Integrating Immigrant Children in School is an Australian Success Story

A new OECD report provides some interesting perspective on the debate over immigration in Europe and the Paris terrorist attacks. It shows a sharp contrast between the integration of immigrant children in schools in France and Belgium compared to Australia. Immigrant children in France and Belgium are the most alienated in the OECD, indicating a failure of integration, whereas far fewer immigrant children in Australia are alienated from school.

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Unequal Access to Curriculum is Widening Achievement Gaps in Schools

A new study has found that there is a vast gap between rich and poor in the opportunity to learn rigorous mathematics in Australia’s schools. Unequal access to the maths curriculum in Australia is amongst the highest in the OECD. The study also found that unequal access to the maths curriculum is a major factor behind the large achievement gap in mathematics between rich and poor.

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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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Study Finds that School SES has a Strong Impact on Student Achievement

A new study published in the latest issue of the British Educational Research Journal shows that the socio-economic composition of schools has a large effect on student achievement. A student attending a school with low average socio-economic status (SES) tends to have lower school outcomes than a student from a similar family background attending a school with high average student SES.

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Low SES Students Do Better Than High SES Students at University

A report by the Victoria Institute for Strategic Economic Studies shows that first year students from low socio-economic status (SES) backgrounds at Victoria University achieve better results than high SES students. It also found that students from lower performing schools seem to perform better than their peers from elite schools.

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Improving Equity in Education Increases Economic Growth

Two recently-published studies show that inequality in education is a significant factor affecting economic growth. Both studies find that income inequality limits economic growth because low income families tend to have low education outcomes. The studies recommend policies to improve the education outcomes of disadvantaged students.  Improving the education outcomes of these children would increase workforce skills, productivity, incomes and economic output.

One study was published by the OECD last December. The other study was published in February by the European Expert Network on Economics of Education (EENEE), a think tank sponsored by the European Commission. It was done by economists from the University of Sydney and the London School of Economics.

The studies have important implications for education policy in Australia. Although income and education inequality in Australia is less than in many OECD countries they are significant. In particular, a large proportion of children from low socio-economic backgrounds do not achieve an adequate education and there are large gaps in achievement between rich and poor. Increasing the education outcomes of these children would not only increase their life chances but would also increase economic growth.

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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”