Many in our school community will have followed the release of the most recent Gonski Report, whether via television, online, or print media. Are we about to see fundamental changes in schooling? Many years of seeing the release of reports to government suggest that politicians view recommendations not so much through the framework of what is good public policy. Instead, their prism is how many votes are in this? Can we use it to wedge our political opponents? What are the resource implications?
Often politicians are more concerned about something appearing to be done, than the actuality. Their ardour for change can quickly dissipate after an election. Sadly, many reports are released with fanfare, then sit on shelves gathering dust. Even where political will exists, reports are then massaged in response to interest group lobbying, such that their eventual form is very different from the initial recommendations. Where stakeholder groups take real umbrage, they sometimes threaten to campaign against governments in marginal electorates. This is often sufficient to browbeat governments into maintaining the status quo.
I have no doubt of the commitment of Mr Gonski and his panel to the common good of the nation. Taken as a whole, it seems to me the implementation of his recommendations would improve education in this country. Will this happen? We will have to wait and see.
Dr John Collier
Head of School