An independent examination has produced more evidence that school funding is heading in the wrong direction.
A week ago I wrote that the new school funding model developed following the Gonski Review of School Funding was not sustainable and would cause public policy problems for governments.
We told a Senate Committee that the funding arrangements had been developed either without looking at the facts or had misinterpreted them. I asked readers of Dialogue whether they thought the problem of school funding has been solved.
One answer was in a submission to the Senate Committee from the prominent economist Professor Henry Ergas who is a senior economic advisor with Deloitte Australia and Professor of Infrastructure Economics at the University of Wollongong. In his independent personal submission that does not represent the views of any organisation, Professor Ergas said:
There is no evidence supporting the assumption that substantial increases in per student funding are required to ensure Australian schools perform at a high level. The Gonski Review found that better-performing secondary schools spent some $400 less per student than schools that performed less well on NAPLAN.
Socio-economic status has little effect on student outcomes. The best evidence is that parental socio-economic status has a relatively minor effect on school outcomes and there is no basis in evidence for the additional loadings that have been built into spending increases.
The best way to achieve full competitive neutrality between government and non-government schools would be to transform the current recurrent funding into a per-child voucher allocated to families, and which would have the same value in government and non-government schools. So as to ensure equity, the voucher could be treated as taxable income.
Other recommendations made by Professor Ergas and his reasoning are detailed in the submission that is on our website.