A Mother’s Plea to the Prime Minister on NAPLAN

Dear Prime Minister,
I have a six year old son. He loves dinosaurs, and is currently obsessed with a Praying Mantis he found in the back yard. Like most kids, he is funny, exhaustingly active and has a mind like a sponge, soaking up learning in a fun and imaginative journey.

When he is old enough (and if it is still around), he will not be taking part in the Naplan testing and I will do anything I can to inform other parents about the limitations of this testing. Continue reading “A Mother’s Plea to the Prime Minister on NAPLAN”

Gillard Turns Her Back on the Disadvantaged

The highlight of the Gonski report is its well-founded and important recommendation that Australia needs to spend an additional $5 billion a year on schools, predominantly government schools, so that they can address the issue of disadvantage. When all the figures are finalised, more may be needed, but as the reports says:

Australia must aspire to have a schooling system that is among the best in the world for its quality and equity, and must prioritise support for its lowest performing students. Every child should have access to the best possible education, regardless of where they live, the income of their family or the school they attend. [p. xiv]

The lowlight was that in her response to this vision, the Prime Minister repeatedly and pointedly refused to commit to the additional funding. Instead, she proposed further reviews and community discussions. She did not even promise to provide the funding when the budget was in surplus, as Tony Abbott did when he committed to a dental health care scheme. She simply turned her back on the disadvantaged.

So much for the rhetoric about closing the gap and ensuring that wealth does not determine educational outcomes.

Continue reading “Gillard Turns Her Back on the Disadvantaged”

School Funding Should be Better Directed at Reducing Disadvantage

The following is a summary of a confidential submission to the Gonski Review of School Funding commissioned by state government education departments. It was written by Professor Richard Teese from the University of Melbourne. It says that the Australian school system has become segregated between rich and poor with government funding being spent on supporting school choice rather than reducing the achievement gap between rich and poor.

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C.I.S Funding Model Provides More for Private Schools

A recent report from Jennifer Buckingham and the Centre for Independent Studies (CIS) illustrates how much the debate on schools funding has rightly developed an emphasis on equity goals, creating a good deal of confusion in the private school lobby. Instead of being dominated by the aim of promoting school choice, which led to marked increases for some of the elite private schools under the previous Howard Government and was continued by the Rudd and Gillard Governments, as Buckingham puts it, “it is difficult to justify providing extra public funds to already well-resourced students and schools.” Continue reading “C.I.S Funding Model Provides More for Private Schools”

Parent Engagement Must Not Stop at the Gate

Study after study has shown that student achievement improves when parents play an active role in their child’s education and that good schools become even better schools when parents are involved. It is recognised that parent engagement is a key factor in the enhancement of student achievement and well-being.

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An Alternative Funding Model for Government and Private Schools

It is widely agreed that a new approach to school funding is needed. The Federal Minister for Education says that the SES funding model for private schools has “reached its use-by-date”. Even the major private school lobbies concede that it has had its day, although they still want to retain the privileged funding it gives them.

Save Our Schools has recommended to the Gonski School Funding Review a new model which integrates funding for government and private schools from both federal and state/territory governments. Continue reading “An Alternative Funding Model for Government and Private Schools”

Labor MP Supports Maintaining Public Funding to High-fee Private Schools

Recently elected ACT Labor MP, Andrew Leigh, has declared his support for maintaining current levels of Commonwealth Government funding to high-fee private schools. In response to repeated questions from members of the public at a recent community education forum held in Canberra, the former ANU economist insisted that government support for extreme high-fee private schools is a matter of fairness. Continue reading “Labor MP Supports Maintaining Public Funding to High-fee Private Schools”

Productivity Commission Questioned on School Funding Figures

Dr. Michael Kirby, Head of Office of the Productivity Commission, was questioned at Senate Estimates on disparities between school funding figures published in the Report on Government Services and the National Report on Schooling. The following is a transcript of the questions and answers. Continue reading “Productivity Commission Questioned on School Funding Figures”

Parents’ Effort Key to Child’s Educational Performance

A new study by researchers at the University of Leicester and University of Leeds has concluded that parents’ efforts towards their child’s educational achievement is crucial – playing a more significant role than that of the school or child.

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