Some research from Save our Schools puts paid to the idea that Government and Private schools were drawing even in terms of funding.
New figures show that government funding increases continue to favour private schools over public schools.
Total government funding (Commonwealth and state/territory) for private schools increased by $574 per student, adjusted for inflation, between 2012-13 and 2015-16.
In the same period (which includes the first 2½ years of Gonski funding) total government funding per student increased by $324 per student in public schools.
Over the previous three years from 2009-10 to 2012-13, total government funding for public schools was cut by $412 per student while funding for private schools increased by $592 per student.
The disparity in funding increases resulted from much larger increases for private schools than public schools by the Commonwealth and the failure of state/territory governments - the major providers for public schools – to increase their funding in any significant way since 2012-13.
The report says there are bleak prospects for increased funding for public schools under the Turnbull Government’s Gonski 2.0 funding plan. Public schools are likely to remain significantly under-funded unless state/territory governments reverse their past practice of substituting Commonwealth funding for their own and failing to increase funding above the rate of cost increases.
According to Save Our Schools, in contrast, the majority of private schools will be over-funded under the Turnbull plan and will cost the taxpayer billions of dollars over the next decade.
The report asserts that Public schools enroll 80-85% of disadvantaged students and that the failure to adequately fund public schools over the past 20 years and more has imposed a huge social cost. It has resulted in a failure to address disadvantage in education.
Shockingly, a large proportion of low SES, Indigenous and remote area students do not achieve international minimum standards in reading, mathematics and science and there are gaps of 3-4 years in learning between disadvantaged and advantaged students.
The report says that over the longer term, a new national agreement is required to target additional resources to disadvantaged public schools, remove all over-funding of private schools and integrate Commonwealth and state/territory funding. It will require a new Gonski PLUS model that builds on the principles of Gonski 1.0.
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