A new study published by the prestigious US National Bureau of Economic Research has found that increased expenditure on disadvantaged pre-schoolers and disadvantaged schools improves school results and life outcomes. It shows strong synergies between increased expenditure on pre-school programs and school education. While spending of either type improved academic outcomes to some degree, access to both resulted in a dynamic complementarity that offered far greater long- term benefits. The findings suggest that early investments in the education of disadvantaged children that are followed by sustained educational investments over time can effectively break the cycle of poverty. Continue reading “Study Shows Beneficial Effects of Increased Expenditure on Pre-School and Schools”
An evaluation report on the fast-track teacher training program, Teach for Australia (TFA), raises serious questions about the effectiveness of the program. It shows that TFA teachers are not being placed in genuinely disadvantaged schools and a high proportion leave teaching within three years of completing the program. It calls for changes to increase retention such as longer placement lengths, or incentives for TFA teachers to stay in disadvantaged classrooms. There are also serious questions about the cost effectiveness of TFA and its impact on student outcomes.
It was reported in The Age this week that the elite Melbourne private school, Scotch College, has been on a $25 million spending spree over the past 20 years buying up surrounding properties to expand the school. It is part of the facilities arms race between wealthy private schools to market the school and lure students.
What The Age report did not mention is that this spending spree was directly and indirectly supported by the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments. Continue reading “Scotch College Property Buying Spree Supported by the Taxpayer”
One of the standout performers in the results from PISA 2015 was Vietnam. It achieved a ranking of 8th in science with a score of 525, which was significantly above Australia’s score of 510. More remarkably, only 6% of its students were below the minimum PISA standard compared to 18% of students in Australia. Vietnam had the smallest proportion of students below the science standard of the 72 countries and economies participating in PISA 2015.
However, there seems to be more than meets the eye in these results because over half of Vietnam’s 15-year-old population was not covered by the PISA sample because they were not in school. Continue reading “PISA Rankings Are Misleading Because of Differences in Student Coverage”
Community schools can be a successful strategy for improving schools according to a new review of research studies and program evaluations. It found strong evidence that well-implemented community schools contribute to school improvement, particularly in the case of high-poverty schools. It is a strategy that should be considered by the Gonski review on how funding should be used to improve school performance and student achievement.
A key issue to be addressed by the new Gonski review is how to improve school outcomes for disadvantaged students. A new US study contributes to this by examining disadvantaged students’ own perceptions of what it takes to succeed at school. It found that strong peer relationships, caring supportive teachers, family and community support, and strong motivations all contribute significantly to school success by disadvantaged students.
A basic flaw of Gonski 2.0 is that it abandons developing a national approach to school funding. Instead, it entrenches the structural incoherence of school funding so heavily criticised in the original Gonski report. It will only enhance inconsistencies in funding and ensure that the school funding wars between the Commonwealth and the States continue.
The Turnbull Government’s Gonski 2.0 funding plan is a fraud. It is a fraud because it delivers much less funding to public schools and much more for private schools than Gonski 1.0. It is a fraud because public schools will remain under-funded while private schools will be well-funded. It is a fraud because there will be a massive increase in over-funding of private schools. Private schools will get a new, grander, special deal which is disguised by reducing over-funding in the most blatant cases. It is the best special deal that private schools have ever had. Gonski 2.0 is a fraud also because abandons any effort to develop a truly national school funding system while claiming to be a national approach. Continue reading “Gonski 2.0 is a Fraud”
In an outrageous move, the Minister for Education, Simon Birmingham, has threatened to cut funding to public schools if Gonski 2.0 is not passed by the Senate. The threat covers public schools in Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory while private schools in these states will be guaranteed their funding. Continue reading “Birmingham Holds Funding for Public Schools to Ransom”
The indexation of Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) against rising school costs is critical for school budgets because it is a central feature of Commonwealth Government funding of schools. If the rate of indexation fails to match increasing costs such as teacher salaries, educational materials and utility charges such as water and electricity, school budgets will be squeezed. Schools will not be able to afford the same level of human and material inputs as they have in past years. Continue reading “Indexation of the Schooling Resource Standard Should be Reviewed by an Independent Expert Panel”