Students from disadvantaged schools did as well as those from other government and private schools in first-year subjects at the University of Sydney last year and actually did better than students from all other schools, excluding government selective schools.
The crucial role of Green and independent support for the new Gillard minority government has created a window of opportunity for a serious effort to close the huge achievement gaps in our schools and improve equity in education. The focus should be to address the large burden of education disadvantage carried by government schools.
The children’s charity, Bernado’s says that impenetrable “clusters of privilege” are forming around the best state schools in England. In a report released last week, Bernado’s says that privileged children are monopolising the top state schools in England and poorer families are losing out in a complex and unfair system.
The massive achievement gap between rich and poor is the biggest challenge facing Australian education today. Australia has amongst the best results in the world, but also a very large achievement gap between rich and poor.
A new study of home computer use in the United States has thrown the cat amongst the pigeons on programs to provide students with computers for use at home. It found that greater access to computers and high speed internet reduces reading and mathematics achievement and increases racial and socio-economic achievement gaps. Continue reading “Computers Widen Achievement Gap in Schools”
Chris Bonnor, co-author of The Stupid Country, and Professor Richard Teese from Melbourne University have raised the spectre of increasing social segregation in Australia’s schools Sydney Morning Herald, 5 July and 8 July]. They have pointed to the increasing social division as more students from richer families attend private and selective government schools while low income students attend other government schools. Australian education is under threat from increasing “social and academic apartheid” according to Bonnor.
The latest results from the National Assessment Program for Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) generated a wave of self-congratulation from Education Ministers around Australia which should be qualified.
While student achievement remains high, there has been little improvement in recent years and there is a large gap in the results of rich and poor students. Reducing this gap is the greatest challenge facing Australian education. Continue reading “Student Results in Australia are High, but Very Unequal and not Improving”
A new report published in the US this week highlights a major problem that will come to the fore in Australia with the publication of school league tables. This is the tendency to blame schools for low levels of student achievement and gaps between rich and poor students without regard to factors outside schools that continually impact on student achievement.
A new report by the Victorian Auditor-General on literacy and numeracy achievement in Victorian government schools has cast more light on the achievement gaps between students.
It shows very large achievement gaps between high-achieving and low-achieving students, between students from rich and poor families and between regions in Victoria. It also shows that these achievement gaps have not reduced over the past 10 years.
A Policy Brief published by Save Our Schools shows that the new national Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians (the Melbourne Declaration) promulgated by Australian education ministers at the end of 2008 fails on equity.
It fails on two grounds. It weakens the previous national commitment to improve social equity in education and it introduces a new policy commitment on reporting school results which will exacerbate inequities in student outcomes. Continue reading “SOS Policy Brief on the New National Goals for Education”