No place for politics in our kids’ education

EQUITABLE EDUCATION: Why are we filing away a reform which has proven itself effective with our schools and students? Photo: Getty Images

EQUITABLE EDUCATION: Why are we filing away a reform which has proven itself effective with our schools and students? Photo: Getty Images

It seems a fairly fragile thing, our future. 

As the world tips nose down toward questions about global warming, economic stability, the crisis of rogue nations, a deficit of good leadership and isolationism, one thing Australia can control is how we educate our kids. 

When former Prime Minster Julia Gillard commissioned David Gonski to chair the Expert Advisory Panel of the Commonwealth Government's Review of the Funding of Schools in Australia, the outcome highlighted the needs for children, like ours in Inverell, to have the same opportunities in education as their urban, or more advantaged counterparts.

We are now in the fourth and final year of the stripped-down version of the six years originally proposed by the committee to seed real change in our regional and remote schools.

The reforms affect all our Inverell district schools, not just those within the public sector, thereby giving all our kids the best chance at building a strong future.

A Gonski bus tour came to the region this week, educating communities about the reform achievements, and putting the issue of funding the final two years back into the spotlight.

For those within the New South Wales Teachers’ Federation, six years is even not enough. Not when you consider formal education begins at kindergarten, or even preschool, and those early markers are the formative roots of a child’s habits, curiosity and learning potential.

It is where we identify personal and socioeconomic need; where we implement early intervention to make a lifetime’s worth of difference.

Even keeping our teachers and staff learning and growing alongside their national colleagues is critical for them to evolve as better, more effective and energised educators. Gonski provides for all of that. 

Our Inverell schools have evidence the funds made available on the reform’s school-by-school basis have made a powerful difference to our students in need. The data is in, and it’s exciting and inspiring.

The federal government proposes to scrap Gonski after 2017, and replace it with a needs-based model. Perhaps it seems redundant to say, but Gonski is a needs-based model. If it is a matter of money, if anything, our schools in Inverell and the district need even more.

If it is about party lines, then it is deplorable those political lines should interfere with our future, which is our children.

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