Education Authorities Are Misleading Parents on Withdrawal from NAPLAN Tests

Save Our Schools has accused the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) and other education authorities of actively misleading parents about their right to withdraw their children from the NAPLAN tests. Trevor Cobbold, national convenor of SOS, said that that ACARA’s information brochure for parents on NAPLAN gives the impression that the tests are mandatory. Continue reading “Education Authorities Are Misleading Parents on Withdrawal from NAPLAN Tests”

The Finnish Way of Public Education

These answers to questions about public education in Finland are from Pasi Sahlberg, Director General of the National Centre for International Mobility and Cooperation in Helsinki, Finland, and adjunct Professor at the University of Helsinki and at the University of Oulu. This article was originally published on Pasi Salhberg’s blog on 9 April 2012. Continue reading “The Finnish Way of Public Education”

High SES Catholic Schools are Over-Funded

A new research paper published by Save Our Schools shows that virtually all high SES Catholic combined and secondary schools in Australia are over-funded compared to what they are entitled to according to their socio-economic capacity. Their actual funding per student is higher than the funding rate that applies to their SES score. Other private schools on the same SES scores get much less funding.

The paper challenges claims by Catholic education authorities that they re-distribute funds from high income to disadvantaged Catholic schools. It shows that these claims are misleading and untrue in many cases when actual Federal funding figures on My School are analysed.

Continue reading “High SES Catholic Schools are Over-Funded”

Report Says Wealthy Catholic Schools are Over-Funded

A new research paper published by Save Our Schools (SOS) shows that virtually all high income Catholic combined and secondary schools in Australia are over-funded compared to what they are entitled to according to their socio-economic capacity. SOS National Convenor, Trevor Cobbold, said that the report challenges claims by Catholic education authorities that they re-distribute funds from high income to disadvantaged Catholic schools.

Continue reading “Report Says Wealthy Catholic Schools are Over-Funded”

Public Education Should be Free, Even for the Well-Off

Advocates of the privatisation of public education want a user-pay system in government schools. They reject the basic principle of free, universal provision. Their strategy is to get an initial breach of the principle of free education with means-tested fees for the well-off.

This was proposed recently in an article by Gerard Henderson in the Sydney Morning Herald. If implemented, it would establish a beachhead to make more and more families pay fees in government schools. It would make education subject to capacity to pay and restrict access to education. It would lead to greater privilege, inequity and social segregation in education. It could ultimately reduce the quality of education in public schools.

Continue reading “Public Education Should be Free, Even for the Well-Off”

Gillard Should Go it Alone on Gonski

The Prime Minister’s pointed and repeated refusal to commit, even in principle or in part, to taking up the recommendation of the Gonski review to boost school funding leaves government schools very vulnerable to getting little out of the review. Yet, over-funded private schools will continue to be guaranteed their privileged funding, and many private schools may get even more as the Government goes into an election year. Continue reading “Gillard Should Go it Alone on Gonski”

Just How Independent was the Gonski Review?

A puzzling aspect of the Gonski review of school funding is its adherence to the Government’s stated policy that no school would lose a dollar of funding as a result of the review and the apparent absence of this instruction from the terms of reference of the inquiry. Continue reading “Just How Independent was the Gonski Review?”

Gillard Turns Her Back on the Disadvantaged

The highlight of the Gonski report is its well-founded and important recommendation that Australia needs to spend an additional $5 billion a year on schools, predominantly government schools, so that they can address the issue of disadvantage. When all the figures are finalised, more may be needed, but as the reports says:

Australia must aspire to have a schooling system that is among the best in the world for its quality and equity, and must prioritise support for its lowest performing students. Every child should have access to the best possible education, regardless of where they live, the income of their family or the school they attend. [p. xiv]

The lowlight was that in her response to this vision, the Prime Minister repeatedly and pointedly refused to commit to the additional funding. Instead, she proposed further reviews and community discussions. She did not even promise to provide the funding when the budget was in surplus, as Tony Abbott did when he committed to a dental health care scheme. She simply turned her back on the disadvantaged.

So much for the rhetoric about closing the gap and ensuring that wealth does not determine educational outcomes.

Continue reading “Gillard Turns Her Back on the Disadvantaged”

Gonski Review Should Terminate Funding Bonanza for the Wealthy

The SES funding model is providing millions and millions of dollars in over-funding to many of Melbourne’s more privileged families and schools. In 2011, 20 primary and secondary schools in high income suburbs were over-funded by $43 million (see table below).

Total Federal Government funding for these schools was nearly double what they were entitled to under the SES scheme. Under the scheme they were only entitled to $48.7 million, but instead they got $91.8 million.

Continue reading “Gonski Review Should Terminate Funding Bonanza for the Wealthy”