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.

Continue reading “Media Release: Funding for Public Schools Down, Funding for Private Schools Up”

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.

Continue reading “P-TECH Schools Are Unproven and Threaten Public Education”

A Teacher’s Comment on NAPLAN

Earlier this week the ABC’s Life Matters program ran a segment on parents taking their children out of the NAPLAN tests. It generated considerable discussion. A listener who is a teacher sent SOS this response to the program.

School leaders and systems do use NAPLAN and recognise NAPLAN because it has now become the universal measure across the country because of its official status as a measure and not because it is valuable per se. It would be a concern if teachers relied on NAPLAN as a diagnostic tool and only relied on NAPLAN given the time lag between the test and the results. Good teachers are constantly assessing students in a number of ways but do not rely on a single standardised test but involve students in continual modes of improvement. Testing is not part of life, it is part of school life. How often does anyone who goes to work have to sit an exam to prove that they are learning, that they are doing their job, and demonstrating all they know in an hour or two? We would say as adults that would be unreasonable. Performance evaluation at work relies on continuous practice. Continue reading “A Teacher’s Comment on NAPLAN”

How Good is My School?

It is a sad fact, but true, that in Australia a student’s background greatly influences how well they will do at school. Whether their parents went to university, work as professionals, or whether they live in a rural area or are indigenous, all help to predict a student’s performance. And more so in Australia than in many other countries. Continue reading “How Good is My School?”

Open Letter on Testing by Diane Ravitch

The US Senate is currently conducting hearings on the future of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation introduced by President George Bush Jnr. The hearings have focused first on the federally mandated testing regime for all US children in grades 3-8. The critical issue is whether there is too much testing in US schools. A huge opt-out movement against testing has developed. A key leader of the movement is Diane Ravitch a former Assistant Secretary of Education under President George Bush Snr. The Secretary of Education at the time was Lamar Alexander, now a Senator who is chairing the Senate committee hearings on the NCLB. Diane Ravitch has written the following open letter to the Senator calling on him to drop annual standardised testing in schools. Continue reading “Open Letter on Testing by Diane Ravitch”

UN Report Condemns Privatisation of Education

A report presented to the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week condemned the worldwide trend to privatisation of education. The report warns that the rapid expansion of private education is increasingly replacing public education and exacerbating inequalities in societies. Continue reading “UN Report Condemns Privatisation of Education”

The Evidence Does Not “Stack-up” for Independent Public Schools

This is an edited version of the negative case made by Professor Alan Reid of the University of South Australia in a debate with Kevin Donnelly about independent public schools held at the Australian Curriculum Studies Association Symposium in Canberra on Friday August 1, 2014. The full presentation is available below.

I argue that the idea of public schools being ‘independent’ is philosophically at odds with what lies at the core of public education and that IPS is a policy in search of evidence. Continue reading “The Evidence Does Not “Stack-up” for Independent Public Schools”