Disadvantaged students pay price for two-tiered school system


The Greens say today’s NAPLAN results are evidence that Australia’s two-tiered school system is supercharging disadvantage, and have called for a complete overhaul of the nation’s approach to school funding. 

Comments attributable to Greens spokesperson on schools, Senator Penny Allman-Payne:

“Today’s NAPLAN results are clear evidence that Australia needs to entirely rethink its approach to school funding.

“As a share of total education expenditure Australia spends more on private schooling than almost any other OECD country – and it’s growing. Private school coffers are overflowing while public schools, 98% of which are underfunded, are asked to do more and more with less and less.

“The fall in student performance maps directly with the growing resource gap between the private and public systems. School should help kids on a path out of disadvantage, but Australia’s two-tiered system is baking in disadvantage and supercharging inequality.

“Our neoliberal obsession with providing ‘choice’ at the expense of universality is widening the gap between the richest and poorest and worsening outcomes for all. 

“Predictably these results have generated the usual calls for changes to teaching methodologies and training. That’s all well and good, but how about we make sure there are enough teachers, support staff and resources in the classroom in the first place before we start telling teachers how to do their job.

“I hear the federal education minister talk about delivering support to the kids most in need, and that’s great. But he’s suspiciously mealy-mouthed when he’s asked if he’ll guarantee full funding to all public school students.

“We need to stop giving money hand over fist to private schools which, a decade since Gonski, are still overfunded, and deliver full funding to public schools at the start of the next National School Reform Agreement in January 2025."