‘Our students deserve better’ – new federal funding model criticised

"We are proud of our students and they deserve better": Wingham Teachers Association president, Gary Dunbier
"We are proud of our students and they deserve better": Wingham Teachers Association president, Gary Dunbier

Wingham Teachers Association president, Gary Dunbier has spoken out against the new education funding model recently announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Mr Dunbier said he is livid the Morrison government will inject $4.6 billion into private schools over the next 10 years, but offer no extra funding for students in public schools.

Mr Dunbier, who has taught at Wingham High School since 1994, said Mr Morrison’s announcement on September 20 came out of the blue.

”I couldn’t believe it,” he said.

“To me, it was a blatant political move that had nothing to do with obtaining the best educational outcomes for the majority of students in this country,” he said.

Mr Dunbier said he felt nauseated and then started to feel angry after hearing the announcement.

“Our kids, our schools, our teachers have been ripped off again. We are proud of our students and they deserve better.”

What public schools like Wingham High School want, said Mr Dunbier, is smaller class sizes, more specialist teachers for students with learning difficulties and better resources and technology to assist with 21st century learning.

“It is unbelievable that the Morrison government would deny our students these rights.

“The new funding for the private sectors is grossly inequitable. It builds on the unfairness of the previous model – Malcolm Turnbull’s so called Gonski 2 model – which took $19 billion from public schools that they were entitled to under the original Gonski model.

“Funding for education must be based on need, not politics.”

Mr Dunbier said he was pleased that the State Education Minister Rob Stokes had spoken against the move, but was not hopeful Mr Stokes could do anything.

“Mr Stokes has correctly stated that public schools do most of the heavy lifting. He acknowledged the unfairness of the announcement and Mr Morrison should take notice of his State Liberal Party colleague,” he said.

“I would like to see Mr Stokes and Premier Gladys Berejilkian continue to put pressure on the Prime Minister and his Education Minister Dan Tehan. Their federal counterparts must not get away with this.

Mr Dunbier said teachers and parents in public schools will be taking the issue to the next federal elections and local member David Gillespie must be held accountable.