AS the federal election campaign moves into its second month, local candidates have turned their interest to education within the electorate. While education is largely state-funded and managed, the Federal Government engages states, territories and non-government education providers with the aim of providing quality early learning, schooling and transitions to and from school through parent engagement and quality teaching.
Banjup Primary School and Hammond Park High School are new schools planned in the Cockburn area between now and 2020, as well as the amalgamation of South Fremantle and Hamilton Hill High Schools going ahead next year.
However, our existing schools are sorely underfunded.
I hear of teachers having to pay out of their own pocket for classroom supplies and pressure on parents to raise funds for educational activities. The Turnbull Government has abandoned the Gonski funding reform, which means less federal funds for the students who need it most.
The Greens are committed to the full funding of the Gonski reforms and have announced along with this a much-needed $4.8 billion investment in students with disability over the next four years. The Greens have announced our Innovation Nation policy, which includes $678.9 million over four years to increase STEM uptake in schools and universities. This includes STEM professional development for primary school teachers, incentives for high school graduates to take STEM courses at university and national rollout of curriculum and hubs for innovation and entrepreneurial skills.
We need to prepare our kids for the jobs of the future and there will be a growing number of jobs and opportunities in STEM as we take action to address climate change and transition to a clean economy.
Every child should have access to high quality education, and to achieve this funding should be allocated according to need.
The Greens fully support the Gonksi funding recommendations and this should be a priority for government.
The Gonski reforms provide a blueprint to move away from divisive debates about public versus private schooling, and provide funding on the basis of need. Our public schools should set the standard for excellence in education.
While it is the WA Government that determines when and where to construct new schools, it is clear that all schools will get less federal funding under a Turnbull government.
Indeed, there will be $155 million less for Fremantle electorate schools under a Turnbull Coalition government, which means our kids will not get the support needed to ensure a fair and high-quality education.
The impact of this approach is even worse in a growing community like Fremantle.
A Shorten Labor Government will encourage STEM graduates to become teachers by investing $393 million to create 25,000 Teach STEM scholarships over the next five years.
Labor will also set a clear target so that by 2020 all secondary science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) teachers will have a specific qualification in their discipline.
This is a critical measure if we are to ensure that Australian kids are equipped to participate fully in the opportunities for high-skill jobs in the 21st century, especially in a place such as Fremantle which has a tradition of invention and innovation. SEAT OF FREMANTLE
The key is to move forward with Labor's plan to introduce needs-based funding so that schools and students receive resources according to their educational needs.
This will deliver greater fairness and it means that when kids excel or struggle there is support to extend them or help them catch-up.
Education is the foundation of Australia's social and economic wellbeing and will determine our future productivity and engagement in the AsiaPacific.
We need a government that understands and values education, and that's why we need a Shorten Labor government
3. Should Federal Government funding per student be more equitably split between private and public