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Issue #1621      December 4, 2013

Pyne puts funding for every public school at risk

The Australian Education Union (AEU) has expressed outrage outside the Ministerial Council meeting on Education (November 29). The Australian Education Union has expressed outrage outside the meeting on education.

“The Abbott government’s plans to wreak havoc in schools funding across the country are nothing short of an outrage,” AEU federal president Angelo Gavrielatos said today.

“We already knew that Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne were trying to tear up Gonski, but today’s revelations go well beyond our worst fears – we’ve now learned this broken promise would be borne by public schools alone,” said Mr Gavrielatos. “For the first time in decades, public schools were looking forward to extra funding, targeted to student need - but today’s revelations have put vast amounts of much needed funding for Australia’s public schools at risk,” said Mr Gavrielatos.

“This is an affront to every public school student, parent, teacher and principal in the country. It is also precisely the opposite of what the Gonski Review recommended.” He said it would be entirely unconscionable for any government to respond to the Gonski Review with a plan to rip money out of public schools. But that’s exactly what five Education Ministers reported Christopher Pyne plans to do today.

“Christopher Pyne is ignoring the evidence, the expert advice, and the agreements in place. He is also trying to break a clear and unambiguous election promise,” said Mr Gavrielatos. The Gonski Review recommended a sector-blind system of funding schools, based on the principle of need. It makes sense that public schools, which educate the overwhelming majority of students from disadvantaged backgrounds, are the major beneficiaries of the additional funding recommended by Gonski.

Five states and territories have signed six year Gonski agreements with the Commonwealth. Their Education Ministers – Liberal, Labor, National and Green – walked in to today’s meeting determined to see these agreements honoured.

“The December COAG meeting of state and territory leaders will be the next round in the battle to see the promise of Gonski funding certainty delivered,” said Mr Gavrielatos. “If Christopher Pyne and Tony Abbott get their way, it is the kids – the public schools kids – who will lose out,” concluded Mr Gavrielatos.

Next article – AEU calls for public inquiry into impact of TAFE cuts

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