In 2010, the Labor federal government commissioned David Gonski to review funding arrangements for schools and provide advice on a new transparent and consistent system for all states and sectors. It was hoped this would end the persistent divisive public and political debates about school funding.
The first ‘Gonski report’ published in 2012 was generally well-received. But the resultant funding model — devised by the federal government after months of negotiations with state and territory governments and non-government school authorities — was neither transparent nor consistent, and required significant annual increases in the federal education budget well into the future.
When a Liberal federal government was elected in 2013, the funding model was still under heated debate, which has not abated since. The current model has been modified to reduce the rate of growth in expenditure (although still increasing to all sectors annually) while attempting to maintain consistency; even if transparency has still not been achieved.
In May 2017, the federal government announced it had commissioned David Gonski to chair another panel, this time to review educational evidence and provide advice on how additional expenditure on school education over the next decade should be spent to improve student outcomes.
The ‘Gonski 2.0 report’ was released at the end of April 2018. Federal Education Minister, Simon Birmingham, described the report as an “outstanding blueprint for change” and the government endorsed in principle all 23 of its recommendations.
However, while some stakeholders welcomed the overall thrust of the report, the recommendations have attracted significant skepticism and criticism from a range of people and organisations.
This policy paper is not a point-by-point critique of the Gonski 2.0 report (‘the Review’). It is rather an analysis of some of the key recommendations, and an appraisal of the Review’s fulfilment of the Terms of Reference