The following is a summary of a submission to the
Independent Inquiry on the Teaching Profession in NSW Public Schools. The full
submission can be downloaded below.
The NSW public education system has undergone a huge expansion
in bureaucracy since 2003. There was a massive increase in administrative staff
in schools and in central and regional offices that is many times greater than the
increase in students. Yet, there was only a very small increase in inflation-adjusted
funding per student despite a large increase in disadvantaged students. Expanding
the bureaucracy was prioritised over funding classroom learning and support. As
one former principal told Save Our Schools, it reflects an “increase in roles
orchestrating compliance not teaching, learning and curriculum”.
Continue reading “Funding, Enrolments and Staffing in NSW Public Schools”
The US public school advocacy organisation Public Funds, Public Schools has published a review of recent studies of vouchers in the US. The studies show that private school vouchers have not improved student achievement and have multiple negative effects including exacerbating social segregation in schools. The findings on student achievement are reproduced below. The full review is available here.
Continue reading “Private School Vouchers Don’t Improve Student Achievement”
The following letter was published in the Washington Post yesterday. It has particular relevance because of similar claims from private schools in Australia for a taxpayer bailout.
I was disappointed to learn from the
May 6 Metro article “D.C. prep schools keep
federal loans” that many of the area’s private schools are being
bailed out with taxpayer money. Sidwell Friends School, with only about 1,100
students, received $5 million in bailout money while charging $45,000 in
tuition. If elite private schools cannot keep themselves afloat with that kind
of revenue coming in, then those institutions deserve to go belly up and their
students sent to D.C.-area public schools, where they can get a comparable, if
not superior, education.
These private schools should not be
allowed to be bailed out when our public schools are scrambling to redo their
budgets and our underpaid public school teachers face potential furloughs.
Meanwhile, the largest school district in our area, Fairfax County Public Schools, educates more
than 188,000 students and employs more than 24,000 people. FCPS and other
D.C.-area public schools graduate some of the best talent in the world, while
charging not a cent in tuition.
Districts such as FCPS are mainstays
of the local economy that provide priceless value to local communities through
education and support. Small, endowment-rich private schools have no business
receiving our taxpayer dollars while public school systems around the nation
get left behind.
The US National Education Policy Center and the Education Deans for Justice and Equity have jointly released a Policy Statement on the “Science of Reading”. It is reprinted here in the interests of promoting rational debate.
For the past few years, a wave of media has reignited the unproductive Reading Wars, which frame early-literacy teaching as a battle between opposing camps. This coverage speaks of an established “science of reading” as the appropriate focus of teacher education programs and as the necessary approach for early-reading instruction. Unfortunately, this media coverage has distorted the research evidence on the teaching of reading, with the result that policymakers are now promoting and implementing policy based on misinformation.
Continue reading “Statement on the “Science of Reading” from US Think Tank”
Larry Cuban, Emeritus Professor of Education at Stanford
University, recently drew on his extensive study of technology in education
over many years to draw some key lessons about the use of technology in the
classroom. The following are extracts from his article which is available on his
Continue reading “Lessons Learned From Technology in the Classroom”
The following is a press release issued by the Save Our Schools – No Transition Group in Shepparton, Victoria. It shows that the Shepparton schools merger plan was not formally agreed by all four school councils as required by the School Merger Guidelines.
We have evidence that the Shepparton Education Plan was not formally agreed to by all four school
councils as required by School Merger
Guidelines, prior to the announcement on
19 April, 2018, by Education Minister, James Merlino, that it would proceed.
Despite a requirement that the
motion to accept the model proposed by the Strategic Advisory Committee be
passed at a properly constituted meeting with a quorum, it appears that the
motion was not passed in accordance with School Merger Guidelines and School
An FOI request written in September, 2019 requesting written
advice to the Minister as required by School Merger Guidelines that all four
councils had voted on the plan at a meet ing with a quorum has been completed
and together with existing evidence appears to confirm that two of the four
schools did not pass the motion to
accept the recommendation of the
Strategic Advisory Committee of one school
on one site, based on the schools
within a school model, before the announcement in April 2018. It was not voted
on until months later when it was finally carried.
information is that three of the four schools did not pass the motion prior to
the announcement and it was never voted on by one and later ratified by two.
In fairness to
all concerned parties, this plan needs to be halted until this issue has been investigated
and satisfactorily addressed with adequate consultation with the families of
Greater Shepparton as requested at a public meeting in August, 2019.
The following is a letter by a member of the Stop Shepparton Super-School group in response to a refusal by the local Independent MP, Suzanna Sheed, to discuss the super-school proposal.
The Executive Committee of Save Our Schools No Transition in Shepparton has been trying for months to obtain a meeting with our local Independent MP, Suzanna Sheed, in order to present to her the reasons and concerns of members of the community that are against having one huge super school in Shepparton with no choice for schooling and poor communication about its planning.
We have been aggressively refused a meeting with Ms. Sheed. She needs to remember that she was elected to represent her constituents.
Continue reading “Local MP Refuses to Discuss Shepparton Super-School”
We have been fighting
hard for over six months to have our voice heard on the merger of four Greater
Shepparton secondary schools into one school of 2,700 to 3,000 students. We
have met a stony wall of silence. We have been told ‘You need to get on board
for your children’s sake, during this difficult time of transition.’ Frankly,
if one more educator, politician or mayor says that sentence again, we might
The decision to
amalgamate the four schools was made during September/October in 2017. The
so-called ‘community consultation’ involved only an online survey and two
workshops held in Mooroopna and Shepparton on the same day, that families of
secondary students could attend. The consultation was not advertised either in
time or adequately for parents to take part in.
Continue reading “Stop the Shepparton Super-School”
The following is an open letter to Victorian politicians and education department officials from a member of the Shepparton community.
I am concerned about the lack of evidence to back the Victorian Education Department’s claims that the super school is the best option for education in Shepparton. Studies have shown that large schools do not improve academic outcomes and small schools perform better in academic outcomes, discipline, mental health and safety. In the USA and UK large schools have been made into smaller ones. Studies show smaller schools graduate a larger proportion of their students than do large schools. Schools with populations of diverse or disadvantaged backgrounds should be limited to 600 or fewer students. Schools with advantaged students should be capped at about 1000 students.
Continue reading “Shepparton Community Continues the Fight Against Super School”
Finland has been in the spotlight of the education
world since it appeared, against all odds, on the top of the rankings of an
international test known as PISA, the Program for
International Student Assessment, in the early 2000s. Tens of thousands
visitors have traveled to the country to see how to improve their own schools.
Hundreds of articles have been written to explain why Finnish education is so
marvelous — or sometimes that it isn’t. Millions of tweets have been shared and
read, often leading to debates about the real nature of Finland’s schools and
about teaching and learning there.
We have learned a lot about why some education
systems — such as Alberta, Ontario, Japan and Finland — perform better year
after year than others in terms of quality and equity of student outcomes. We
also understand now better why some other education systems — for example,
England, Australia, the United States and Sweden — have not been able to
improve their school systems regardless of politicians’ promises, large-scale
reforms and truckloads of money spent on haphazard efforts to change schools
during the past two decades.
Continue reading “What is really going on in Finland’s school reform?”