Education

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Greens Policy: Education 2022 Policy Platform

A strong public education system for all stages of life is key to building a just and cohesive society. The opportunity to learn unlocks potential, reduces inequality and allows people to live a good life.

Principles

The Australian Greens believe that:

1. Education is a right of children and people at all stages of life and an educated populace is a public good.

2. All people are entitled to free, well-funded and high quality lifelong public education and training.

3. Differences in educational outcomes should not be the result of difference in wealth, power, location, race, gender or sexuality.

4. Universal access to high quality education is fundamental to the development of a fair, economically and socially just and environmentally sustainable Australia.

5.  Governments have primary responsibility for funding all levels of the public education system — early childhood education, schools, vocational education and training and universities — to provide high-quality education to all students.

6. First Nations peoples’ educational outcomes and aspirations should be determined and set by First Nations communities.

7. In line with Articles 12, 13 and 14 of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), all First Nations Peoples should:

7.1 have equitable resources and control over education programs undertaken by First Nations People, as well as self-determination within the educational system and its institutions, in order to support every student’s well-being and aspirations;

7.2 be free from interpersonal, systemic and institutional discrimination and

7.3 have appropriate resources and opportunities to teach and learn their histories, languages, oral traditions, philosophies, writing systems, and spiritual, land and cultural practices as a priority, to promote social and emotional well-being that underpins further educational and vocational attainment.

8. The Australian education system and curriculum should encompass the histories, cultures, languages and experiences of First Nations Peoples, including in the training and professional development of all teachers, in a substantive effort towards decolonisation.

9.  Disabled people have the right to access an inclusive education, consistent with Article 24 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

10. Federal schools funding should be based on fairness and equity to ensure all children have the opportunity to achieve their best educational outcomes and enable all public schools to be high quality, diverse, inclusive, responsive and flexible.

11. Decision making in education should be open to input from teachers, academics, education workers and their unions, and parents and students.

12. Decisions about curriculum, testing, reporting and teaching should be based on evidence and made in consultation with appropriate educational experts, teachers and their unions, and other stakeholders.

13. The salaries and conditions of teachers, early childhood educators and other educators should be set at a level that recognises their professionalism, training and the importance of their work. The income levels and conditions of educators should provide secure career structures, and encourage committed and capable people to enter and remain in the teaching profession at all levels of the education system.   Insecure work, including short term contracts and casual employment, should be minimised at all levels of the education system.

14. High quality early childhood education is a critical component of lifelong learning that should be available to all Australian families through accredited public, community or not-for-profit providers on a fee-free basis.

15. A publicly owned and fully funded TAFE system plays an essential role in providing economic well-being and a socially just society by offering lifelong educational opportunities and skills development.

16. The public TAFE system should be the primary provider of vocational education and training (VET), and the first priority for all federal funding for that purpose.

17. The community not-for-profit adult education and VET sectors should also be supported, but not be at the expense of, or in competition with, public TAFE.

18. Full-time university and VET students are entitled to a living allowance that enables them to focus primarily on their studies.

19. Universities are places of learning and research where the needs of the whole community and the values of service to the public, scholarship and academic freedom should take priority over sectional and commercial interests.

20. The Australian higher education system should be regulated to protect international students from exploitation, ensure that they are treated with dignity and have full access to the services they need.

21. Education unions are the appropriate representatives of educators in all educational matters.

22. Education facilities should be designed and maintained to provide a healthy environment for learning.

Aims

The Australian Greens want:

1. A public school system that is recognised as among the best in the world.

2. Increased funding to public education through funding models for all sectors of the education system that prioritise public education.

3. Increased support for First Nations students.

4.  Increased support for culturally and linguistically diverse students and their families.

5. Increased support for LGBTIQ students, including the implementation of LGBTIQ-sensitive school-aged education and support programs.

6. Measures to encourage girls, women and gender diverse people to participate in the full range of trades and disciplines, especially those which are traditionally male-dominated.

7. Education funding across all sectors that does not include or promote competition, privatisation, outsourcing, and other market based mechanisms; and that rejects:     

7.1 the use of funding vouchers for schools

7.2 competitive tendering, contestable funding and entitlement-based funding for TAFE and

7.3 demand-driven and entitlement-based funding for universities, noting that such mechanisms undermine standards and integrity and do not further the complex policy objectives of our education system.

8. No government funding for schools, VET, or tertiary education providers that operate for private profit.

9. To create a world-class learning environment, public education infrastructure must be adequately funded for capital works, regular maintenance, energy efficiency and the highest environmental sustainability standards.

10. Quality green space, including nature-play spaces, to be available to all children and young people in educational settings.

11. Public education infrastructure and land to remain in public ownership and control.

12. Transparent long term planning to ensure that no public education land or infrastructure is prematurely closed or sold for private purposes. Where that planning indicates it can be sold without compromising future needs, the proceeds should be redirected into a fund for the construction of new public schools and buildings.

Early Childhood Education

13. Educators working in early childhood settings to be recognised and supported through an appropriate level of professional qualification and ongoing accreditation.

14. Early childhood educators to attain professional pay and working conditions commensurate with the importance of their role as foundational educators.

Schools    

15. Schools funding provided on the basis of equity and need.

16. School funding levels based on a transparent standard that recognises the real cost of educating students to a high level. Public schools must be fully funded at this level, including the full cost of addressing disadvantage.

17. Increased resources for First Nations students, including more First Nations teachers and support workers, language, reading, and cultural materials, as well as cultural training for all staff.

18. An independent national school resourcing body, with continuous operation, strong powers and long-term funding.

19. National needs-based funding that results in public funding to private schools being scaled down in accordance with the Schools Resource Standard, including to zero in applicable cases. Any funding made available by this process will be re-invested in public schools with the highest levels of need.

20. Recognition that the inequitable growth in federal funding to non-government schools has had an adverse impact on public education and entails that any funding to non-government schools should:

20.1 be set so that total public subsidy to the non-government sector does not advantage private education at the expense of public education;

20.2 take into account the resources and assets of each individual school, a direct measure of the economic status of parents and carers, and the school's capacity to generate income from all sources, including fees and other contributions such as philanthropy; and

20.3 develop a national framework for private schools and systems to voluntarily convert their governance model and operational status to that of a public school.

21. The abolition of fees, charges and ‘voluntary contributions’ in public schools.

22. To oppose the introduction of corporate, for-profit models of school education.

23. To ensure that the viability and diversity of existing public schools is not endangered by the development of new private schools.

24. The same accountability and transparency frameworks for public funding to be required of non-government schools as are required of government schools, including:     

24.1 non-discrimination in the hiring of staff;

24.2 non-discrimination in the selection of students and admissions and expulsions policies similar to government schools, including an obligation to enroll;

24.3 provision of all information necessary to calculate the income the school has the capacity to generate from fees and all other sources;

24.4 no charging of tuition fees to those who cannot afford them; and

24.5 full accounting for their use of public funds.

25. Smaller class sizes throughout the public education system to achieve manageable workloads for all educators and the best educational outcomes for all students.

26. More teachers and educational support staff who are appropriately trained to educate students with diverse needs, particularly in schools that experience greater disadvantage, funding shortages and social issues.

27. An increase in specialist teachers and support workers to ensure an inclusive education for children with diverse needs and disabilities.

28. Rejection of performance based pay for school teachers and other educators, as it undermines the cooperative environment that is essential to achieving the best educational outcomes, cannot be fairly implemented, discriminates against disadvantaged schools and students, and places downward pressure on overall pay and conditions.

29. Increased pay, professional recognition, improved pre- and in-service training and increased release time for the development of, and participation in professional learning communities.

30. Increased resource allocation for the teaching of community languages in public primary and secondary schools, and well-resourced centres for the study of community languages and trade-specific English language courses.

31. Support for schools in the provision of high-quality information to parents and the community and an end to the public ranking of schools in league tables.

32. Education on consent and respectful relationships and sex, gender and sexuality diversity with comprehensive sex education.

33. Education across the Australian school system on multicultural awareness including anti-racism education, and appropriate training for educators

34. Abolition of external mass-testing of students unless it:

34.1 follows the principles of 'assessment for learning'

34.2 aligns with the public curriculum applicable in each educational region and

34.3 results are used for diagnostic support of students and treated as professional-in-confidence or

34.4 it results in a robust, and high quality educational credential that serves as a record of the student's achievement for post-school activities.

35. Schools and school systems in receipt of public funding to:

35.1 be free from corporate sponsorship and influence, including the use of sponsors' material or logos;

35.2 return to public development and ownership of curriculum and lesson materials, assessment, testing and other areas of educational services and

35.3 seek contracts with community sector and not-for-profit providers in the event that students' needs require the purchasing of educational goods and services.

36. Governments to have overall responsibility for public school finances and staffing, because inappropriate devolution of decision making can:

36.1. shift blame for funding constraints more easily to individual school principals rather than government;

36.2. undermine a system-wide transfer system that rewards teachers who are prepared to teach in more challenging environments;

36.3. increase negative competition between schools and result in the entrenchment of school disadvantage in some geographic locations;

36.4. open up the way for commercialisation and privatisation of key aspects of our public schools.

37. A secular public education system free from religious proselytising and materials that discriminate on the basis of race, sexuality or gender.

38. To phase out public funding of privately provided VET where TAFE can provide the same educational and training outcomes.

39. To abolish the National Schools Chaplaincy Program, or equivalent programs, and redirect that funding to support qualified secular school welfare and family support professionals, dual-qualified teacher-counsellors with psychological credentials, or school psychologists.

40. Home schooling options for parents to educate their children if they meet requirements to provide a balanced education, core educational outcomes and social interaction with peers.

Tertiary Education

41. Free TAFE and university for Australian citizens and residents in a fee- and charges-free system where income contingent loans are unnecessary and the Commonwealth government increases its contribution to the costs of a high quality accessible system.

42. Increased funding to the tertiary sector and maintenance of sufficient student places to meet the demand of suitably qualified applicants.

43. To abolish all student debt.

44. Improved access to comprehensive publicly provided tertiary education for rural, regional and remote communities.

45. Affirmative action entrance provisions, residential programs and ongoing assistance to improve university and VET entrance opportunities for First Nations students.

46. Establish an education infrastructure fund to invest in university, TAFE, and research infrastructure.

47. VET funding priorities which balance student needs, employment demand, and providing skills in satisfying and sustainable employment.

48. A substantial increase in the availability of apprenticeships in rural and regional Australia and other locations where there is a shortage.

49. Direct government financial support for apprentices, including for training, insurance, tools and equipment, living allowances and other required costs.

50. Strong and well-resourced VET and tertiary education regulators to maintain quality and standards and protect the interests of students and staff.

51.  To address the casualisation of VET teaching by introducing a benchmark of at least 80 percent of teaching by permanent staff.

52. Educators to have a key role in developing and reviewing training packages.

53. To ensure public universities are sufficiently funded and resourced by the government, to a level that does not rely on income from fee-paying students  or commercial ventures, to enable planned growth in the sector, to improve accessibility and to retain high quality educational standards.

54. An increase in the per-student funding of all public universities and adequate funding to all rural, regional and outer-suburban universities.

55. Internationally competitive conditions for academic staff, including clear pathways to permanent work and university funding linked to an increase in security of work for all staff.

56. Legislation for elected staff and student representatives on university governing bodies and increased democratic participation by academics, staff, students and community representatives in the decision-making processes within universities.

57. Recognition of the rights of academics to be supported in developing and maintaining their pursuit of research.

58. Increased funding for pure and public-outcomes research to ensure adequate resources are being directed towards this sector of the research community.

59. A well-funded and publicly-provided Adult Migrant English Program.

60. Adequately funded university pathway programs, such as enabling courses and sub-degrees.

61. The Student Services and Amenities Fee, or any similar levy on students, to be collected and spent by democratically elected, student-controlled organisations in order to ensure the best and fairest provision of student services on university campuses.

62. International students to have access to high quality, safe, affordable and culturally sensitive education.

(Education Policy as amended by Special National Council August 2020.)

Looking for the Greens fully-costed election platform? 

Greens Policy: Education 2022 Policy Platform