Charter Schools Do No Better Than Other Public Schools

Charter schools are generally doing no better than traditional public schools in the United States according to a new national study. Three-quarters of all charter schools are doing no better than traditional schools in reading and 70 per cent are doing no better in mathematics. The study concludes that the greater school autonomy granted to charter schools had little effect on student achievement over time.

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Independent Public Schools Fail to Increase Student Achievement, but Increase Social Segregation

A review of independent public schools in Western Australia has found that they have not increased student achievement but could be developing a two-tiered education system in the state. The review found there is little evidence of changes to student outcomes, attendance and behaviour as a result of the introduction of independent public schools.

The great promise of school autonomy is that it will deliver increased school outcomes. However, it appears that the WA school autonomy program has so far failed to deliver on this promise. There are also widespread concerns that it is contributing to greater social segregation in public schools in the state.

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Report Reveals that School Autonomy is not Working in WA

School principals in Western Australia are overloaded, under-resourced and lacking in support systems under the new regime of increased autonomy in decision-making according to an independent report. The findings suggest that school autonomy is more about cutting costs than supporting principals and improving education outcomes.

The report shows that principals have not been given the resources to match their increased responsibilities while central and district office support services have been withdrawn. It concluded that the administrative burden on principals is excessive. It says the lack of support systems threatens the achievement of desired education outcomes. Continue reading “Report Reveals that School Autonomy is not Working in WA”

P-TECH Schools are Unproven and Threaten Public Education

This article is summary of a Policy Brief published by SOS on P-TECH schools. The Brief can be downloaded below.

Last year, the Federal Government announced $0.5 million funding for a new type of school in Australia incorporating high school education and two years of tertiary training. It is based on the P-TECH (Pathways in Technology Early College) school in Brooklyn, New York, established by the giant IT multinational IBM and now being rolled out in several US cities. The model is personally endorsed by the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott. Under the proposal, two existing schools in Ballarat and Geelong will be converted into P-TECH schools.

The introduction of P-TECH schools is proceeding without any evidence that they work and without any open discussion of their implications for the curriculum, how public schools are governed and how education is delivered in the classroom. IBM says that the new schools will replicate the New York model but it appears to be incompatible with the provisions of the Victorian Education and Training Act relating to school councils and curriculum development and accreditation and with the national curriculum for Years 9 & 10. Continue reading “P-TECH Schools are Unproven and Threaten Public Education”

New Study Shows that School Autonomy Increases the Gap Between Top and Bottom Students

A new study has found that school autonomy widens the gap between the top and bottom achieving students. It shows that school autonomy has little effect on overall student performance, but has a small positive effect for the top students and no effect on lower achieving students. It adds to the weight of evidence that increasing school autonomy does not work. Continue reading “New Study Shows that School Autonomy Increases the Gap Between Top and Bottom Students”

Senate Education Committee Rebuffs Govt & Coalition on School Autonomy

The Senate education committee has delivered a major rebuff to the Federal Government and the Coalition on school autonomy. It says that there is no clear evidence that greater school autonomy leads to better student performance and recommends more research on its impact.

Both the Federal Government and the Opposition have made school autonomy a key part of their education policies. However, the report is a severe embarrassment to the Coalition spokesman on education, Christopher Pyne, because he has put school autonomy at the centre of the Coalition’s education policy and a majority of the Senate education committee are Coalition members. Continue reading “Senate Education Committee Rebuffs Govt & Coalition on School Autonomy”

More Collaboration is Needed to Counter the Damage by School Autonomy

School autonomy is a threat to the spread of best practice teaching and learning between schools according to a submission to the Senate inquiry on teaching and learning by Save Our Schools (SOS). National convenor, Trevor Cobbold, said school autonomy creates incentives not to share good practice which need to be countered by promoting more collaboration between schools. Continue reading “More Collaboration is Needed to Counter the Damage by School Autonomy”

School Autonomy Allows Schools to Fall Through the Gap

A second report in a week by the UK House of Commons has criticised the effect of school autonomy in England. The Public Accounts Committee issued a report saying problems in schools are going unnoticed because of a lack of oversight of schools under the autonomy regime. It has “allowed some schools to fall through the gap” and failure to go “unnoticed”.

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School Autonomy Fails to Increase Student Achievement and Undermines Collaboration between Schools

This is a slightly abridged version of a submission by Save Our Schools to the Senate Education Committee Inquiry on Teaching and Learning. References are available in the submission.

Save Our Schools believes that the claims made about positive effects of greater school autonomy on student achievement are greatly exaggerated and ignore the weight of evidence from research studies that it has little to no effect on student results and can lead to greater inequality and social segregation. Continue reading “School Autonomy Fails to Increase Student Achievement and Undermines Collaboration between Schools”

Independent Public Schools are No Panacea for School Improvement

A review of academy schools, the English version of independent public schools, says that they are not a “panacea” for better schools. The report published earlier this month by the Academies Commission says “greater independence and freedom are not sufficient in themselves to secure improvement” [p. 41].

The report also found that many academies were manipulating admissions to select and exclude particular students so as to bolster their market position. It said this is increasing social segregation which is “a problem for equality of opportunity and to system improvement” [p.7].

The report calls for more collaboration between schools, supported by government funding. It says that school-to-school collaboration is one of the key routes to school improvement, but it is being undermined by academies operating in isolation from other schools and the system. Continue reading “Independent Public Schools are No Panacea for School Improvement”