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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Case Studies in Consultation Failure on School Closures by the NSW Department of Education

The report by the NSW Legislative Council Select Committee on the closure of public schools in NSW is a damning exposure of the failure of the NSW Department of Education to seriously consult about proposed closures. The report includes the following three case studies.

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NSW Govt Conducted a War Against Small Rural Schools

The NSW Legislative Council report on the closure of public schools shows that the Department of Education conducted a war against small rural schools. Some 36 public schools have been closed under the Baird Government.

The following is a media release on the report by NSW Greens MP, John Kaye.

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Submission to NSW Legislative Council Inquiry into the Closure of Public Schools in New South Wales

The arguments for closing and amalgamating schools are based primarily on two presumed benefits: financial savings and better student achievement. However, these claims generally turn out to be over-simplifications when the full evidence is analysed.

In considering potential closure of schools, governments should carefully analyse the educational, financial and social impact on students, their families and the general school community. Governments frequently fail to fully investigate these impacts before closing schools.

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Media Release: Funding for Public Schools Down, Funding for Private Schools Up

New figures show that, adjusted for inflation, government funding for private schools has increased since 2009, while funding for public schools has been cut. National Convenor of Save Our Schools, Trevor Cobbold, said that the new figures reveal the disastrous state of funding for public schools.

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P-TECH Schools Are Unproven and Threaten Public Education

Save Our Schools today called for public consultation and scrutiny of the P-TECH schools proposed for Ballarat and Geelong and sponsored by the giant IT multinational IBM. SOS National Convenor, Trevor Cobbold, said that P-TECH schools are unproven and threaten public education.

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