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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New Evidence of Massive Achievement Gaps Between Rich and Poor in Australia

New studies published by academics at Murdoch University show massive achievement gaps between rich and poor in Australia’s schools. Students from low income families in low socio-economic status (SES) schools are nearly four years behind students from high income families in high SES schools in reading, mathematics and science.

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Economic Inequality is the Root Cause of Education Inequality

A groundbreaking new book demonstrates that increasing inequalities in education outcomes are associated with growing income inequality. It shows that rising economic inequality is undermining one of the most important goals of public education—the ability of schools to provide children with an equal chance at academic and economic success.

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Inequity, Disadvantage and Education Outcomes

Inequity and injustice continue to pervade Australian education under Labor. Data published on the My School website show shockingly large achievement and income gaps between the richest and poorest schools while millions in government funding is wasted on the wealthiest private schools. Continue reading “Inequity, Disadvantage and Education Outcomes”

Public Education and the Disadvantaged Let Down by Labor

The My School website reveals shockingly large achievement and income gaps between the richest and poorest metropolitan schools in Australia. However, there is little difference between the results of well-off government and private schools, even though total private school income is about double that of government schools.

This suggests that nearly $400 million in annual government funding for wealthy private schools is being wasted and would be better spent on the most disadvantaged schools to improve student outcomes. Continue reading “Public Education and the Disadvantaged Let Down by Labor”

Disadvantaged Students Get Less Opportunities in Science

A new international study shows that disadvantaged students in Australia are, on average, given less opportunity to learn science at school than students from more affluent families. Disadvantaged 15 year-old students spend over 30 minutes less a week studying science than the average for all other students. This contributes to a large achievement gap in science results between rich and poor students.

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What is Equity in Education?

The panel conducting the Review of School Funding inquiry has stated its intention to focus on educational equity as a key issue in its review. It has adopted a sound definition of equity: “…equity should ensure that differences in educational outcomes are not the result of differences in wealth, income, power or possessions”.

A critical question is how this definition should be interpreted. This brief proposes that equity in education should refer to equity in outcomes and incorporate both an individual and a social aspect.

From an individual perspective, equity in education outcomes should mean that all children receive an adequate education. From a social perspective, equity in education should mean that children from different social groups achieve similar average results. However, equity in education outcomes does not mean that all children should be expected to achieve the same results. Continue reading “What is Equity in Education?”