February 06, 2017

Maitland Mercury Editorial

It was always going to be the students most affected by the federal government’s decision to either honour the final two years of the Gonski funding initiative, or take the money off the table.

Maitland Teachers Association president Brian Adamthwaite says Hunter students need the ongoing funding support, which has already been of benefit to many in the past four years.

According to Mr Adamthwaite, many young people stand to lose out if there’s suddenly no extra money to pay for support services and other resources – as a result, progress will be harder for them.

Labor Paterson MP Meryl Swanson said schools in her electorate would miss out on $43 million if the Turnbull Government didn’t deliver the final two years of the six year program. She’s actively investigating the grassroots impact across the region.

While it may not be a surprise that a Labor MP would jump to the defense of an initiative set up by her party when it was previously in government, the impacts of wrapping up Gonski early are too important to ignore.

We are talking about helping a generation build a better future.

We should be looking for ways to enhance the education of our young citizens – no matter the cost – not give them a taste of support and then take it away.

Given that the most generous funding portions had been saved until the final two years of the Gonski program, it would be all too convenient for the government to bring the program to a halt early.

Mr Adamthwaite said the Gonski Report, which identified the need for this type of funding, was one of the most extensive education reports in decades.

For a government to ignore advice from a study like this would suggest that money is more important than giving young people a better education.

It would particularly hurt students in public schools, where much of the need was identified.

“Education is a bridge to a better future and public education is a bridge that doesn’t have a toll booth at the end,” Mr Adamthwaite told Fairfax Media. 

“It would be such a pity if the bridge had a whole series of speed bumps built across it that are going to slow down the progress of those students [who need support].”