O’Farrell Refuses to Budge on School Funding Cuts

The NSW Premier, Barry O’Farrell, has refused to give any ground on his plan to slash $1.7 billion from the education budget over the next four years. He has rebuffed a call by a coalition of government and private school organisations for the cuts to be reversed. The coalition put the Premier on notice that he faces a major political backlash up to the next NSW election.

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Big Increase in Students Withdrawn from NAPLAN Tests

An increasing number of parents are withdrawing their children from the NAPLAN tests. There has been a four- to five-fold increase across Australia since 2008 in the percentage of children withdrawn from the numeracy tests. Withdrawals have increased in all Year levels tested and across all states and territories, with the largest increases in the ACT, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria.

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Survey Finds that NAPLAN Has a Detrimental Effect on Education

The results of a survey published last month show that a large majority of teachers think that the NAPLAN tests detract from learning in the classroom and have little education benefit for students.

Teachers say that NAPLAN has lead to a narrowing of the curriculum, teaching to the test, and a negative classroom environment that lowers student engagement and does not cater for the needs of individual students. Hours of test preparation mean that it is harder to cater for students with the greatest need.

The tests are also increasing stress and anxiety amongst students. Many students are experiencing anxiety attacks, are not sleeping and are becoming physically ill before the tests. Continue reading “Survey Finds that NAPLAN Has a Detrimental Effect on Education”

Education is More Than Test Scores

All the weight now placed on NAPLAN scores and international test scores as the measure of education success ignores a fundamental dictum: education is more than test scores. Tests ignore much of what schools do that is highly valuable to children growing up and to society. The Prime Minister and her Education Minister do not appear to understand this. Continue reading “Education is More Than Test Scores”

A Principal Speaks Out on NAPLAN

Wednesday October 17, 2012

This is an interview with Kevin Pope, Principal of Meadow Heights PS in Melbourne. The interview was conducted by Lorraine Wilson and Jacinta Cashen for the Say No To NAPLAN group. It is one of several papers recently published by Say No To NAPLAN. The full set of papers is available on the Literacy Educators’ Coalition website. Continue reading “A Principal Speaks Out on NAPLAN”

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.

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