NGO Leaders Unite for Disadvantaged Students
16 April 2013 at 11:06 am
Fifteen of Australia's leading non-government community organisations have united for the first time to sign an open letter to COAG calling on State, Territory and Federal Governments to put aside their political differences and put students first.
Convened by the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA), ‘NGO Leaders for Educational Opportunity’ includes representatives from FYA’s Centre for New Public Education, The Smith Family, Mission Australia, Brotherhood of St Laurence, ACOSS, Public Education Foundation, Anglicare and others.
As debate rages around Julia Gillard’s proposed National Plan for School Improvement, the NGO Leaders are urging COAG members to step up and see the issue through to resolution.
“This cannot go on any longer. We cannot lose sight of what’s at stake here – the students and their future,” Director of FYA’s Centre for New Public Education, Ricky Campbell-Allen, said.
“Failure to act will see hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged young people let down.”
Meeting on the third anniversary of the announcement of the Review of School Funding, the group was joined by Kathryn Greiner AO, expert panel member of the Gonski Review.
“The Prime Minister’s announcement of the acceptance of the Gonski funding model for education in Australia is akin to the nation building time of the Snowy River scheme,” Greiner said.
“The question Australians need to ask themselves is ‘Can we afford not to have the Gonski recommendations implemented?’, and the answer, simply, is no.”
According to recent data from the Australian Early Development Index (AEDI), one in five Australian children are developmentally vulnerable when they start school. The relationship between Australian children’s low socioeconomic backgrounds and their educational outcomes is stronger than in other high performing OECD countries.
“All Australian Governments have a commitment to supporting young people to realise their full potential,” The Smith Family chief executive, Dr Lisa Smith, said.
“Currently, significant numbers of young Australians, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, are not achieving key educational outcomes.”