Birmingham Holds Funding for Public Schools to Ransom

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”

Indexation of the Schooling Resource Standard Should be Reviewed by an Independent Expert Panel

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”

Special Over-Funding Deal for ACT Catholic Systemic Schools to Continue

The Turnbull Government has done a back-flip on its promise to abolish all special funding deals for private schools. The Commonwealth Department of Education has announced that the special funding deal for ACT Catholic systemic schools will be maintained for another four years as a “temporary” assistance package. It will cost the taxpayer about $200 million. It took only four weeks for the Government to cave in to Catholic school demands to keep their massive over-funding.

Catholic systemic schools in Canberra are vastly over-funded by the Commonwealth Government. In 2016, the over-funding amounted to $50 million. Several schools are over-funded by more than $4 million each. Two schools are getting over four times what they are entitled to and several others are getting over double their entitlement. Several receive $5,000 per student or more in over-funding.

Continue reading “Special Over-Funding Deal for ACT Catholic Systemic Schools to Continue”

Gonski 2.0 Provides Even More Over-Funding for Private Schools

The following is a new Education Policy Brief from Save Our Schools. The paper together with the charts can be downloaded below.

Summary
Private schools are set to get more over-funding under Gonski 2.0, not less as the Turnbull Government claims. Far from reducing over-funding of private schools as the Government claims, Gonski 2.0 will massively increase over-funding. The Government has played a ‘smoke and mirrors’ trick by reducing over-funding for a very small number of grossly over-funded private schools while boosting over-funding for many more schools and retaining over-funding for others. It is a hoax on a grand scale. Continue reading “Gonski 2.0 Provides Even More Over-Funding for Private Schools”

Gonski 2.0 is a 40% Gonski

This is the first in a series of articles to be published by Save Our Schools on the Turnbull Government’s Gonski 2.0 school funding plan. The next article will examine private school funding.

Gonski 2.0 is not what is seems. It is not a good deal for public schools. Despite the appearance of a large increase in school funding to 2026-27, it will deliver only a miniscule increase in inflation-adjusted funding per student. The increase amounts to only about 40% of the increase planned under Gonski 1.0. Thousands of public schools will get much smaller increases than under Gonski 1.0. Continue reading “Gonski 2.0 is a 40% Gonski”

Social Segregation in Australian Schools is Amongst the Highest in the World

A new report released by the OECD shows that social segregation in Australian schools is amongst the highest in the world. Australia has the 8th highest rate of social segregation out of 71 countries participating in the OECD’s Programme of International Students Assessments in 2015. Australia’s social segregation is also the 4th highest in the OECD.

This is one of the most alarming results to come out of PISA 2015. It shows that social apartheid is an enduring feature of Australia’s school system. Students are sharply divided by social class in schools. Other research shows staggering levels of ethnic and religious segregation in schools.

Social segregation in schools has dire consequences for education outcomes and the nature of our society. It is a key factor behind the high inequity in education in Australia as evidenced by the large achievement gaps between high socio-economic status (SES) students and low SES, Indigenous and remote area students. It allows privileged groups to maintain and enhance their advantages. It allows prejudice and social discrimination to hold sway.

School choice policies in Australia have compounded the effects of housing segregation. Government funding policies have fostered the expansion of private schools and have denuded many public schools of the resources they need to provide quality learning opportunities and outcomes for their students. Many advantaged families have abandoned their local public school in a search for better-resourced, high quality schools. The result has been an increasing concentration of disadvantaged students in some public schools and increasing concentration of advantaged students in others.

Governments must ensure that all schools are excellent schools. This requires increased funding for disadvantaged schools to provide them with the human and material resources necessary to provide high quality learning opportunities for their students. This can be financed by re-directing government funding from private schools whose total income exceeds that of public schools to disadvantaged public and private schools.

Ensuring that all local schools are excellent, well-resourced schools would reduce the incentive for families to look for more advantaged schools outside their local area. It would make for a better social mix of students in public schools. Continue reading “Social Segregation in Australian Schools is Amongst the Highest in the World”

The Benefits of Socio-Economic and Racial Diversity in Schools

A newly published research brief shows the importance of school compositional effects on student outcomes. While it is based on studies conducted in the United States, the study has important implications for Australia. It shows that both socio-economic and racial diversity in schools are beneficial to students in terms of academic results and social understanding. It points to the importance of supporting socio-economically and racially diverse schools. Continue reading “The Benefits of Socio-Economic and Racial Diversity in Schools”

Effective Ways of Improving Achievement by Low SES Students

A major new meta-analysis of academic studies on ways to improve the school results of low socio-economic status (SES) students has identified several interventions that substantially improve achievement. They include small group tutoring, feedback and progress monitoring and co-operative learning in the classroom. Several other interventions also have smaller positive effects on achievement. Continue reading “Effective Ways of Improving Achievement by Low SES Students”

No Academic Benefit to Attending Partially Selective Schools

A new study shows that students who attend at partially selective schools in England do not achieve any better results than students in non-selective schools. It found that some results for students with high or low prior achievement are worse at partially selective schools than for their peers at non-selective schools. Continue reading “No Academic Benefit to Attending Partially Selective Schools”

Huge Disparities Between the Resources of Disadvantaged and Advantaged Schools

The latest report on Australia’s results in PISA 2015 shows huge disparities in shortages of educational staff and physical resources between advantaged and disadvantaged schools in Australia. It is more evidence of the need to improve the resourcing of disadvantaged schools and increase learning opportunities for their students. Continue reading “Huge Disparities Between the Resources of Disadvantaged and Advantaged Schools”