From the future

All agree that the educational and political issues David Gonski and his panel must sift through are formidable. Maybe we need to simplify. If you asked an Australian person the following question, how would they likely respond?

Should all Australian children be provided with a high quality education regardless of social background?
The vast majority of Australians would answer with a simple, YES!


Children need a fair start in life, regardless of socio-economic background. This is at the heart of the challenge for the Review of Funding for Schooling panel as Australia is not successfully providing ‘equity’ of educational outcomes or opportunities for our children and young people. The data shows this clearly and the reports articulate what many Australians see clearly.


The future health of the country will largely be a result of our educational policy and vested interests will need to be a secondary consideration, as politically difficult as this emotive issue may prove to be. Regardless of our varying political beliefs, does anyone disagree with Bob Brown’s 2010 election night statement:
“we will measure everything in this parliament by…the dictum, if it is good for our grandchildren, it is good for us”?


David Gonski and his panel have an awesome responsibility and future generations may reap the benefits of excellent public policy.

Waiting for Gonski (Part 3)

Waiting for Gonski (Part 1)



  1. […] Waiting for Gonski: (Part 2) […]

    • Paul

    • 13 years ago

    Having started to wade through the Gonski reports I want to stop for a moment and be a contrarian. I think the answer to your leading question is ‘no’! Before everyone starts a flamewar, consider where all these reports are coming from.

    The genesis of this comes from World Bank reports in the mid 1960s from people such as Psacharopoulos who virtually founded the modern notion of cost-effectiveness in education (and, by extension, education economics). The idea was to provide a cheap source of basic learning for the majority. Move forward about 20 years and you have researchers such as Lynn Ilon writing about the need to provide a two-tier education (sadly I can’t find the reference) where you had a first-rate education for the elite and fed the rest the basics. It might be argued that she was also trying to ignite the debate but there’s little doubt that similar messages were picked up by politicians in the Western world at the time that costs should be reduced (it was certainly a specific UK model).

    So, we have an idea that education needs to meet (just) the needs of society at the level performed by a specific individual. Fast-forward and you see the same ideas being put forward. Yes, the Gonski papers talk a lot about economics but they don’t talk about the nature of education.

    Coming back to your question – currently, I don’t think we’ve addressed equity because it’s not part of the package. What we should be doing is broadening the scope far more and looking at a true cost-benefit analysis away from the short-termist goals of politicians. I may well see this as I continue my studies into these documents in parallel with your writings but I won’t bet on it just yet!

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