Existing school funding arrangements are a corruption of the Gonski model that leave some states languishing amid a myriad of special deals.
As education ministers start nutting out the details of the next four years of school funding, that’s what the federal government will argue in an effort to get them all on board with a new deal.
“The Turnbull government is determined to right this corruption of the Gonski report and replace the special deals that Bill Shorten cobbled together as he ran around the country wheeling and dealing with the highest bidder,” federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham said.
“[The Coalition will implement] a new, simpler distribution model where special deals don’t distort a fair distribution of federal funds.”
He wants states and territories to agree to a new arrangement, due to start in 2018, that will tie funding to evidence-based school improvement initiatives.
This includes measures such as testing where Year 1 students are up to with reading and maths and putting in minimum literacy and numeracy requirements for Year 12 school leavers.
When the ministers meet on Friday for initial talks about the new deal, Senator Birmingham will present them with evidence showing the commonwealth is paying a much higher proportion of the per-student standard in some states than others.
He’ll also make the case of how some states are shifting costs on to the federal government.
For instance, government figures show that between 2009-10 and 2013-14 federal funding to Victorian schools grew by more than 22 per cent while that state cut its education budget by just over seven per cent.
The commonwealth is determined that any new agreement includes a guarantee from the states and territories that they’ll maintain the real level of per-student funding.
The new four-year funding agreement is due to be signed off by leaders at the Council of Australian Governments meeting in early 2017.