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Could this be the answer to the school funding deadlock?

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Brett Henebery | 30 Sep 2016, 11:00 AM Agree 0
The school funding debate may be complex, but it can be resolved, Grattan Institute director Pete Goss tells The Educator.
  • Vicki Watson | 01 Oct 2016, 03:34 PM Agree 0
    Okay, Peter Goss' proposition makes sense, it is time for the 'powers to be' - all of them - politicians, policy makers, education leaders and unions - to try a more Finnish approach, an approach where all partisans place the importance of equitable education opportunity firmly at the forefront of education fiscal and policy decision making. Yes, I know that Finland's is a very different cultural context from that in Australia, however their focused single-minded view of education as of paramount importance to both their social and economic status is the way we need to go. There are many impacting factors on the quality of education in Finland and we can only begin to discuss these but first and foremost, we need our children to start on an even playing field. Australian children must have the same opportunities to achieve outstanding learning and social outcomes but this will not happen without leaders listening to the wisdom and solid evidence presented by the likes of Professor Richard Teese, Professor Alan Reid and the 'Gonski Report' .

    Over time the community will, if our leaders position the education funding debate in the best interest of all Australian children, understand the importance of a shift to a funding model that more justly supports schools that educate the most disadvantaged students; a model that will empower those schools to lift the tail of our national data but more importantly, to ensure that the very most disadvantaged children have the support they need to become healthy and socially competent young adults: of course this means that they will have achieved the same excellence that all Australian students should achieve and their teachers professionally expect and ensure.

    We as a community need to understand the reality that;

    "By any measure, Australia has a high-quality education system. It compares well against other countries on a range of education tests and benchmarks. These results, however, mask the grim reality that Australian education is not equitable. It is the large achievement gap between rich and poor that blights Australian education – and the gap appears to be widening. According to a recent report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Australia is near the bottom of OECD countries in terms of equity in education.

    Apart from denying individuals the chance to develop to their full potential, there is now overwhelming evidence demonstrating the deleterious effects of educational inequality on social and economic outcomes and political participation. Productivity falls, participation in civic life is diminished, and social dislocation is greater. Since education is one of the most important determinants of levels of inequality, it is clear that there is need for urgent action to improve equity in Australian schooling."
    (Executive Summary: Professor Alan Reid, 'Building Our Nation Through Public Education' AGPPA, 2016)
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