The Battle Over New Orleans Charter Schools

In the weeks around the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina at the end August, there was a veritable storm of reports and comments disputing the outcomes of the re-organisation of the New Orleans public school system following the hurricane. The heart of the issue was the effects from turning New Orleans into virtually an all-charter school city.

New Orleans is the biggest charter school experiment in the United States. Its proponents claim it has boosted student results and have put it forward as a model for other jurisdictions to follow. Others vehemently reject the claims.

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Unequal Access to Curriculum is Widening Achievement Gaps in Schools

A new study has found that there is a vast gap between rich and poor in the opportunity to learn rigorous mathematics in Australia’s schools. Unequal access to the maths curriculum in Australia is amongst the highest in the OECD. The study also found that unequal access to the maths curriculum is a major factor behind the large achievement gap in mathematics between rich and poor.

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Preschool Education Has Major Benefits

A comprehensive new review of research on the impact of early childhood education in Australia and overseas shows that universal access to preschool education enhances developmental outcomes for all children, particularly for disadvantaged children.  The review was published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

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Victorian Private Schools Get Funding Windfall from Andrews Government

Victorian private schools will receive a hidden windfall dividend of nearly $200 million following the recent announcement of the Labor Government to increase funding for public schools by $747 million over four years. The windfall would be better spent on public schools which enrol the vast proportion of disadvantaged students in the state.

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Australia’s Heavy Investment in Computers in Schools Has Not Paid Off

Australia’s heavy investment in computer-based technology in schools has failed to improve student performance in reading, mathematics and science according to a new report published by the OECD last week. Australian students are very high users of computer technology at school and at home, but this has not translated into learning improvements. The high expectations for new technology in schools have not been realised. 

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New Opportunity for Bi-Partisan Support for Gonski Funding

The election of Malcolm Turnbull as Prime Minister is an auspicious occasion for education funding. It offers the opportunity to redress the sabotage of the Gonski funding plan by Abbott Government. It offers a last chance for bi-partisan support for Gonski. The opportunity should be seized by the new Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader.

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Growing Social Segregation in Australia’s Schools

Social segregation in Australian schools is increasing according to a research paper published last month. It says that schools are becoming more segregated in terms of both class and ethnicity and it has serious implications equity in education and for multiculturalism and social cohesion.

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Completing Secondary School Increases Employment Prospects

New OECD data shows that Australia has made spectacular progress in the last 30 years in reducing the percentage of adults who do not complete secondary school. It shows that the percentage of low educated adults dropped by nearly three times, from 39 to 14 per cent.

However, the new data also shows that further improvement is necessary. A significant percentage of young people leave school before completing Year 12 and they are twice as likely to have low numeracy scores and to be unemployed as those who complete secondary school. Continue reading “Completing Secondary School Increases Employment Prospects”

For-profit Schools Have a Bad Record

David Leyonhjelm, Liberal Democrats senator for NSW, wants to introduce for-profit schools in Australia. It would be a huge mistake.

For-profit schools have a very bad record. They have failed to provide better student outcomes than other schools and often deliver worse results. Many have gone bankrupt leaving students in limbo and facing massive debts.

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Dropping Out of School is Deadly

A large proportion of Australian students do not complete Year 12. According to the Productivity Commission’s Report on Government Services 2015, 26 per cent of the potential Year 12 population did not complete Year 12 in 2013 and 32 per cent of low SES students did not complete the final year of school. New research shows that not completing Year 12 is a deadly decision.

The research, published last week in the scientific and medical journal PLOS ONE, found that completion of high school leads to lower levels of mortality and that not completing school may be as deadly as smoking.

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