ISCA Opinion Piece – Gonski: Pressure cooker politics
Canberra’s political soup is heating up, so much so that last week it threatened to boil over. Internal party politics aside, it is the Government’s self-imposed election deadline that is helping to raise the temperature. An election date of 14 September means the Government has only until 27 June 2013 to pass legislation, including legislation to cover federal funding of schools beyond 2013.
A new schools funding model delivering the kind of increased public investment recommended by the Gonski report will depend on the Prime Minister bringing on board the state and territory governments. For this, she has set a target date of 19 April, the next meeting of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG). That’s just over three weeks away, and still no details of the proposed funding model have been made public.
Impending deadlines and a scarcity of information have led to a flurry of speculation that the Prime Minister has brokered a ‘deal’ with the independent schools sector. Wrong. There is no deal. For one thing, the Independent Schools Council of Australia has no authority to make deals for independent schools. Independent schools are just that, independently owned and governed, and it is up to each school to accept or reject any funding proposal offered by the Government. What ISCA does on behalf of the sector is to act as a policy watchdog, and advise governments of the sector’s response to policy proposals.
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