Growing Social Segregation in Australia’s Schools

Social segregation in Australian schools is increasing according to a research paper published last month. It says that schools are becoming more segregated in terms of both class and ethnicity and it has serious implications equity in education and for multiculturalism and social cohesion.

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Completing Secondary School Increases Employment Prospects

New OECD data shows that Australia has made spectacular progress in the last 30 years in reducing the percentage of adults who do not complete secondary school. It shows that the percentage of low educated adults dropped by nearly three times, from 39 to 14 per cent.

However, the new data also shows that further improvement is necessary. A significant percentage of young people leave school before completing Year 12 and they are twice as likely to have low numeracy scores and to be unemployed as those who complete secondary school. Continue reading “Completing Secondary School Increases Employment Prospects”

Dropping Out of School is Deadly

A large proportion of Australian students do not complete Year 12. According to the Productivity Commission’s Report on Government Services 2015, 26 per cent of the potential Year 12 population did not complete Year 12 in 2013 and 32 per cent of low SES students did not complete the final year of school. New research shows that not completing Year 12 is a deadly decision.

The research, published last week in the scientific and medical journal PLOS ONE, found that completion of high school leads to lower levels of mortality and that not completing school may be as deadly as smoking.

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Mixed Schools Make for a More Socially Tolerant Society

Young people in schools with ethnically diverse classrooms are likely to have more favourable attitudes towards immigrants, according to a new international study from the Institute of Education at the University College London. This is particularly true when there are many second-generation immigrants in the class. Continue reading “Mixed Schools Make for a More Socially Tolerant Society”

Many Victorian Schools to Miss Out on Equity Funding

The Victorian Government recently announced changes to the Education Maintenance Allowance which provides assistance to low-income families for textbooks, stationary, excursions and school uniforms. Until now half the allowance was paid directly to parents and the other half to schools. From 2013, an increased allowance will be paid to parents but no payments will go to schools. The Government says that the savings achieved will allow more equity-based funding to be provided to schools with a high proportion of students from low socio-economic backgrounds. The following article on the changes was contributed by a Victorian school principal. Continue reading “Many Victorian Schools to Miss Out on Equity Funding”

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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New OECD Report Calls for Greater Fairness in Education

An OECD report on equity and quality in education to be released this week will add pressure on the Australian Government to come up with a more equitable system of school funding. The report says that students from low socio-economic status (SES) backgrounds are twice as likely to have low results as other students. It recommends that governments should better target funding for disadvantaged students. Continue reading “New OECD Report Calls for Greater Fairness in Education”

National Equity Funding Programs are too ‘Hit and Miss’

A report published by the Australian Primary Principals Association provides some revealing insights into the targeting and funding of low income students under the Smarter Schools National Partnerships. The lead author of the study said that the programs are too ‘hit and miss’.

The findings suggest that the programs are unlikely to lead to any significant improvement in outcomes for low income and low achieving students. The amount of funding per school and student is small; it is not well targeted as many students and schools miss out and is not being used in the most effective ways. Continue reading “National Equity Funding Programs are too ‘Hit and Miss’”

Education and Poverty: Confronting the Evidence and Policy Responses

Policies such as expanded parent choice, promoting competition between schools and test-based evaluation of teachers are misguided according to one of the leading scholars of education reform in the United States. Professor Helen Ladd claims that these policies fail to address the key problem of the achievement gap between rich and poor and that addressing this educational challenge will require a broader and bolder approach to education policy than the recent efforts to improve education in the US.

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