Birmingham’s Unscrupulous Duplicities on School Funding

There was much wringing of hands at the stagnation in Australia’s literacy and numeracy results revealed by the latest NAPLAN data. A critical factor behind the stagnation is the continuing failure of governments to spend money where it is most needed and will do most good. Since 2009, funding increases have been misdirected to the school sectors least in need while funding has been cut to public schools which serve the overwhelming proportion of disadvantaged students.

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NAPLAN Results Show That the ACT Government Has Dropped the Ball on Education

The new NAPLAN results for the ACT are a condemnation of Government inaction on school education. They show that the ACT school system continues to underperform despite its advantaged population. The continuing poor results give cause for a serious review of ACT school performance – public and private.

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Ending Federal Funding of Public Education is Still on the Agenda

At the end of last month, the Prime Minister floated the idea that the Federal Government withdraw from funding public education as part of a proposal to allow the states to levy income taxes. The idea had a short life because at a meeting of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) on the following day, the states rejected levying their own income taxes. A few days later, the Prime Minister said that he is “totally committed” to funding public schools while the Minister for Education, Simon Birmingham, said that the “Turnbull Government is not abandoning schools or public education and has never proposed doing so”.

These statements are highly misleading. COAG has decided to consider an alternative proposal that will have the same effect of ending targeted federal government funding of public education. The Prime Minister and his Education Minister are flagrantly misleading the public in the lead up to the election. It is a sleight of hand that ranks with Tony Abbott’s and Christopher Pyne’s 2013 pre-election big lie that the Coalition was on a “unity ticket” with Labor on school funding. Continue reading “Ending Federal Funding of Public Education is Still on the Agenda”

NAPLAN Report Shows Little Progress in Reducing Inequity in Education

This is a summary of a new SOS research brief. The full version can be downloaded below

The national report on the NAPLAN results for 2015 published last December shows continuing large inequities in education in Australia. Large proportions of disadvantaged students are not achieving national standards in literacy and numeracy and there are large achievement gaps between disadvantaged and advantaged students, most of which have not changed since 2008 and some have increased. Continue reading “NAPLAN Report Shows Little Progress in Reducing Inequity in Education”

Study Shows that Funding Increases for Disadvantaged Schools Boosts Results

A path-breaking study published by the US National Bureau of Economic Research shows conclusively that school finance reforms over the last 25 years succeeded in lifting the results of disadvantaged students. It concludes that “money can and does matter in education” [p. 35].

The study shows the reforms led to larger increases in funding for low income school districts than for high income districts and that this increased the absolute and relative achievement of students in low income districts. It adds to the weight of evidence supporting the full implementation of the Gonski school funding plan.

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Can We Afford Gonski?

This article is a summary of a speech delivered by the National Convenor of Save Our Schools, Trevor Cobbold, to a state-wide meeting of the Meeting of the Victorian Association of State Secondary School Principals on the 11 March. A much expanded and fully referenced version of the speech can be downloaded below

The Turnbull Government claims that we cannot afford the $7 million funding originally planned for the last two years of the Gonksi plan initiated by the previous Labor Government. Labor and the Greens appear to agree, because they both now only commit to a much reduced level of funding for the last two years.

Australia is a low tax country and the Government has a massive potential revenue pool from which to fund Gonski by reducing tax expenditures and clamping down on the use of overseas tax havens by wealthy individuals and corporations.

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NSW Government Agrees to Reform School Closure Procedures

The NSW Minister for Education, Adrian Piccoli, has accepted the recommendations of a Parliamentary committee report to improve the consultation process on proposed school closures. The report had slammed the approach by the Department of Education to closing schools as “heavy handed”, ignoring the views of parents and local communities of small schools and failing to provide evidence on the relationship between education outcomes and small schools.

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Victorian Catholic Education Commission Favours High SES Schools in Funding Allocations

The Catholic Education Commission of Victoria (CECV) is failing to direct state government funding to students most in need according to a new report by the Victorian Auditor-General. The report shows that the CECV is directing state government funding away from the lower socio-economic status schools to schools with a higher socio-economic status. There is also evidence that Catholic education authorities are favouring high SES schools in re-allocating Commonwealth funding.

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OECD Report Highlights Education Inequity in Australia

A new OECD report shows that a significant proportion of Australian students are not achieving expected standards in mathematics, reading and science. It shows that low performance is strongly associated with the socio-economic status (SES) of students’ families and schools. It also shows that the incidence of teacher shortage and lower quality educational resources is higher in schools with a high proportion of low achieving students. It says that additional resources and a multi-pronged approach are needed to address low performance.

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Reversing the Flight to Private Schools Depends on Reforming Australia’s Incoherent and Unfair Funding System

New school enrolment data show that the long-term shift of students to private schools has stopped in recent years. But, whether it will be sustained is uncertain given school funding trends that massively favour private schools.

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