Grattan schools report fundamentally flawed

The Grattan Institute report Circuit breaker: a new compact for school funding is fundamentally flawed, according to Catholic Education Melbourne Executive Director Stephen Elder. 

'The Grattan report is based on a false assumption,” Mr Elder said, “that the current funding model accurately estimates school funding needs.

'We know this is not true, but the Grattan model assumes that teacher salaries are the same across Australia when instead state and territory governments set teacher pay based on their own circumstances.

'There are other problems too. The base funding amounts are derived from schools that were higher performing in 2012.

'When new funding arrangements come into place in 2018 this data will be six years out of date.

'The model pretends that government schools don’t charge fees but this defies reality.

'The model also penalises states that fund their schools well and creates perverse incentives. These states are assumed to need less federal funding.

'Instead of acting as a circuit breaker, these fundamental flaws mean the report immediately short circuits.'

Mr Elder said the Grattan report showed lightweight thinking.

'Think-tanks are supposed to challenge existing policies and come up with new alternatives.

'Yet despite the problems with the current funding model all that Grattan’s proposal on school funding amounts to is a change in indexation rates.

'Grattan focuses on how the school funding target, known as the school resource standard, moves each year rather than asking if the target itself is right or how much of it the federal government should fund.

'It fails to tackle the deep defects in the current arrangements and look where the real challenges lie.'

Despite the criticism, Mr Elder said the report was not without its merits.

'We agree that we need to keep more of our high performing teachers in classrooms,' Mr Elder said.

'And Catholic Education Melbourne is already one step ahead of Grattan’s recommendation ‘school leaders need to be able to manage resources well’ with innovative programs such as the MBA for principals we have developed with the Australian Catholic University, the first qualification of its kind in the nation.'

For further information contact Christian Kerr, Media Adviser on 0402 977 352 or 9267 4411 

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