What My School Really Says About Our Schools

The following article is a summary of a new report called School Daze by Chris Bonnor and Bernie Shepherd.

Australia’s schools are very diverse, if only because of where they are and who they serve. Educational diversity is something to value, but we also have a social diversity, in fact a socio-educational hierarchy of schools which is serving some people more than others – and not serving the nation at all well.

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School Myths Busted

In the wake of the latest version of My School two researchers have published a startling account of what the numbers behind the website actually show. Former school principals Chris Bonnor and Bernie Shepherd have revealed new findings which challenge myths about Australia’s schools.

While reports are frequently about the ‘drift to the private schools’ Bonnor and Shepherd have found that the drift could be equally seen as one from low socio-educational advantage (SEA) schools to higher SEA schools. As recently reported on Lateline, they show that enrolments are increasing in higher SEA government schools, but declining in low SEA government schools.

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Money can’t buy you love but can it buy you a better education?

The following article is a summary of a new analysis of public and private school Victorian Certificate of Education results and their comparative funding levels by Dr. David Zyngier, Senior Lecturer in Curriculum & Pedagogy, Faculty of Education, Monash University. 

It is often claimed as fact that private schools outperform public schools. New analysis of MySchool data and 2015 Victorian Certificate of Education year 12 results by Dr David Zyngier of Monash University Education Faculty shows that public schools and private schools with similar Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage (ICSEA) rankings have very similar VCE results. However, public schools achieve these results with far less funding.

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Media Release: New Figures Show that Government Funding Has Massively Favoured Private Schools

Updated school funding figures published today by Save Our Schools show that government funding per student in private schools has far outstripped that for public schools over the past 15 years. SOS National Convenor, Trevor Cobbold, said that increases in government funding for many elite private schools has far exceeded that for many disadvantaged public schools.

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The Increasing Ethnic Divide Between Schools Undermines Multiculturalism

A new study has documented increasing social and cultural polarisation within the public school system. Not only are middle-class parents opting out of local public schools in favour of private schools, but they are also opting out of some public schools in favour of others. The study shows that the increasing divide is undermining multiculturalism.

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Media Release: Govt. Could Easily Fund Gonski Plan

An analysis published today by Save Our Schools (SOS) shows that the Federal Government has a potential revenue pool of at least $34 billion a year to finance the $7 billion needed to fund the last two years of the Gonski plan. 

SOS National Convenor, Trevor Cobbold, said that the Government could easily fund Gonski by reducing several tax concessions to high income earners and by clamping down on rampant tax evasion by high income earners and large Australian and multinational corporations.

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Government Could Easily Fund Gonski Plan

An analysis published today by Save Our Schools (SOS) shows that the Federal Government has a potential revenue pool of at least $34 billion a year to finance the $7 billion needed to fund the last two years of the Gonski plan.

SOS National Convenor, Trevor Cobbold, said that the Government could easily fund Gonski by reducing several tax concessions to high income earners and by clamping down on rampant tax evasion by high income earners and large Australian and multinational corporations. Continue reading “Government Could Easily Fund Gonski Plan”

Closed for Learning: The Impact of School Closures on Students and Communities

Closing public schools not only has a negative impact on student performance but also creates hardship for communities already struggling with disinvestment. The Stanford Centre for Opportunity Policy in Education, the Journey for Justice Alliance, and the Advancement Project sponsored a forum in December entitled “Closed for Learning: The Impact of School Closures” to brief members of the US Congress on the impact of community school closures in low-income neighbourhoods. The following is a brief prepared for the forum.

From the onset, the U.S. public education system has been wrought with challenges. It has never been a perfect system. Yet, for the past 15 years, the education reform movement has exploded – backed by investors and philanthropists that have sought to privatize education by capitalizing on our flawed accountability system and its over-reliance on high-stakes testing, high-stakes teacher evaluations, and high-stakes grading of schools.

Today, the interests of children of colour are being sidelined by the interests of philanthropists, hedge fund owners, and venture capitalists with their sights set on public education dollars and investments in inner-city neighbourhoods. The result has been massive takeovers of school districts and school closures across the country, particularly in Black and Brown neighbourhoods, which studies have found do not actually improve the academic futures of the displaced students they propose to help.

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Technology is No Game-Changer in the Classroom

Technology will revolutionize the classroom! I have been hearing these promises for most of my 20 year physics teaching career and yet there is scant high quality evidence for it. Cyber schools show little learning. The OECD found “no appreciable improvement in student achievement” with large scale investments in computer technology. Computer technology seems like such a natural fit in the classroom. Why has it not been the game changer that it should be?

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Reflections on Teaching: The Craft of Teaching

School teaching is a craft. A school teacher is an adult in a room full of children and the task is to look after the children, supervise their social behaviour, and give them skills and knowledge.

When I use the word ‘craft’, I don’t mean making things out of seashells. I mean an activity that involves using skill to achieve a practical end. You learn how to teach by doing it. Parenting skills are probably the most valuable skills to have. There are many teaching methods and every teaching situation is different, so a teacher needs to have many techniques and must constantly be thinking about which ones to use.

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