Gonski. It’s the name that’s been dominating headlines for months.
But what exactly is the plan behind the man?
We’ve teamed up with Jane Caro and Chris Bonnor, co-authors of What Makes a Good School, to explain why the Gonski Review represents the best pathway to a quality education for every Australian child.
Watch Jane and Chris explain why our system is in desperate need of an overhaul and how Gonski does this.
Education is one generation’s promise to the next. The expert panel on education chaired by businessman David Gonski has laid out a way for us to make good on that promise. It’s common sense: by improving access to quality education for every Australian, our entire society stands to gain.
But who really gives a Gonski? Turns out, most Australians do,1 including the vast majority of educators, parents and students in the know. For good reason, as our current system is in need of repair.
You’ve probably heard comments from Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and Shadow Education Minister Christopher Pyne, basically amounting to, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. If only. Truth is, the Review uncovered some hard truths about a system that currently offers amazing choice for a select few, but enshrines inequity for many, many more – limiting the potential of our most vulnerable children.
The gap between our best and worst performing students is widening every year. In fact, inequality in Australia’s schooling system is higher than in similar countries in the OECD, and far less equal than it should be: disadvantaged students are a full two years behind their peers.
Research shows our education system as a whole is slipping behind other nations in the global economy. In 2000, Australia ranked second in the world for reading and scientific literacy, and third for maths. A further study in 2009 found Australian students had fallen to seventh in reading and scientific literacy, and thirteenth in maths. We were the only high-performing country to show a significant decline in reading literacy performance since 2000.2
The bottom line? Our current education system is creating winners and losers out of kids. Especially students from low socioeconomic backgrounds, Indigenous children, children with disabilities, children who don’t speak English as a first language and kids who live in remote areas. The “losers” in the unfair education lottery are the kids that have the most to gain from access to quality education. Right now, one in seven 15-year-olds lack the basic numeracy and literacy skills needed to secure employment.3
So now what?
The Prime Minster is currently doing the rounds, negotiating with every state Premier. Your Premier Campbell Newman has so far rejected signing up for the Gonski education reforms, despite growing evidence that Queenslanders support them.4 Don’t let him put Queensland’s kids at a disadvantage.
Add your name to the petition now so Mr Newman receives the message loud and clear – all Queensland children deserve access to a high standard of education.
Because while addressing inequality and lifting the academic standards for every Australian child seems like a no brainer, the truth is reforms could be gone-ski unless we make it impossible for State Premiers and Tony Abbott to walk away. Mr Abbott has already said that he won’t support it unless the other state and territory leaders get on board quickly.
Let’s get this landmark reform over the line. Sign and share this crucial petition today, as we gear up for rallies and further actions to hold the Coalition to the promise that they’ll back Gonski in QLD if they win the next election.
Access to a good education shouldn’t be a lottery based on where you were born, where you live or how much your parents earn; and we have some work to do before an Australian education is once again a mark of quality for every child, and a point of pride for our nation.
If our politicians don’t capitalise on this once in a generation opportunity for lasting, transformative reform then we will continue our slide down the list of OECD countries and continue to enshrine inequality within our system. We can correct the course before it’s too late. Show where you stand: funding better, more equitable education isn’t a line item cost, it’s an investment in our future.
Thanks for signing on,
the GetUp team.
PS: It shouldn’t take a large grassroots community campaign to convince our state and Federal leaders to commit to funding a better, fairer education system for all. But it’s becoming clear that’s exactly what it will take. Now’s the time to let every Premier know that we don’t want our kids left behind. Our friends at the I Give a Gonski campaign are holding events with parents, teachers and community members in capital cities across the country this Saturday. Want to join your fellow GetUp members at a local event? Click here for more information and to RSVP: http://www.getup.org.au/everychild-qld
 Voters back more funding for public education, The Sydney Morning Herald, 3 February 2013
& Challenges for Australian education : results from PISA 2009, PISA
 Queenslanders want Gonski reforms, poll suggests, The Brisbane Times, 21 April 2013