Handouts for Private School Parents – Arrests for Public School Parents

Australian public education is free, compulsory and secular. Or at least that was the intention of the early colonial rulers whose Public Instruction Acts of the 1880s decreed such to be the case.

Yet it was revealed recently in the South Australian daily paper The Advertiser that thousands of parents have been prosecuted for failing to pay public school fees this year. In fact, 271 parents had been issued arrest warrants for failing to appear in court over the matter.

Arrest warrants?  For failure to pay fees in a supposedly free system??!!

Continue reading “Handouts for Private School Parents – Arrests for Public School Parents”

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?”

Another Faith-Based Statement by Garrett on School Autonomy

The Federal Education Minister, Peter Garrett, has once again failed to provide convincing evidence that greater school autonomy will improve student outcomes. Lacking any compelling evidence for the program, the Minister can only resort to faith that it will make a difference to student results.

Continue reading “Another Faith-Based Statement by Garrett on School Autonomy”

Mapping School Autonomy in Australia: Part 1

This article is the first 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.

Continue reading “Mapping School Autonomy in Australia: Part 1”

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

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School Autonomy is Not the Success Claimed

A review of research studies on school autonomy in several countries published by Save Our Schools says that there is little evidence to support the Federal Government’s Empowering Local Schools program. SOS national convenor, Trevor Cobbold, said that there is little prospect that greater school autonomy will lead to better student results. Continue reading “School Autonomy is Not the Success Claimed”

Testing is Robbing Children of their Childhood and Health

Reports in the world’s media over the last few weeks have told of the immense burden being placed on young children by school tests in cities as far apart as Beijing, New York and Sydney. There was a common thread to the stories – children being robbed of their childhood and their health suffering because of the emphasis now placed on tests in schools. Continue reading “Testing is Robbing Children of their Childhood and Health”

NAPLAN Crowds Out Other Education Goals

When you have simple one dimensional metrics to measure performance people will “game” the outcome.

It is one of the biggest problems that shareholders have in private firms. Many firms prioritise short-term profits over long-term viability (the performance of the financial sector was a great example of this). Continue reading “NAPLAN Crowds Out Other Education Goals”

New Private Schools Use Loophole to Get More Funding

Save Our Schools has accused two Canberra private schools of using a loophole to get extra Federal funding. SOS National Convenor, Trevor Cobbold, said that the two schools will gain $2.4 million in additional funding by establishing new campuses of existing schools rather than for new stand alone schools. Continue reading “New Private Schools Use Loophole to Get More Funding”

What NAPLAN Test Prep Has in Common With Trains Skipping Stations

An interesting article was published in The Age last week about Metro Trains, the privately-owned operator of Melbourne’s suburban rail network. Apparently, Metro has resorted to skipping stations and running unscheduled short services in order to avoid being fined for trains running late. Continue reading “What NAPLAN Test Prep Has in Common With Trains Skipping Stations”