The Tasmanian Government’s Case to Close Schools is Threadbare

The Tasmanian Government is treating the public with contempt over its proposal to close 20 schools. It has provided no evidence to support its case. It has failed to detail the expected savings and it has provided no evidence that closing schools will improve the quality of education.

The school communities affected have been refused critical information to assess the Government’s case and to put their own. The arrogance of the Greens Education Minister, Nick McKim, is unbelievable. When requested to provide the information, he said “look on the Internet”.

It is the Minister’s responsibility to provide this information so the Government’s claims can be properly scrutinised and assessed. This is fundamental for proper public consultation and effective public participation in government decision-making. It is a principle the Greens Party has always supported. Yet, this Greens Minister seems intent on denying school communities this right. Continue reading “The Tasmanian Government’s Case to Close Schools is Threadbare”

The Tasmanian Government’s Case to Close Schools is Threadbare

The Tasmanian Government is treating the public with contempt over its proposal to close 20 schools. It has provided no evidence to support its case. It has failed to detail the expected savings and it has provided no evidence that closing schools will improve the quality of education.

Continue reading “The Tasmanian Government’s Case to Close Schools is Threadbare”

Impact Statements on Tasmanian School Closures are a Farce

The impact statements on school closures issued to school associations by the Tasmanian Minister for Education, Nick McKim, are farcical – they present a one-sided view of the impact of closing schools. They largely amount to a list of benefits of closing schools. They fail to assess the benefits of keeping schools open. They are clearly designed to support the Government’s case.

Continue reading “Impact Statements on Tasmanian School Closures are a Farce”

Disadvantaged Students Get Less Opportunities in Science

A new international study shows that disadvantaged students in Australia are, on average, given less opportunity to learn science at school than students from more affluent families. Disadvantaged 15 year-old students spend over 30 minutes less a week studying science than the average for all other students. This contributes to a large achievement gap in science results between rich and poor students.

Continue reading “Disadvantaged Students Get Less Opportunities in Science”

US National Research Council Fails Test-Based Accountability Programs

A decade or more of test-based accountability programs in the United States has had little to no effect on student achievement according to a report just published by an expert panel of the US National Research Council. The report is a devastating indictment of the focus on testing in US education policy and, by implication, Australian education policy which now closely follows the US model. Continue reading “US National Research Council Fails Test-Based Accountability Programs”

A High School Plan for the Well-Off

The new plan for Canberra’s government secondary schools will provide a second class education for the less well-off. The well-off get more challenging options and pathways. The disadvantaged get more vocational education and at younger ages – oh, they also get another round of rhetoric about engaging students and parents.

The plan is likely to exacerbate the large achievement gap between rich and poor, which is already about the largest in Australia. It is also a step backwards from comprehensive education in government schools. It is likely lead to greater social segregation of students between schools and within schools.

Continue reading “A High School Plan for the Well-Off”

Budget Gives Priority to Funding Privilege and Market-Based Programs

Equity in education is the major loser in the Commonwealth Schools Budget as the Labor Government continues to give greater priority to funding privilege and market-based programs than reducing disadvantage in education. The 2011-12 Budget projects larger funding increases for private schools than government schools and introduces new market-based programs while major equity programs are wound down. Continue reading “Budget Gives Priority to Funding Privilege and Market-Based Programs”

Study Says that School Closures are Unlikely to Deliver Financial Savings and Education Improvement

When governments are looking to save money, they often turn to school closures as the answer, as has been seen in every Australian state and territory in recent years. It is a worldwide phenomenon. It has been going on in many states and school districts in the United States in the last few years. Continue reading “Study Says that School Closures are Unlikely to Deliver Financial Savings and Education Improvement”