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Issue #1551      13 June 2012

“I give a Gonski” campaign launched

President of the Australian Education Union, Angelo Gavrielatos, launched the multi-media “I give a Gonski” campaign last week.

The campaign aims to keep the issue of the Gonski Report on Schools Funding before the public gaze and pressure federal and state governments to adopt its recommendations, the most basic being that excessive funds to wealthy private schools be curtailed and Public Schools’ investments be lifted by $5.1 billion.

“According to a recent OzPoll cross-section of 1,000 Australians, 88 percent are supportive of Gonski’s recommendations,” Mr Gavrielatos said.

The Gonski Review took over two years to deliver its findings. It cost millions of taxpayer dollars to research and compile its findings. Teachers, parents, schools, in fact, all key stakeholders, including independent and Catholic schools, made submissions to the Review but now the federal government seems intent on sitting on its hands.

In the last Budget, Treasurer Swan handed out millions to parents to use for “expenses”, all of which does nothing for the educational betterment of a single child throughout Australia.

“If we do not adopt Gonski’s funding recommendations soon, public schools will have lost $670 million by the 2015-16 financial year – the equivalent of 7,000 teaching positions in areas where they are desperately needed,” Mr Gavrielatos said.

“At the same time, rich private schools would receive an extra $1.3 billion which they do not need. I believe the Labor Party is inching towards some kind of action this year, since both Swan and Education Minister Garrett promised legislation by September or October of this year.”

Legislation is one thing, but real money another. If funding for Gonski’s reforms comes through in next year’s budget, it may only last a few months, till the federal election. Opposition spokesman Christopher Pyne has promised to revoke any funding changes and return the system to “... the way it was”.

Meanwhile, NSW teachers have approved a publicity campaign against Premier O’Farrell’s ‘devolution’ agenda, designed to slash job security and fob off financial/educational responsibility onto individual Principals.

“The struggle has only just begun,” they said at a statewide stoppage and Council meeting.  

Next article – Vic teachers and principals strike in unprecedented numbers

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