The data shows that overall spending on schools has increased. The Productivity Commission draft report has criticized for claiming that education spending in Australia has increase in real terms since its release.
It is claim that our achievements have decline despite us spending more. This claim is misleading and simplistic for many reasons.
This Claim Is Not Without Important Increased Limitations
Education funding the amount spent on education services. This includes all education services including primary, secondary, and post-tertiary. It also includes salaries of teachers, principals, and bureaucrats.
This has actually increased. Education funding has increased across all OECD countries. In every OECD country, the average expenditure per student rose by more than 60% between 1995 and 2011. Education expenditures as a percentage of GDP have increased in most OECD countries even after the 2008 economic crisis.
Australia is not the country that spends the most on education. Australia’s education spending is lower than other OECD countries, such as the US, but higher than the OECD average.
This figure includes funding from private sources such as parental contributions, philanthropy and fundraising. These factors increase the overall average.
In Australia, per-school funding is higher than the OECD average due to private sources. This means that parents allocate more of their personal income to schooling than they do for tax.
Although school funding has increased in some schools and for all students, it has not increased in all other schools. It is important to explain in plain English how school funding works so that you can understand the misleading claims.
You should keep in mind that there are 18 different funding models for schools in Australia. Some overlap with each other. According to a Deloitte Economics Access Report, school funding is poorly coordinate and haphazard.
How Schools Get Their Funding
Three types of grants are available for schools: recurrent, capital, and targeted funding. These grants can come from a variety of sources.
Reports by politicians and the Productivity Commission on school funding tend to only report net recurrent funding per student. They do not include levels of capital funding. Capital funding is money that schools receive for new capital projects (e.g. swimming pools or gymnasiums).
For example, the 2014 Productivity Commission report indicates that government schools have a funding ratio at 2:1. This figure does not include capital grants.
Schools that educate students with high socioeconomic status (SES), tend to get less government recurrent funding. These schools receive however more capital funding.
Glenroy Secondary College, a government high school located in the outer suburbs and Melbourne, received an average A$15.468 of net recurrent income per student from 2009 to 2013. Compare this with Melbourne Girls’ College, a public high school located in the inner suburbs. It received an average of $10623 per student of total net income (2009-2013). This is a lower net income per student.
Glenroy’s total capital expenditures between 2009 and 2013 are $199,121. Melbourne Girls’ College received $5,618,981. (This analysis is based on Rowe’s forthcoming Routledge book.
There are exceptions to the rule, but we should not make direct funding comparisons according to My School.
If we only use publicly available funding data, the My School figures show serious funding gaps among schools. Reporting funding levels tends to hide the excessive capital funding received by certain schools.
The Current Funding Model Favors Certain Schools
The SES funding model, which was introduced by the Howard government in 2001, is still being used. We continue to use the model, despite years of confusion and independent reviews.
The Gonski Report argued that transparency is lacking and that the system is too opaque. The Gonski recommendations have not been implemented by the current government.