Gonski doesn’t show us the money

The hype surrounding the Gonski review of education funding in Australia gives the impression that, once implemented, all our schooling woes will be consigned to the dustbin of history.

But the truth is that it is just hype.

Gonski’s report focuses on funding, not teaching. And as anyone who pays any attention to government programs knows full well, throwing more of the taxpayer dollar at a problem is rarely an efficient solution.

Fistfuls of cash will do nothing to address the appalling inability of Australia’s schools to graduate Year 10 students who can read and write coherently, and it wouldn’t take a cent to put long-division back in the primary school curriculum.

If there is one thing to be noted from the Gonski report it is this: private schooling costs the taxpayer less and it delivers better results.

I’ll take a wild stab in the dark and offer a reason for this truth: if parents are prepared to take an extra hip-pocket hit for their children’s education, then they are also more likely to work with their kids to ensure there is an educational return on the investment.

Or, in simple terms, parents who pay school fees are more likely to be involved in their kids’ education.

And we all know that it’s parents, not teachers, who carry the primary responsibility to educate their young.

Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems like common-sense to me.

I’m not suggesting that all parents can afford to pay top-tier school fees. I can’t. But even a token payment would result in parental ‘buy-in’ at school.

Unfortunately, instead of offering up common-sense solutions that would assist more parents to get their kids into the private education system, Gonski wants more funding to go to the systemically inefficient public schooling system.

And the report also offers this scary advice. Private school funding should be based on the anticipated ability of parents to pay.

That is code for governments to cut funding over time to the most efficient schooling system in the country.

Parents who send their kids to private schools can always be anticipated to pay a little more. And you can bet any government will anticipate just that. Grants will be reduced, school fees will be increased as a result and those unable to pay the difference will drop out of the school community.

The remaining group of ‘richer’ parents will then be re-assessed at some point as a community of less need. It won’t take Einstein to anticipate that the government will anticipate this ‘richer’ group can fork out more and the cycle will continue.

The other problem of Gonski is that it is centralist.

Education should be delivered at the lowest level possible but Gonski, like other education reforms of late, want Canberra to oversee all.

Unfortunately, it only leads to bloated administration and a dumbed-down curriculum.

Parents, schools and the states should all oppose this trend.

The truth is that parents and local communities can do a better job educating their kids than some bureaucrat in Canberra.

And the states should, for once, tell Canberra to butt-out of their affairs. It’s unhealthy for Australia that its states are losing their inherent competitiveness to Canberra and its inefficient, one-size-fits-all approach to service provision on this island continent.

All governments just need to show us the money, return our taxes to our schools and let us get on with the job.

Author: Bernard Gaynor

Bernard Gaynor is a married father of nine children. He has a background in military intelligence, Arabic language and culture and is an outspoken advocate of conservative and family values.

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  1. The federal government should have nothing to do with education – it is a state responsibility. Better still, the public education system is now so corrupt that I think it’s time the system was completely privatised. Public schools are now little more than taxpayer funded indoctrination centres for the secular-left to promote their lies and perversity.

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    • There is certainly a significant amount of what you have described in state schools. To cause quality and effectiveness in state schools to improve, and provide the education that parents actually want for their children, government funding for education should be supplied via the parents instead of via the education department. This means that instead of supplying the education department with money as is the current practice, the parents should be supplied with the money, made payable to any school of their choice. Instead of the education department teaching what it wants and being payed regardless of its relevance, the department will be forced to teach what the potential students’ parents want so that it can gain the student clientele and the subsequent income it will need to stay in business. The state school system can remain the property of the government, or be privatized, but either way, its funding and subsequent existence will depend on gaining student clientele by providing the education preferred by the students’ parents. This will ensure that all schools become entirely focused on what parents want and need for their children; and you can be sure that all the left wing doctrine will vanish.

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  2. Bernard Gaynor,
    It is common sense of course, that throwing money at something is not going to get a job done. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was it built by throwing cash everywhere. It takes only simple man to see that if you want to fix something you have to do it yourself. Blaming everyone else, and saying ” it wasn’t me” is the attitude that our society has taken on and it’s indeed for the worse. It in turn then makes sense that rather then throwing away millions of taxpayers dollars (our money) for a fallible cause, we should just fix the problems with the large amount of resources we have got, and use what has always worked for past few hundred years. This article is for the good of the Australian people and their families. Being born in raised in Canberra myself, I acknowledge that when the nations capital is being referenced, it is refering to federal politics (parliament house is there for heavens sake) and not the people of Canberra itself. Keep up the good work, we need more men in society and not money hungry boys. God bless.

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  3. Mr Gaynor,
    I don’t agree with practically anything you stand for and find most of what you write to be illogical and prejudiced. However, the point of this post is to point out that using the terms ‘Canberra’ and ‘Commonwealth Government’ synonymously is incredibly frustrating to people who live in Canberra. The people making the decisions you object to are Federal politicians. The ACT only has two members of the House of Representitives and two senators out of over 200 Federal politicians. Therefore, it is completely inaccurate to describe ‘Canberra’ as making the decision. The people who are deciding are actually elected by Victorians, New South Welshpeople and, even by people from your home state of Queensland. I do not work for the Federal Government, but I enjoy living in Canberra and find it intensly annoying when people blame ‘Canberra’ for decisions which are actually made by their own elected representitves. As I said, I reject almost all of your agenda, but an increased attention to accurary of comment and expression would be appreciated by those of us who live in the ACT as it would prevent a further development of a prejudicied view towards the Nation’s capital.

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