On the Definition of Equity in Education

The Gonski Institute for Education recently published a valuable paper on equity in education titled Improving Educational Equity in Australian Education. It discusses what is equity, why equity in education matters and makes recommendations for improving equity in education. However, its definition of equity in education is limited and imprecise. The paper should have adopted the equity definition of the original Gonski report because it offers a more effective guide for education policy and funding.

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The Vast Majority of Disadvantaged Schools are Public Schools

The following is a summary of a new Education Research paper published by Save Our Schools. It can be downloaded below.

Data drawn from the My School website show that school systems in Australia are highly segregated by socio-economic background both nationally and in each state, although the extent of the segregation varies between states.

Highly and medium disadvantaged schools are over-represented in public schools and under-represented in private schools. In contrast, highly and medium advantaged schools are under-represented in public schools and over-represented in private schools.

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The Benefits of Socio-Economically and Racially Integrated Schools

A recent OECD report shows that Australia has one of the most socio-economically segregated school systems in the OECD and in the world. It also shows that Australia had the equal largest increase in social segregation in the OECD and the world since 2006.

A research brief recently published by The Century Foundation in the United States outlines the benefits of socio-economic and racial integration in schools (references are available in the original which can be downloaded below). Research shows that socio-economic and racial diversity in schools provides a range of academic, cognitive, social and economic benefits.

The following is a slightly edited version of the brief. An earlier more detailed paper is also available from the Foundation titled A Bold Agenda for School Integration.

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Bonuses Increase Retention of High-Quality Teacher and Student Achievement in Disadvantaged Schools

One of the challenges to improving results in highly disadvantaged schools is recruiting and retaining high quality teachers. Disadvantaged schools often have high teacher turnover which impacts on student achievement. A new US study has found that selective retention bonuses for high quality teachers leads to increases in student achievement in high poverty schools.

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Australia’s Education System is Nearly the Most Unequal in the Developed World

Australia prides itself on its egalitarian ethos, but it is a myth in education.

Not only do we have one of the most segregated school systems in the OECD and the world, but a report just published by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund shows that Australia’s education system is nearly the most unequal in the developed world. There is a clear link between social segregation and education performance in Australia.

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Australia Has One of the Most Socially Segregated Schools Systems in the World

A new OECD report shows that Australia has one of the most segregated school systems in the OECD and in the world. It also shows that Australia had the equal largest increase in social segregation in the OECD and the world since 2006. Government education and funding policies are major factors behind the increase in social segregation.

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Disadvantaged Schools Miss Out in Access to Teachers

The following is a summary of a new Education Research paper published by Save Our Schools. It can be downloaded below.

The large gaps in student achievement between advantaged and disadvantaged schools in Australia are well known. What is less well known is that government teacher policies are compounding the gaps by discriminating against disadvantaged schools in their access to teaching resources. Incredibly, Australia allocates more and better teacher resources to socio-economically advantaged schools than to disadvantaged schools.

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Community Schools Are a Successful Strategy for School Improvement

Community schools can be a successful strategy for improving schools according to a new review of research studies and program evaluations. It found strong evidence that well-implemented community schools contribute to school improvement, particularly in the case of high-poverty schools. It is a strategy that should be considered by the Gonski review on how funding should be used to improve school performance and student achievement.

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Factors Contributing to School Success by Disadvantaged Students

A key issue to be addressed by the new Gonski review is how to improve school outcomes for disadvantaged students. A new US study contributes to this by examining disadvantaged students’ own perceptions of what it takes to succeed at school. It found that strong peer relationships, caring supportive teachers, family and community support, and strong motivations all contribute significantly to school success by disadvantaged students.

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Inclusion Rules the Day

Couple insensitivity with ignorance and very little good will follow. With a little luck, we will avoid the worst of the damage that could come from Senator Pauline Hanson’s public outburst, in which she argued for the removal of children with autism from mainstream schools. The public outrage her remarks evoked has been encouraging.

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