What NAPLAN Test Prep Has in Common With Trains Skipping Stations

An interesting article was published in The Age last week about Metro Trains, the privately-owned operator of Melbourne’s suburban rail network. Apparently, Metro has resorted to skipping stations and running unscheduled short services in order to avoid being fined for trains running late. Continue reading “What NAPLAN Test Prep Has in Common With Trains Skipping Stations”

The Parent Factor in Education

A new OECD study shows that parental involvement in education is pivotal for the success of children throughout their school years and beyond. It says that being involved in their child’s education is the most important investment a parent can make.

It shows that many types of parental involvement are associated with better student performance, including reading books to young children, talking with adolescents and involvement in school. Even just reading at home benefits children, because it shows them that reading is something that their parents value.

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School Kids Bonus is Money for Anything But Education

The Government’s new school kids bonus grant to families to replace the tax rebate on education expenses is an education payment in name only. There is no requirement that it be spent on education-related expenses. It can be spent on anything. It could all be put into poker machines for all we know.

It will have no impact on student outcomes. The Government might just as well drop the money from a helicopter for all the impact it will have on education.

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ACARA Ignores Evidence on Teaching to the Test

Barry McGaw, chairman of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), says that claims that NAPLAN is creating test-driven schooling are “nonsense” (The Age, 7 May 2012). Yet, the national education ministers’ council is so concerned about excessive test preparation and the narrowing of the curriculum that it recently commissioned ACARA to investigate and report on it. Continue reading “ACARA Ignores Evidence on Teaching to the Test”

High SES Catholic Schools are Over-Funded

A new research paper published by Save Our Schools shows that virtually all high SES Catholic combined and secondary schools in Australia are over-funded compared to what they are entitled to according to their socio-economic capacity. Their actual funding per student is higher than the funding rate that applies to their SES score. Other private schools on the same SES scores get much less funding.

The paper challenges claims by Catholic education authorities that they re-distribute funds from high income to disadvantaged Catholic schools. It shows that these claims are misleading and untrue in many cases when actual Federal funding figures on My School are analysed.

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Gillard Should Go it Alone on Gonski

The Prime Minister’s pointed and repeated refusal to commit, even in principle or in part, to taking up the recommendation of the Gonski review to boost school funding leaves government schools very vulnerable to getting little out of the review. Yet, over-funded private schools will continue to be guaranteed their privileged funding, and many private schools may get even more as the Government goes into an election year. Continue reading “Gillard Should Go it Alone on Gonski”

Just How Independent was the Gonski Review?

A puzzling aspect of the Gonski review of school funding is its adherence to the Government’s stated policy that no school would lose a dollar of funding as a result of the review and the apparent absence of this instruction from the terms of reference of the inquiry. Continue reading “Just How Independent was the Gonski Review?”

Gonski Review Should Terminate Funding Bonanza for the Wealthy

The SES funding model is providing millions and millions of dollars in over-funding to many of Melbourne’s more privileged families and schools. In 2011, 20 primary and secondary schools in high income suburbs were over-funded by $43 million (see table below).

Total Federal Government funding for these schools was nearly double what they were entitled to under the SES scheme. Under the scheme they were only entitled to $48.7 million, but instead they got $91.8 million.

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Fund Disadvantaged Students and Everyone Benefits

The latest national literacy and numeracy results (NAPLAN) show that government education policies have had little to no impact on student achievement in Australia since 2008. There has been virtually no change in overall average results, in the results of disadvantaged students and in the large gaps between the results of disadvantaged and advantaged students. Governments are failing disadvantaged students and their families.

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