I know this is a waste of my breath, but I am begging Christopher Pyne and Tony Abbott to visit remote schools in the NT and schools in Darwin with a checklist in hand. The checklist should include:
- state of the buildings,
- state of the grounds,
- state of the playground,
- sports facilities
- water bubblers, pathways, covered ways. shaded areas and ablution areas
- eating areas
- existence of specialist areas such as science laboratories, ICT rooms, libraries, teacher staff rooms,
- experience of principal
- average teaching experience of staff
- no of specialist support staff
- turnover and average experience of teachers
- average number of children on the roll for each class
Then compare the relative needs of the schools in question – numbers of children who do not yet speak or understand English, NAPLAN scores, student attendance figures special needs and so on.
Then and only then try and tell us that the best way to spend Gonski funding is to give a blank cheque to the NT Government.
The simple fact that every teacher in a Darwin school knows is that the Darwin schools are much more generously funded than the highly disadvantaged remote schools. They also know that the NT Government, no matter what its political persuasion, will never be able to change this because they would immediately lose office.
To cover for this the Department of education has been pretending to work on a new needs based staffing formula and has been pretending this since at least 2008. It is a farce. I have written about this previously here.
And The Chief Minister has admitted that the reason they did not sign on to the ALP Gonski offer is because it would have forced them to shift funds out of Darwin and into remote because the Gonski framework required implementing the needs based approach.
Now it looks like Minister Pyne will give NT the funds with no restrictions. And at the same time NT are cutting positions right across remote NT. Indigenous peoples are being ripped off in the name of Gonski and this just makes me want to weep.