OPINION PIECE - WHY LABOR IS COMMITTING AN EXTRA $14 BILLION TO PUBLIC SCHOOLS

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
  
WHY LABOR IS COMMITTING AN EXTRA $14 BILLION TO PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Like every parent I want my kids to have a great future: to get a good education, a good job, and to live a good life.
 
And that’s what Labor wants for every child.
 
It’s why, today, we’ve committed to giving public schools a massive funding boost – $14 billion extra to deliver the biggest investment in public schools in our nation’s history.
 
This will reverse every dollar the Liberals have cut, and transform public schools.
 
School funding matters.
 
Parents work so hard fundraising for their school – sausage sizzles, cake stalls, fetes – because they know the difference extra money makes.
 
Australia is the best country in the world. Our kids deserve the best schools.
 
For parents to have real choice about where they send their children, governments have a responsibility to make sure our public schools are second to none.
 
Labor’s record school funding will ensure public schools get the funding they need to give students more individual attention, and more help with the basics such as reading, writing, maths, and science.
 
It will allow public schools to offer a broader range of subjects including languages, coding, the arts, and vocational education.
 
And it will support our outstanding teachers to continually update their skills.
 
We want all children to have the opportunity to reach their full potential – no matter where they live, or how much their parents earn. Children who are struggling will get the help they need to catch up, and gifted and talented children will have the chance to extend themselves.
 
Investing in schools is a priority for us because we know many of the things that will help our schoolchildren improve, such as more individual attention and excellent teaching, cost money.
 
In return for Labor’s extra funding, state and territory governments will be required to invest strongly too, and sign up to a national plan to improve schools with ambitious goals and targets.
 
Public schools are leaders in educational excellence. They teach two in three of all school students, and the overwhelming majority of Australia’s neediest children: 82 per cent of the poorest children, 84 per cent of Indigenous children, and 74 per cent of children with disabilities.
 
I want our terrific public schools to reach even greater heights.
 
Under Scott Morrison, almost nine in 10 public schools will never get to their fair funding level because the Liberals have capped federal funding for public schools at just 20 per cent of the cost of educating a child.
 
Labor’s increased funding will break through this unfair cap by 2022, and abolish it for good.
 
Labor wants every public school to reach 100 per cent of its fair funding level, and we will work with the states and territories to achieve this.
 
Sadly, over the last five years all the Federal Government has done is attack public schools and slash their funding.
 
The message Scott Morrison is sending to Australia’s 2.5 million public school parents is that their kids don’t matter. He thinks all public schoolchildren deserve are cuts.
 
We must do everything we can to prepare our kids for the jobs of the future.
 
That’s why Labor is investing in 15 years of world class education for the next generation, from 3 and 4 year old preschool through to year 12.
 
Australians are sick of hearing the Liberals say they can’t afford to help public schools while big business and millionaires get more and more.
 
We think it’s time for a government that will put schoolkids first.
 
This opinion piece was first published in Mamamia on Wednesday, 10 October 2018.
 
WEDNESDAY, 10 OCTOBER 2018