For the past couple of decades, proponents of
vouchers for private schools have been pushing the idea that vouchers work.
They assert there is a consensus among researchers that voucher
programs lead to learning gains for students – in some
cases bigger gains than with other reforms and approaches, such as class-size reduction.
They have highlighted studies that show the positive impact of vouchers on various populations. At the very least, they
argue, vouchers do no harm.
As researchers who study school choice and education policy, we see a new consensus
emerging — including in pro-voucher advocates’ own studies — that vouchers are
having mostly no effects or negative effects on student
learning. As a result, we see a shift in how voucher proponents are redefining
what voucher success represents. They are using a new set of non-academic gains
that were not the primary argument to promote vouchers.
Continue reading “School vouchers expand despite evidence of negative effects”
A new OECD report, Balancing School Choice and Equity, shows that school choice policies have increased social and academic segregation between schools which, in turn, reduced equity in education. Australia is a prime example of the impact of choice on social segregation. School choice has been at the centre of education policy for the last 20 or more years. Australia now has one of the most socially and academically segregated school systems in the OECD and has highly inequitable education outcomes.
Continue reading “School Choice Increases Social Segregation and Inequity in Education”
Diane Ravitch has made another devastating critique of market-based education policies in the United States, many of which have been copied by the Gillard Government. Some key excerpts follow. Continue reading “Devastating Critique of US Education Policies”
A new US study has found that vouchers to attend private schools leads to lower student achievement by up to a year or more of learning. It shows that funding disadvantaged students to attend private schools resulted in lower test scores in maths, reading, science and social studies. Continue reading “Study Shows That Vouchers to Attend Private Schools Reduce Student Achievement”
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.
Continue reading “School Autonomy in England Fails to ‘Unleash Greatness’”
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”
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.
Continue reading “No Success for Independent Public Schools”
The following is a media release from the ACT Branch of the Australian Education Union (AEU) on the results of a survey of principals and teachers in the 23 schools participating in a pilot project on school autonomy. Continue reading “Teachers and Principals Say School Autonomy Means Cutbacks”
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.
Continue reading “School Choice is No Guarantee to Improve Results”
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.
Continue reading “School Autonomy Is Not The Same as Teacher Autonomy”