A New Federalism in Australian Education
New report pushes for bold reform to Australian schooling
Wednesday 22 July
An ambitious new proposal for a national reform agenda for Australian schooling was released today by Education Foundation (a division of The Foundation for Young Australians) in collaboration with The R. E. Ross Trust. Prepared by Professor Jack Keating, the University of Melbourne, the report highlights a number of structural weaknesses in Australia’s education system and proposes a path towards a cooperative rather than competitive federalist approach to schooling.
A New Federalism in Australian Education was launched at a forum in Melbourne attended by many of Australia’s leading education experts, policy makers and thinkers including John Dawkins AO, former Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia and the Hon Steve Bracks.
Professor Keating, Thought Leadership Fellow at Education Foundation said, “At its heart, this report is about tackling some of the root causes of educational inequality. There are enormous social and economic benefits to be gained from a well-implemented reform of our schooling system.”
Central to this report is the call for a multi-level, federalist approach to funding that prioritises schools with low completion rates and offers fee relief for low-income families. It recommends additional investment in early childhood education; an acceleration of interventionist programs in the middle years of secondary school to curb school leaving; and a strengthening of upper secondary pathways to further education and training that do not rely solely on academic results. The report also proposes the establishment of a national education regulatory agency to support these actions and reforms.
“We believe that this proposal provides a timely and ambitious agenda for strengthening Australian schooling,” said Dr Lucas Walsh, Director of Research at The Foundation for Young Australians. “It provides a bold platform from which we can develop a vision of schooling based on quality and equity for all Australians.”
Professor Glyn Davis AC, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Melbourne said, “This is the most comprehensive analysis of the effects of federalism on schooling I can recall. We are fortunate indeed to have a scholar of Keating’s ability focused on such important foundational questions.”
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