Top Public Service Mandarin Badly Bungled School Funding Figures

In an extraordinary move earlier this month, the head of the Prime Minister’s Department, Michael Thawley, criticised increased funding for education within days of the Prime Minister suggesting that the Government would consider fully funding the Gonski school plan. Only a week after Malcolm Turnbull floated the idea of restoring the last two years of the Gonski plan that was abandoned by Abbott, Thawley used flawed figures to warn against increasing school funding.

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Reflections on Teaching: The Craft of Teaching

School teaching is a craft. A school teacher is an adult in a room full of children and the task is to look after the children, supervise their social behaviour, and give them skills and knowledge.

When I use the word ‘craft’, I don’t mean making things out of seashells. I mean an activity that involves using skill to achieve a practical end. You learn how to teach by doing it. Parenting skills are probably the most valuable skills to have. There are many teaching methods and every teaching situation is different, so a teacher needs to have many techniques and must constantly be thinking about which ones to use.

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Integrating Immigrant Children in School is an Australian Success Story

A new OECD report provides some interesting perspective on the debate over immigration in Europe and the Paris terrorist attacks. It shows a sharp contrast between the integration of immigrant children in schools in France and Belgium compared to Australia. Immigrant children in France and Belgium are the most alienated in the OECD, indicating a failure of integration, whereas far fewer immigrant children in Australia are alienated from school.

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Is the ACT School System Underperforming?

The following is a short presentation to the Progressive Canberra Summit held at the National Gallery of Australia on Saturday, 14 November. It uses results from the OECD’s Programme of International Assessments (PISA) for 15 year-old students conducted every three years to assess the performance of the ACT school system. The latest results are for 2012.

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Turnbull Creates New Optimism for Gonski

The Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, put the Gonski funding plan back on the agenda recently saying that everyone agrees “we need more resources into education and it needs to be needs-based”. There is now hope for Gonski whereas previously there was despair under Abbott and Pyne.

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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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NSW Parliament Committee Slams Education Department on School Closures

A NSW Parliamentary Committee report has slammed the approach by the NSW Department of Education to closing schools as “heavy handed”. It says the Department failed to properly consult with communities affected by proposed school closures, was not impartial in dealing with communities and ignored research evidence on the value of small schools educationally and to small regional communities. It makes ten recommendations to improve consultation about school closures. 

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Case Studies in Consultation Failure on School Closures by the NSW Department of Education

The report by the NSW Legislative Council Select Committee on the closure of public schools in NSW is a damning exposure of the failure of the NSW Department of Education to seriously consult about proposed closures. The report includes the following three case studies.

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