Fair Funding Now! ramps up in November
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 123 No 8, 2 November 2018, page no. 17
Our local Fair Funding Now! campaigns across the state will ramp up across November, with a major mobilisation of supporters planned for the weekend of 17 and 18 November in particular.
It comes after the Shorten federal opposition announced additional investment for state schools, making needs-based funding a central pillar of its pre-election policies.
Labor has promised to invest an additional $14.1 billion between 2020 and 2030, with $3.3 billion promised between 2020 and 2022 (of which Queensland would receive $647 million). It has also committed to working with the states and territories to bring all public schools up to 100 per cent of the schooling resource standard (SRS) benchmark, smashing the Morrison government’s arbitrary 20 per cent cap on federal SRS funding for public schools.
Unfortunately, the Morrison-led coalition has again put its head in the sand. It has pledged an additional $4.6 billion in funding over the next decade to the Catholic and independent school sectors, without one single extra dollar going to public schools.
The deal consists of $170.8m in interim funding in 2019; $3.2bn from 2020 to 2029 from replacing the socio-economic status score of communities’ capacity to contribute to schools with a new direct measure of parents’ income; and $1.2bn from 2020 to 2029 for a Choice and Affordability Fund to help regional and remote schools and “to deliver choice in communities”.
The claim by the federal government that states and territories are responsible for funding public schools and the federal government has a special responsibility to fund non-government schools is not based in any constitutional, legal or historical facts. It is simply the current policy of the Liberal and National parties at a federal level.
In fact, state and territory governments fund both public schools and non-government schools with both capital infrastructure investment and recurrent funding. This is a fact many federal members of the Coalition simply choose to ignore.
The new ALP policy did not come about by chance. Teachers, principals and parents from public schools right across the country have continued to lobby and campaign to see needs-based resources delivered so that every child, no matter their family circumstances or postcode, has access to the resources they need to reach their potential.
We should take stock and celebrate that a potential Shorten Labor government will finally see the Gonski report implemented. But our work is not over. We need to continue to talk to colleagues, parents and the broader community about why this funding is so important.
If you are not a supporter or volunteer of the Fair Funding Now! campaign, please visit www.fairfundingnow.org.au now and register your support.
In November, we will be making member phone calls, running community engagement stalls, and hitting the streets letterboxing and door knocking to ensure our message is heard and our campaign is successful.
If you would like to be involved in local Fair Funding Now! activities in your part of the state, please contact your Regional Organiser, who will be able to give you the details of what is planned near you.