Mike Baird has drawn heated criticism from teachers, opposition MPs and the Australian Education Union over his watered down version of Gonski funding
Mar 4, 2016 | News
NSW premier Mike Baird has reneged on a promise to back full Gonski funding by drafting an agreement with the Turnbull government for a watered-down version of the spending reforms.
The premier has drawn heated criticism from teachers, opposition MPs and the Australian Education Union for proposing the final two years of federal Gonski funding be paid over four years.
His negotiations for an extra $7 billion of federal investment in state health and education programs include the Gonski compromise, which would reduce the burden on the federal budget for 2018 and 19.
"We are not asking them to spend money they don't have,” Mr Baird said of the federal Government.
"You have to be reasonable in what you are proposing. There are difficult decisions to be made in terms of the ongoing sustainability of the federal budget."
The premier had earlier pledged his unwavering support for full Gonski funding, telling Fairfax Media in December: “We're committed to delivering these funds.”
And his education minister, Adrian Piccoli, said: "Our position is the full six years of Gonski should be funded. We continue to lobby for it.”
Now the premier wants to give the federal Government time to “smooth the funding” by delivering it over a longer time period.
Federal Labor has accused the NSW premier of betraying students by compromising on the final two years of Gonski - which would deliver an extra $4.5 billion in needs-based funding to Australian schools.
"Mike Baird has sold out New South Wales students to give a helping hand to his Liberal mate, Malcolm Turnbull - this is a disgraceful back flip," said shadow education minister Kate Ellis.
The Australian Education Union has also slammed the plan.
Federal president Corenna Haythorpe said: “The last two years are crucial because that is when the majority of the extra resources are due to be delivered to disadvantaged schools.
“The Gonski funding delivered so far is already lifting results.
“Schools are able to invest in more one-to-one support, smaller classes and targeted literacy and numeracy support, which are helping students to achieve.
“Malcolm Turnbull must deliver the full six years of Gonski.
“Anything less will be selling our children short with a deal that leaves some disadvantaged schools short of the resources they need for their students.”
In an open letter this week, NSW principals and teachers questioned Mr Baird’s motives for the compromise and urged him to reconsider his position.
"The opportunity to transform the quality and provision of school education in NSW for generations to come now exists," it states.
"We would hope that is not compromised in a pre-election arrangement aimed more at improving the electoral fortunes of the Turnbull government than improving the educational futures of NSW children."