With all the angry words being reported about an alleged breach by the Coalition government of a political promise, off I went this afternoon to see exactly what the pre-election promises on education actually were. Having done so I can’t understand what all the fuss is about.
Here’s the relevant section. Read it and make up your own mind.
1. Stable and Sustainable Funding
The Coalition’s Policy for Schools: Students First will deliver a stable, simple and sustainable approach to funding that gives schools, teachers and parents certainty for the future.
Fundamentally, we will work cooperatively with the State and Territory governments to ensure school funding arrangements provide stability and certainty.
a. Stable school funding
The Coalition will provide Australian schools, teachers, students and their parents with the funding certainty they deserve.
Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard made a mess of their attempts to deliver the ‘Gonski’ reforms. So far, they have agreed to five different funding models with five different jurisdictions.
Seven different deals have been entered into with the five governments of South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory and the two major non-government school bodies. No agreement has been reached with the governments of Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
The Coalition will:
ensure Commonwealth schools funding committed by Labor for school year 2014 will flow to all States and Territories irrespective of whether they have signed a deal with the Rudd-Gillard Government;
amend the Australian Education Act to ensure the States, Territories and non-government sectors keep authority for their schools; and
match the Commonwealth funding for schools committed by Labor over the forward estimates.
Our approach will provide schools and parents with the funding certainty they deserve. It means that the Coalition will match Labor dollar-for-dollar over the next four years.
There will be no cut to school funding under a Coalition government.
We will work cooperatively and constructively with all States and Territories to negotiate a fair and sustainable national funding model.
b. End the Control from Canberra
The Coalition will stop the Canberra schools takeover and stop Kevin Rudd’s blame game with the States and Territories about school funding.
We will dismantle all ‘command and control’ features imposed by Labor on the States, Territories and non-government schools and any new funding will not be conditional upon a deal which reduces their authority over schools or creates unnecessary red tape.
If elected, the Australian Education Act will be amended to remove any parts that allow the Federal Government to dictate what states and territories must do in their schools. This will ensure that the States and Territories remain responsible for schools and that non-government schools maintain their independence and autonomy.