TWO out of three Australians believe public schools are underfunded and a slim majority would be more likely to vote for a party at the next federal election that would increase funding for public schools, according to a new poll.
The survey on views about education, commissioned by the Australian Education Union, also revealed strong disapproval of the O’Farrell government’s $1.7 billion cut to education, with more than 70 per cent of NSW voters saying they opposed the move.
Two-thirds of respondents believe funding for public schools is too low, with only 4 per cent stating they believe it is too high, according to the Auspoll survey of 2200 Australians, including 500 people in NSW.
Only 14 per cent said funding for private schools was too low, while almost 45 per cent said it was too high. Just over half (51 per cent) said they would be more likely to vote at the federal election for a party that planned to give more money to public education, compared with 4 per cent who said they would be less likely and 45 per cent who said that factor would have no effect on their vote.
Most respondents supported the main recommendations of the Gonski review, with 78 per cent of voters stating they ”support” or ”strongly support” school funding being allocated on the basis of need and 74 per cent stating they wanted state and federal governments to increase funding by the recommended $6.5 billion a year.
Smaller class sizes and more individual attention for students were identified as the most important changes to the education system, followed by more training for teachers and specialised literacy and numeracy teachers for students falling behind.
Reforms that were considered least important were giving greater autonomy to principals and providing more modern facilities and equipment to schools.
The federal School Education Minister, Peter Garrett, met most of his state counterparts at a ministerial council meeting in Sydney on Friday, where they discussed the progress of the Gonski reforms.
State education ministers have expressed frustration that the proportion of the $6.5 billion annual price tag they will be expected to contribute is still not known.
The poll was commissioned to coincide with the union stepping up its ”I give a Gonski” campaign, with new advertisements from today.
”The poll shows education funding is an area that voters across Australia want action on – whether they support the Coalition, Labor or the Greens,” the union federal president, Angelo Gavrielatos, said.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.