The independent Australian Council on Educational Research (ACER) recently released a report Australia's School Funding System.
This report highlights ongoing problems with Commonwealth criteria for school funding.
If Kevin Rudd intends an education revolution over the next four years he cannot avoid this issue of disproportionate funding favouring private schools.
"This does not mean the Commonwealth
is giving less money to government schools but
rather that its funding to non-government schools
may be disproportionate to that sector's needs.20
To summarise, "average" school costs are increasingly
problematic as a means of determining adequate
funds to educate real students. Both government
and non-government schools are receiving funding
based on an "average" student even though nongovernment
schools may be recruiting a student
body with below average costs. On the other hand,
government schools appear to have an increasingly
expensive student body.
Other issues include that:
a) The system does not actually measure a
school's resources and in fact ignores a school's
capacity to generate its own income through
fees, investments, donations and fundraising in
measuring need (the stated rationale from the
Commonwealth is that to reduce funding for
schools that exceed a limit on private income
would act as a disincentive to private efforts to
b) The local community's SES may not reflect the
individual student's SES in a particular nongovernment
school. Some students may come
from the wealthiest home in a disadvantaged
area. Barry McGaw has recently described this
phenomenon as "relatively advantaged students
from disadvantaged communities carry[ing]
with them to a non-government school a
government voucher based on the students they
leave behind in their communities" (2007).
c) Although a formula, the SES system is not
applied consistently with scope for compromise
arrangements to alter the formula. As mentioned
above, in 2005, over half of non-government
schools received an adjusted amount because
the strict application of their SES score would
have resulted in less funding."
Full ACER report: