Urgent Action is Needed on Shameful ACT School Results

A research paper released today by Save Our Schools shows that ACT school results have fallen since 2001 and that achievement gaps between the top and bottom students are amongst the largest of all developed countries.

SOS convenor, Trevor Cobbold, said the results are an indictment of ACT education policy over the past decade and he called for an independent public inquiry to set a new direction. Continue reading “Urgent Action is Needed on Shameful ACT School Results”

Targetting East Asian Test Scores Will Bring East Asian Afflictions

The Prime Minister and the Federal education minister have set test scores in East Asian countries as the benchmark of education success. However, East Asian success has come at considerable cost. There is a very real danger that pursuing this new target will inflict Australian education with similar problems and undermine our successful education results.

Several recent media reports confirm that the emphasis on test scores in East Asian countries has brought some very undesirable education and social side effects. Two particular effects are intense parental pressure on children to succeed which leads to many hours of homework and private tutoring and a focus on memorization and rote learning at the expense of thinking skills and creativity. Continue reading “Targetting East Asian Test Scores Will Bring East Asian Afflictions”

Mapping School Autonomy in Australia: Part 3

This article is the third in a series on mapping the extent and differences in school autonomy across jurisdictions and school sectors in Australia. The aim is to provide an up to date information base for further discussion of issues around school autonomy.

The information provided below and in forthcoming articles is a first go at developing a comprehensive overview of school autonomy in Australia. Comment is invited with a view to correcting mistakes and omissions.

The “Contact Us” facility on this website can be used to directly provide comments and information or to contact SOS for another address to send information. Continue reading “Mapping School Autonomy in Australia: Part 3”

ACT Liberals Ignore Disadvantage to Defend Privilege

Tony Abbott recently claimed that private schools are the victims of an “injustice” because they get less public funding than government schools.

ACT Liberals have taken up this claim with a vengeance in their election promise to increase funding for private schools. They have revealed their true colours – their first priority is to support better-off families, not low income families.

They ignore the real injustice in ACT education – a massive achievement gap between rich and poor. Increased funding for private schools can only compound this gap.

Continue reading “ACT Liberals Ignore Disadvantage to Defend Privilege”

‘Independent’ Review of Research on the Impact of School Autonomy is a ‘Dud’

The Federal Department of Education recently published the first report in its so-called independent evaluation of the Government’s school autonomy program. The report purports to be a literature review of academic research on school autonomy, but it is a ‘dud’ of a review. Continue reading “‘Independent’ Review of Research on the Impact of School Autonomy is a ‘Dud’”

The Real Class War on Display

The real class war in education was on show this week. It was an object lesson in how the rich ruthlessly exploit their power to gain privileges at the expense of the poor and less well-off. Within a few days they extracted commitments to a funding increase for private schools which will likely amount to about $1.5 billion from the Federal Government and an unspecified increase from the Coalition. Continue reading “The Real Class War on Display”

Many Victorian Schools to Miss Out on Equity Funding

The Victorian Government recently announced changes to the Education Maintenance Allowance which provides assistance to low-income families for textbooks, stationary, excursions and school uniforms. Until now half the allowance was paid directly to parents and the other half to schools. From 2013, an increased allowance will be paid to parents but no payments will go to schools. The Government says that the savings achieved will allow more equity-based funding to be provided to schools with a high proportion of students from low socio-economic backgrounds. The following article on the changes was contributed by a Victorian school principal. Continue reading “Many Victorian Schools to Miss Out on Equity Funding”

Is Gillard Preparing to Dump Gonski?

It seems that the Prime Minister may not “give a Gonski”. When challenged at a community cabinet meeting in Brisbane this week to implement the recommendations of the Gonski report on school funding she put the onus on state governments. Her response raises the question as to whether the Federal Government is preparing to dump the report and sheet home blame to Coalition state governments.

Continue reading “Is Gillard Preparing to Dump Gonski?”

Huge Funding Bid by ACT Private Schools Should be Rejected

This article is a summary of an Education Policy Brief published by Save Our Schools. It can be downloaded below.

Private schools in Canberra are pressuring for a massive across-the-board 43% increase in funding by the ACT Government. They want Territory funding increased from about 17.5% to 25% of average government school costs.

The Catholic Education Commission, the ACT Association of Independent Schools and the Association of Parents and Friends of ACT Schools have all called for the increase to be applied to all private schools. Undoubtedly, this will be the focus of a private school campaign in the lead up to the ACT election this October.

The proposed increase would amount to about $19 million a year on 2010 funding figures, increasing from $44 million to $63 million. Catholic schools would receive an increase of $13.5 million and Independent schools $5.4 million.

This is an incredible claim which should be rejected on several grounds. It would compound the already privileged funding position of high socio-economic status (SES) private schools in the ACT. It is contrary to the new approach to school funding being developed following the Gonski review of school funding in Australia. It would reduce the funding available to address the major challenge facing ACT education – the large achievement gap between rich and poor students

Continue reading “Huge Funding Bid by ACT Private Schools Should be Rejected”