It is a sad fact, but true, that in Australia a student’s background greatly influences how well they will do at school. Whether their parents went to university, work as professionals, or whether they live in a rural area or are indigenous, all help to predict a student’s performance. And more so in Australia than in many other countries. Continue reading “How Good is My School?”
It is testing season in the United States and a nation-wide rebellion against the tests is under way as a huge opt-out movement has developed. Protests against testing have broken out in cities across the US. Politicians and policy makers continue to insist that the tests encourage better school performance but this is being increasingly challenged by parents and teachers. Continue reading “Testing Times”
Young people in schools with ethnically diverse classrooms are likely to have more favourable attitudes towards immigrants, according to a new international study from the Institute of Education at the University College London. This is particularly true when there are many second-generation immigrants in the class. Continue reading “Mixed Schools Make for a More Socially Tolerant Society”
Canberra’s key public-school parent group, the ACT Council of Parents and Citizens Associations, has condemned the publication of school league tables in The Canberra Times. Continue reading “Parents Condemn Canberra Times’ School League Tables”
With its legislative guarantee that private schools will receive 25 per cent of expenditure on public schools, the Victorian Government has joined with the Abbott Government in sabotaging the Gonski school funding agreement.
A UK House of Commons report published last week says that there is no evidence that academies, England’s version of independent public schools, improve school results. The report by the bi-partisan education select committee said that although it was clear that academies led to greater competition, there was not yet proof that they raised standards for disadvantaged students or overall. Several issues raised by the report are very relevant to the expansion of independent public schools in Australia.
New school funding figures provided to Senate Estimates show that government funding increases for Catholic and Independent schools have outstripped funding increases for public schools since 2009. The percentage increase in funding for Catholic and Independent schools was almost double that for public schools despite the fact that public schools enrol the overwhelming majority of students in need of increased support.
According to the Australian Scholarship Group, families face a total bill of nearly $500,000 to send their children to Independent private schools and over $200,000 for systemic religious schools compared to about $50,000-70,000 in a public school. This is a huge difference. Year 12 fees in the elite Independent schools are up to around $30,000 a year and more. Just what do parents get for this enormous outlay?
One thing for sure is that they do not get any better school results. Research published recently by Save Our Schools shows that student test results are no better in private schools than in public schools when like schools are compared. The common perception that private schools deliver better results than public schools is a complete myth.
The US Senate is currently conducting hearings on the future of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation introduced by President George Bush Jnr. The hearings have focused first on the federally mandated testing regime for all US children in grades 3-8. The critical issue is whether there is too much testing in US schools. A huge opt-out movement against testing has developed. A key leader of the movement is Diane Ravitch a former Assistant Secretary of Education under President George Bush Snr. The Secretary of Education at the time was Lamar Alexander, now a Senator who is chairing the Senate committee hearings on the NCLB. Diane Ravitch has written the following open letter to the Senator calling on him to drop annual standardised testing in schools. Continue reading “Open Letter on Testing by Diane Ravitch”
Charter schools are a central component of current efforts to change the face of public education in the United States. Charter schools are publicly financed, but free of many of the regulations that govern traditional public schools, such as those involving staffing, curriculum, and budget decisions. Independent public schools in Australia are similar to charter schools in some respects such as autonomy in staffing and budget decisions.