Gonski 1.0 was fundamentally flawed to begin with. There is no reason to think Gonski 2.0 will be any better.
Another report on education is not needed. What is needed is a reform of the obvious flaws in the current school funding model.
The Gonski 1.0 school funding model was based around a funding benchmark, known as the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS), with two components: a base level of funding per student; and loadings (extra funding) for schools with disadvantaged students.
The base level of funding was calculated using the average costs of high-achieving schools according to 2008-2010 NAPLAN results and 2009 school income data (outdated even in 2012 when Gonski 1.0 was released). The loadings were arbitrary and not based on any rigorous evidence.
And following the Gillard government’s negotiations with the states and non-government schools, the criteria for disadvantage was expanded so much that the majority of Australian students are now considered ‘disadvantaged’ and receive extra funding—if you’re not disadvantaged in some way then you’re in the minority, apparently.
This is obviously not financially viable in the long-term and means the school funding benchmark — which the Turnbull government will spend an additional $18.6 billion to achieve over the next decade — is unreasonably and unjustifiably high.
Surely it would have made more sense for the government to review the deeply defective funding model first, before picking a fight with some independent schools and the entire Catholic school system based on arbitrary claims of ‘overfunding’.
Blaise Joseph is an Education Policy Analyst at The Centre for Independent Studies and author of The Fantasy of Gonski Funding: the ongoing battle over school spending released 30 April.