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					      Election 2007: Five education
      questions to ask before voting


    Lutheran Education Australia invites members of its school communities to consider the following five questions about the
    funding of education as they approach the important responsibility of casting their vote:

    1.       Is there a commitment to increase the funds spent on the education of all Australian children?
    2.       Is there a commitment to stable, transparent funding arrangements for children in the non-government sector?
    3.       Have areas of specific need in education been addressed? In particular, funding of students with disabilities,
             Indigenous education, students in rural and remote areas, primary schools and early childhood education
    4.       Do policy announcements promote equity in education, with those in greatest need receiving the greatest increase,
             thus enabling our schools to remain affordable?
    5.       Do the new initiatives for education that have been announced in the campaign contribute to the issues raised in the
             first four questions?

    Where appropriate, people are encouraged to raise these issues with their local candidates.

    Policy announcements arising from the recent campaign launches

    Coalition
           Tax rebate of $400 per annum (pa) for each                           ALP
            child (pc) at primary school or preschool and                                  Tax rebate for families receiving Family Tax
            $800 pa pc at secondary school – for                                            Benefit (Part A), for 50% of the cost of
            educational expenses, including fees                                            educational technology purchases and text
           Tax rebate for the year prior to                                                books up to $375 pa pc primary and $750 pa
            commencement of formal schooling of up to                                       pc secondary.
            $400 pa pc, and continuation of the 30% Child                                  Increased Child Care Tax Rebate from 30% to
            Care Tax Rebate up to $4354 pa pc – for out of                                  50%, up to $7500 pa pc
            pocket expenses                                                                Up to $1 million per secondary school, for
           Development of a national curriculum in key                                     information and communications technology
            subjects using experts appointed by the                                         (ICT) equipment so that every student in years
            minister (this is a policy change)                                              9-12 has access to their own computer
                                                                                           Fast, reliable broadband access for all schools
                                                                                           Development of a national curriculum by a
                                                                                            national curriculum body that incorporates all
                                                                                            sectors
    Commentary
    Lutheran Education Australia welcomes the Coalition announcement to provide tax breaks for parents of all students as it
    supports the value of choice in schooling, but would have preferred that access to this rebate was means tested so that those
    in greatest need receive the greatest benefit.

    The ALP’s announcement of initiatives to ensure that all schools have fast and reliable internet access is also very welcome.
    Broadband access and ICT have recently been taken up as national LEA priorities. However we argue that computer access
    should be extended to primary school students.

    LEA agrees that a national curriculum needs to be developed by experts, but emphasises that they should be professional
    educators from the full range of sectors through a broad and systematic process of discussion and debate.

    Not withstanding our support for the above initiatives, LEA is concerned that key issues of need do not appear to have been
    addressed by either party:
            Adequate funding of students with disabilities
            Additional funding for primary education
            The education of rural and remote students
            Additional funding for capital development
            Indigenous education
            Raising the status of the teaching profession in order to attract and retain high quality teachers

LEA will take these issues up with the government after the election and press the urgency of addressing them. In addition, the
unique contribution of the Lutheran system of education in the non-government sector of Australian education will be highlighted.
For a more detailed comparison of each party’s policy on educational issues, see the position paper Federal Election 2007:
Comparison of major parties’ policy on LEA issues at http://www.lutheran.edu.au/index.aspx


  This document has been produced by Lutheran Education Australia to explain its position on key national issues. The document is issued by Dr
                                     Adrienne Jericho, Executive Director, Lutheran Education Australia
                                          197 Archer Street, North Adelaide, South Australia 5006
                                                      lea@lca.org.au November 2007

				
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