In the article Gonski, plutocracy and public policy, Steven Long (2012) analyses the data presented in the 2010 ‘Review of Funding for Schooling; Final Report’ (Boston, Gonski, Greiner, Lawrence, Scales, Tannock, 2010). Long (2012) offers his audience a look beyond its carefully scripted wording and critically examines its findings. He discusses Australia’s current school funding system in conjunction with implications of the reports findings, ultimately accusing plutocracy and a fearful government for the sustained inequitable distribution of government funding (Long, 2012).
The “Gonski report” (Long, 2012, para. 3) stemmed following calls for an investigation into the allocation of public funding to Australian schools by the then acting Federal Minister for Education, the Hon Julia Gillard MP, (Gonski, 2010, p. 8). The report, headed by David Gonski and presented in December 2010, aimed to establish a “transparent, fair, financially sustainable” (Gonski, 2010, p. 8) ...view middle of the document...
10). High-fee based schools, for example schools provided with generous parental and community financial contributions, were included amongst those that primarily rely on public funding; economically disadvantaged schools, schools for the disabled, rural schools and those specifically intended to educate Indigenous students (Long, 2012).
Long (2012) also found the data offered evidence that privileged students in the independent group far outweigh the disadvantaged. “About three quarters of all students in the "independent" schools come from families in the top half of the population for socio-educational advantage” (Long, 2012, para. 7). These are students born from highly educated, superiorly employed, wealthy parents (Long, 2012). Long (2012) believes this data confirms that a substantial portion of the independent schools possess a large share of students considered with a high socio-educational advantage, with a mere thirteen percent of students in the lowest quarter for socio-educational advantage.
Despite this advantage, on a per-student basis, public schools acquire a lesser amount of continuous funding from all sources than their independent counterparts (Long, 2012). Long (2012) alleges the education of the underprivileged “is an expensive business” (para. 12). Government schools educate the majority of disadvantaged students; those considered as being from “poor, ill-educated households” (Long, 2012, para. 13), children with disabilities, students of indigenous heritage and children from “non-English speaking backgrounds” (Long, 2012, para. 14). Long (2012) states, in order to produce educational equality for all Australian school students, a deeper level of scrutiny must be applied when assessing the allocation of funding for Australian schools (Long, 2012).
Long (2012) ultimately concludes that despite the report being suggestive that affluent schools should receive less funding and the disadvantaged should receive more, plutocracy will dictate the response to its recommendations. With wealthy schools “up in arms” (Long, 2012, para. 32) at the prospect of their funding being affected by the scrutiny of assets, politicians appear more concerned of public reaction (Long, 2012).