The Facts About School Funding in Australia

This is a summary of a new Education Research Paper published by Save Our Schools. It can be downloaded below.

New figures show that total government funding per student in public schools adjusted for inflation (“real funding”) was cut between 2009 and 2017 while funding for Catholic and Independent schools increased massively. Even during the Gonski funding period of 2013-2017 the funding increase for private schools was over three times the increase for public schools.

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More Studies Show That Money Really Does Matter in Education

Three new US studies have found that increasing funding for disadvantaged students increases school results. They bring to 21 the number of studies in the last five years showing that funding increases targeted at disadvantaged students improves achievement. This is a remarkable degree of unanimity amongst education economists. Even notorious sceptics of the worth of increasing school spending such as Professor Eric Hanushek from Stanford University (USA) and The Economist magazine have been forced to concede that money matters for disadvantaged students.

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School Choice Increases Social Segregation and Inequity in Education

A new OECD report, Balancing School Choice and Equity, shows that school choice policies have increased social and academic segregation between schools which, in turn, reduced equity in education. Australia is a prime example of the impact of choice on social segregation. School choice has been at the centre of education policy for the last 20 or more years. Australia now has one of the most socially and academically segregated school systems in the OECD and has highly inequitable education outcomes.

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On the Definition of Equity in Education

The Gonski Institute for Education recently published a valuable paper on equity in education titled Improving Educational Equity in Australian Education. It discusses what is equity, why equity in education matters and makes recommendations for improving equity in education. However, its definition of equity in education is limited and imprecise. The paper should have adopted the equity definition of the original Gonski report because it offers a more effective guide for education policy and funding.

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The Vast Majority of Disadvantaged Schools are Public Schools

The following is a summary of a new Education Research paper published by Save Our Schools. It can be downloaded below.

Data drawn from the My School website show that school systems in Australia are highly segregated by socio-economic background both nationally and in each state, although the extent of the segregation varies between states.

Highly and medium disadvantaged schools are over-represented in public schools and under-represented in private schools. In contrast, highly and medium advantaged schools are under-represented in public schools and over-represented in private schools.

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New School Facilities Matter for Student Achievement

A paper presented to the annual conference of the American Economic Association in January that examined the largest school construction program ever in the United States found strong evidence that it lead to improvements in test scores, attendance and student effort. It also found that the construction program increased neighbourhood house prices.

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Teacher Unions Benefit Schools and Students

Strong teacher unions are critical to improving equity in school funding according to a new study published in the academic journal Review of Economics and Statistics. They also play a major role in translating funding increases into increases in student achievement.

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Bonuses Increase Retention of High-Quality Teacher and Student Achievement in Disadvantaged Schools

One of the challenges to improving results in highly disadvantaged schools is recruiting and retaining high quality teachers. Disadvantaged schools often have high teacher turnover which impacts on student achievement. A new US study has found that selective retention bonuses for high quality teachers leads to increases in student achievement in high poverty schools.

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A Public Inquiry into ACT School Results Is Long Overdue

An ACT Legislative Assembly Committee report on student test results has re-ignited the controversy over school performance. It draws on several reports showing under-performance in comparison with other states and recommends a public inquiry into the causes.

A full public inquiry is even more necessary than suggested by the Committee. It is needed to address the poor results of disadvantaged students and high inequity in outcomes between rich and poor as well as general under-performance relative to the ACT’s demographic characteristics.

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