School Autonomy in England Fails to ‘Unleash Greatness’

The UK Government promised to ‘unleash greatness’ in English schools with its radical school autonomy plan to convert all schools to independent academies. A new comprehensive review of the experience with academies shows the plan is failing. It concludes that academies are an imperfect way to address the challenges faced by struggling schools and their students and that school autonomy has clear limits as a school reform strategy.

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OECD Says That Competition in Education Has Failed

The OECD has issued a damning verdict on education policies that promote competition between schools. Its latest PISA in Focus brief
says bluntly that the PISA international test data shows that more competition has failed to improve student results and has increased social segregation between schools. Continue reading “OECD Says That Competition in Education Has Failed”

No Success for Independent Public Schools

Independent public (IP) schools in Western Australia have failed to improve student results according to a new report by a bi-partisan WA parliamentary committee. It also found that the introduction of IP schools has increased inequalities and created a ‘two-tiered’ education system.

The findings are a major blow to Coalition governments around the country which have made increasing school autonomy a central policy plank. Several recent overseas studies have also found little impact from increasing school autonomy over budgets and staffing.

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School Choice is No Guarantee to Improve Results

School choice does not necessarily deliver better results for students according to a new research brief. The brief reviewed research on various alternatives to public schools in the United States and found that the impact of school choice on student learning generally shows mixed results with studies typically showing little or no difference in overall performance compared to traditional public schools.

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School Autonomy Is Not The Same as Teacher Autonomy

In the debate over school autonomy, what frequently gets lost is that school autonomy is different from teacher autonomy and that it is teacher autonomy that is the more important factor for classroom learning. Teacher autonomy means collective professional autonomy.

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The Battle Over New Orleans Charter Schools

In the weeks around the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina at the end August, there was a veritable storm of reports and comments disputing the outcomes of the re-organisation of the New Orleans public school system following the hurricane. The heart of the issue was the effects from turning New Orleans into virtually an all-charter school city.

New Orleans is the biggest charter school experiment in the United States. Its proponents claim it has boosted student results and have put it forward as a model for other jurisdictions to follow. Others vehemently reject the claims.

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For-profit Schools Have a Bad Record

David Leyonhjelm, Liberal Democrats senator for NSW, wants to introduce for-profit schools in Australia. It would be a huge mistake.

For-profit schools have a very bad record. They have failed to provide better student outcomes than other schools and often deliver worse results. Many have gone bankrupt leaving students in limbo and facing massive debts.

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More Bad News for Independent Public Schools

A new report suggests that the faith placed in independent public schools to improve student results is misplaced. The report, published last month by the UK National Foundation for Education Research, found that academy schools (which are an English version of independent public schools) perform no better than traditional public schools.

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Vic Govt Agrees to Support P-TECH Schools

The recent Senate Estimates hearings revealed that the Victorian Government has agreed to support the establishment of two P-TECH schools in Ballarat and Geelong. A joint announcement by the Federal and Victorian ministers of education is imminent according to Federal Education Department officials.

The P-TECH schools are a pet project of the Prime Minister following his visit to the flagship school in Brooklyn, New York, last year. It was another “captain’s call” by the Prime Minister that has not received adequate public scrutiny. Details of the program are shrouded in secrecy and are being developed and negotiated behind closed doors. The Estimates hearings shed little light on the arrangements. Continue reading “Vic Govt Agrees to Support P-TECH Schools”

Massive Fraud and Waste in US Charter Schools

A report has detailed fraud and waste in charter schools in the United States totalling over $200 million in 2014 and 2015. The report says that this is likely to be the tip of the iceberg and that the federal, state and local governments stand to lose more than $1.4 billion because of regulatory failure.

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