Sunday, 1 December 2013

Wrong question

Gonski may have been asked to answer the wrong question.

He seems to have answered this question:
"How can the Commonwealth and state governments change their school funding arrangements to ensure better outcomes across the board for students?"

Framing the issues like this comes with three implicit assumptions. 

  1. The first is that there is something wrong with Australian schools. 
  2. The second assumption is that whatever ails Australian schools can be fixed by changing the funding arrangements. Can it?
  3. The third assumption is that more money needs to be spent on Australian schools. Does it?

Here, I suggest is the question that should be addressed:
"How can we deliver the best possible education to each and every child in Australia regardless of geography and socioeconomic status?"

Framing the question in this way means:

  • There are no implied assumptions about existing institutional arrangements. Maybe schools in their present form will be part of the mix; or maybe we shall have to experiment with radically different ways of delivering education
  • There is no implication that we need more money. Maybe we do. Maybe we can deliver better education with less money. Maybe too much money is part of the problem.

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