Kevin Hogan facing united assault on missing Gonski pledge
A TEACHERS' campaign targeting the Federal Coalition's lack of committment to the Gonski school funding reforms is ramping up, with a protest today outside Page MP Kevin Hogan's office over the issue.
While Labor has promised to fund the "full Gonski" over the next three years, the Coalition has pledged $3.3 billion less with no indication of how it will be spent.
The difference translates to $27 million in the seat of Page.
AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe said Malcolm Turnbull's rhetoric on "innovation" wasn't matched by his government's committment to schools - the foundation of any national transformation.
She said Gonski funding was a long-term investment in Australian society.
"We know that 1-in-7 15-year-olds struggles to read properly, and 1-in-5 struggles with basic maths," Ms Haythorpe said.
"It is not in our long-term social or economic interest to let these children leave school without the skills to get a job or lead a successful life."
The campaign appears to hitting home, with a ReachTel survey of 1500 voters in Page last month finding 59.4% of people believe Gonski should have been fully funded in the May budget and 33.2% less likely to vote for the Coalition because it wasn't.
Ms Haythorpe said Gonski's needs-based funding model was already a proven success.
"Schools all over NSW are using their increased resources to benefit students through greater one-to-one support, targeted literacy and numeracy programs and smaller classes," she said.
"That's a great start, but two-thirds of the extra Gonski funding is to be delivered in 2018 and 2019 - the years of Gonski that Malcolm Turnbull wants to stop.
Mr Hogan has defended the government, saying it had locked in a $7 billion dollar increase in total school spending between 2013 to 2020, from about $13 to $20 billion, or 54%.
"In the last year that he Federal Labor government was in power in 2012-13, the Federal Government was spending $12.9 billion on schools," he said.
"We have increased that this year to $16 billion. And over the next four, we aim to be spending $20.1 billion on education by 2020."
"We're not cutting money - we're increasing spending on education every year."
"The other side may well say they are going to increase it even more," he conceded.