The Australian Education Union will today launch another assault in its war on the federal government's schools funding arrangements.
The union will unleash a blitz of advertising and public relations stunts to try to sway the government before the release of the eagerly anticipated Gonski review into school funding.
A national AEU-commissioned poll, also to be released today, shows most Australians believe investing in public schools to reduce class sizes should be the government's top priority.
Meanwhile, 70per cent said most or all of any new school funding should go to the government sector. The survey of more than 4000 Australians mirrors research conducted last year that showed about 70 per cent believed the federal government was directing too much money to private schools and not enough to public schools. And it shows public opinion is with the union.
Last year's research showed two-thirds of Australians believed most or all new federal funding should go to government schools. This year 70 per cent agreed with that proposition.
There is growing anticipation in the sector about the long-awaited Gonski review into schools funding, expected to be published next week.
The review, being led by businessman David Gonski, has considered about 7000 submissions about the levels of government funding flowing to government and non-government schools.
But the research commissioned by the union shows almost three-quarters of Australians believe the federal government is not investing enough in public education, while 55per cent say investing more in public schools to reduce class sizes and provide more attention to each student should be the government's first priority.
Nobel Prize laureate and University of Melbourne professor Peter Doherty issued a statement of support for the cause, saying it was no coincidence that European, Scandinavian and Asian countries with strong records of technological excellence boasted strong public school systems.
''Those nations like Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, and the Scandinavian countries that have a strong record of technological excellence and development relative to their population size all boast strong, public year 1-12 education systems,'' Professor Doherty said.
''If we are to tap the talents of all our young people it is clear that we must allocate a much higher level of resources to our under-resourced state school systems. A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Australia cannot afford to waste a single good mind.''