The teachers’ union has been accused of running a misleading campaign on school funding, including cherrypicking data to back up its claim that Catholic schools receive more government support than public schools. Source: The Australian.
The Australian Education Union, which has been actively campaigning against the Coalition’s re-election, yesterday released analysis of school funding data, claiming independent schools attracted more than 40 per cent more annual income than government schools, while the Catholic system attracted 4 per cent more.
It also singled out five electorates in Victoria, claiming up to a $1322 gap per student between the combined commonwealth and state funding of Catholic and government schools.
According to the AEU, the figures were evidence of “deep funding inequality facing public schools” and a reason why “the Morrison Government needs to go”.
“When Catholic schools are getting more state and federal government funding than public schools you know how unfair the system has become,” said AEU president Correna Haythorpe.
The union’s analysis was criticised by the Catholic system and a leading independent analyst for conflating government funds with the money that non-government schools attract from parents via school fees.
According to the AEU, independent schools’ net recurrent funding in 2017 was $19,966 per student, compared with $14,198 per public school student.
The measure takes into account school fees as well as deductions for future capital projects and debt servicing.
The latest National Report on Schooling by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority shows public schools received more government funding per student than the independent sector – $17,531 compared with $9748.
Centre for Independent Studies education research fellow Blaise Joseph said the AEU’s figures were “very misleading” and failed to acknowledge state and territory governments had the main responsibility for funding government schools.
Catholic Education Commission of Victoria acting executive director Jim Miles accused the union of “cherrypicking simplistic school data from marginal, Coalition-held seats … The AEU’s basic ‘analysis’ ignores the individual circumstances of the school communities in focus”.
Union report of school funding ‘cherrypicks data’ (The Australian)