonski

LIBERAL candidate for Hume Angus Taylor has hit out at the Teachers’ Federation over its stance on the Gonski review and called for a more “sensible” approach to education funding.
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Mr Taylor highlighted a recent Mulwaree High School P&C meeting, reported by the Post, in which the majority of 60 concerned people backed a petition calling on “all federal politicians to act in the interests of our children and make Gonski law in 2012.”

The Review of Funding into Schooling chaired by David Gonski was released in February of this year and recommended, among other things, that the Commonwealth, and all state and territory governments collectively increase school funding by $5 billion per year (in 2009 dollar terms).

The non-government sector has estimated that over the 12-year life of the proposed Gonski agreement an additional $113b in new funds will be required, if indexation is maintained at current levels.

“It is great to see the high level of interest of the Mulwaree High P&C in the Gonski review. In a week when Goulburn was celebrating its role in one of the great historical reforms to education funding, the introduction of state aid, this discussion is timely,” Mr Taylor said.

“However, since the release of the Gonski report, no financial commitment has been made by the Labor Gillard Government to the additional expenditure required to implement the model. Also, there has been no financial commitment made by any state government, the main funders of public schools.”

Mr Taylor said it was a “bit rich” then for local Teachers’ Federation representative, Mr Holdsworth, to have lashed out at shadow education spokesman Christopher Pyne on the basis that the opposition would ‘scrap’ the Gonski model.

“This is an odd criticism when it’s clear that Labor itself refuses to commit to the Gonski reforms,” he said.

“I would have thought the Teachers’ Federation would have had something to say about the Gillard Government’s ‘non-response’ to Gonski before it starts having a go at the Opposition.

“I firmly believe that much of what Gonski is setting out to achieve is extremely positive – to deliver much more positive outcomes to all students, particularly those students who are disadvantaged, many of whom are educated in regional areas.

“…However, the problem with the report is that Gonski’s vision and values seek to be implemented through the prism of the Teacher’s Federation model – which requires a totally unrealistic amount of money.”

Mr Taylor believed society had to look at other ways to improve outcomes in schools. These included giving greater autonomy to principals and schools, increasing the status and skills development of teachers, increasing contestability between schools and giving greater control of education institutions to local communities.

He said as a father of four school aged children, he’d be fighting for all parents across the electorate to increase the quality of schooling.

“Chris Pyne has promised me personally that he will come to Hume to talk about these matters with parents and teachers in the coming months. I have taken him up on that offer.

“Until Labor respond to the Gonski Review or put forward a school funding policy in the parliament for consideration, the coalition remains committed to the current quantum of funds currently going from the Commonwealth Government to both government and non-government schools, inclusive of full indexation – which sees funding rise by approximately six per cent per year.

“This means that under the Coalition, schools will not have their recurrent funding cut and every school will get real funding increases allowing them to effectively plan for the future.”

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TALKING SCHOOLS: Liberal candidate for Hume, Angus Taylor, addresses parents at Goulburn West Public School.

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