Massive Achievement Gaps Revealed

The recent report of the NSW Auditor-General on improving literacy and numeracy in NSW government schools reveals massive achievement gaps between students from rich and poor families and between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students.

It shows that the NSW Government has made little to no progress since 1999 in meeting its commitment under the National Goals for Schooling that learning outcomes of disadvantaged students match those of other students.

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Choice or Equity in Education?

This paper, by Trevor Cobbold, was delivered to the Education Summit in Sydney in June 2008.

It argues that choice has failed the promise of its advocates to improve education outcomes and that it has not only deflected education systems from dealing with the major challenge of inequity in education, but has exacerbated inequity. Continue reading “Choice or Equity in Education?”

Social Equity in Education as a National Goal

Save Our Schools supports the social equity goal of the existing National Goals for Schooling.

It opposes replacing this goal with the much weaker commitment to high quality schooling free of discrimination as proposed in the draft National Declaration on the Goals for Schooling.

The Future of Schooling in Australia report fails to make a case for this change. The large achievement gaps between students from low and high socio-economic status families and between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students are the major challenges facing the Australian school system.

Achieving social equity in school outcomes should remain a key national goal for schooling.

Submission on Draft National Declaration on Goals for Schooling

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A Vision for 2020: Achieve Equity in Education

The following statement was prepared by Save Our Schools in the context of the 2020 Summit. It is intended to contribute to the ongoing public dialogue about the priorities in school education in Australia.

It says that the priority is to improve equity in education, that all children should receive an adequate education and that students from different social groups should receive similar education outcomes. Continue reading “A Vision for 2020: Achieve Equity in Education”

A High Quality, Low Equity and Socially Segregated School System

Trevor Cobbold, spokesman for Save Our Schools, recently delivered an address to a forum on the future of public education in the ACT sponsored the ACT Public Education Alliance. The address makes four key points:

  • The ACT schools system has very high quality outcomes, with little difference between the government and private sectors, especially when the different social composition of the sectors is taken into account.
  • School outcomes in the ACT are not improving and, indeed, have declined in some areas over the period of the Stanhope Government.
  • There is extensive individual and social inequity in ACT school outcomes with a large achievement gap between students from low and high income families.
  • There is increasing social segregation in the ACT school system that is reflected in the ongoing drift of enrolments to the private system.

The paper also canvasses some broad policy proposals to address key weaknesses in the ACT school system.

School Outcomes in the ACT - 2008

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Addressing the Social Divide in Education

A new report just published by the UK charity, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, has highlighted need to address the educational divide. It shows that children growing up in poverty and disadvantage are less likely to do well at school. Family disadvantage is passed on from one generation to the next in a cycle of underachievement. The report says that the attitudes and experiences that lie behind social differences in education need to be addressed to break this cycle.

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