Teacher quality is at the top of the list of education issues, according to the federal Shadow Minister for Education.
“Money is not the issue in schools,” Christopher Pyne said during a visit to Bendigo this week.
“Over the last 10 years results have declined while in the same time our spending on schools has increased 44 per cent, so money has gone up while our standards have declined.
“The problem is teacher quality, the curriculum and involvement of parents in schools, and principal autonomy.
“They are the issues we need to address.”
Mr Pyne toured the region, visiting schools in Ballarat and Campbell’s Creek, before attending a small forum at The Capital on Wednesday evening.
That event, attended by about 30 people, was followed by an invitation-only $300-a-head dinner.
Mr Pyne said concerns about funding are causing uncertainty for both government and non-government schools.
He said the Review of Funding for Schooling chaired by David Gonski and delivered in December 2011 is causing “a lot of heartburn”.
“The Gonksi Review is a good body of work, but the problem is the price tag attached which is totally unrealistic,” Mr Pyne said.
“Planning funding around that is like planning your family budget around winning powerball. It simply isn’t going to happen.
“My suspicion is the government will roll over the SES (socio-economic status) funding model for another four years so this will be the third election without a school funding policy, and that is concerning people a great deal.”
Mr Pyne defended the State Government’s cuts to the TAFE sector.
“Obviously this government has had to make some tough decisions and reorder their priorities,” he said.“In straitened economic circumstances, this government has had to live within their means.”