Underfunding to blame for inequality crisis in schools


The Greens say the findings in today’s Productivity Commission report into the National School Reform Agreement (NSRA) are irrefutable evidence that the failure by Commonwealth, state and territory governments to fully fund public schools has created an inequality crisis in education.

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

“Australian public school teachers must be reading the news today and thinking, ‘Tell us something we don’t know.’

“Eleven years ago David Gonski said that there was growing inequality in the school system, that the root cause was funding inequality, and here’s the model to fix that.

“But instead of embracing the Gonski recommendations, cowardly governments balked at taking funding from elite private schools. So now, more than a decade later, with public schools still underfunded across the country, no one should be remotely shocked by the Productivity Commission’s findings.

“It’s great that the report identifies inequality and student wellbeing as central issues, but there’s nothing in the report’s recommendations that doesn’t cost money.

“Around 85% of students with additional needs attend public schools. If governments really wanted to actually help those kids, instead of just performatively pearl-clutching in front of the cameras, they should give them the funding teachers have been pleading for since half-a-dozen prime ministers ago.

“The new NSRA was an opportunity for the Albanese Government to end the funding crisis and restore equity to the school system. Instead they’ve kicked the can down the road, consigning public school kids to another year of disadvantage. They should be ashamed.

“We don’t need more analysis, more accountability mechanisms, more working groups, more inquiries or more reports. Our public schools need more money, and they need it yesterday.

“The Greens will continue to fight alongside unions, parents and carers to ensure that all public schools receive at least 100% of their Schooling Resource Standard in the next NSRA."