New Figures Show States Have Cut Funding to Public Schools

New figures show that government funding increases have massively favoured private schools over public schools across Australia since 2009. Total government funding per student in public schools was cut between 2009 and 2016 while large funding increases were provided to Catholic and Independent schools. Even during the Gonski funding period of 2013-2016 funding increases for private schools far outstripped the increase for public schools.

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Another Failure of Govt Oversight of Private Schools

A report published last week by the Auditor-General found that the Department of Education has failed to ensure that the Catholic and Seventh-Day Adventist school systems are accountable for the way the spend Government funding. It said that the Department does not know how these systems distribute taxpayer funding to their member schools. The report also said that the Department has failed to adequately verify enrolments for funding purposes and monitor the governance of private schools.

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Funding Increases Benefit Low Income Students

There is now a mountain of evidence that increased funding for low income and other disadvantaged students improves student results. The latest evidence comes from a study published in the April issue of the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics. It found that legislative reforms in the United States that led to increases in funding in low income school districts resulted in large increases in student achievement. Continue reading “Funding Increases Benefit Low Income Students”

More Compelling Evidence That Increased Funding Improves School Outcomes

There is an abundance of evidence that money matters in education, especially for disadvantaged students. In the last four months alone, seven new studies were published on school funding and student outcomes. Six showed that increasing funding improves school outcomes and another one showed that school funding cuts reduce student achievement.

These studies complement six others in the preceding 18 months showing that increases in school funding improve student results. Numerous other studies in earlier years produced similar results. The studies provide compelling evidence of the worth of targeting funding increases to meet the learning needs of disadvantaged students. Continue reading “More Compelling Evidence That Increased Funding Improves School Outcomes”

Who is for teaching?

What conclusion can be drawn from the Turnbull government’s announcement that a national review of teacher registration, will examine ways in which the process for becoming a teacher around Australia will be streamlined in order to make it easier for people in the trades and other professions to switch careers? It begs the question of why aren’t teachers being encouraged to rapidly retrain as tradies, nurses or for other professions, to fill skill shortages in rural Australia? Continue reading “Who is for teaching?”

League Tables Create Incentives for Schools to Rig Their Results

National literacy and numeracy tests will now have ‘high stakes’ attached to them as a result of the decision of Australian education ministers, at the initiative of the Rudd Government, to publish the results of individual schools.

It means that league tables are now inevitable in Australia. This will put schools under enormous pressure to maintain reputations and enrolments. The future of some schools will also be threatened because the Prime Minister has stated that sanctions will be applied to schools that don’t improve their performance. Continue reading “League Tables Create Incentives for Schools to Rig Their Results”

ACT Private Schools Have the Mother of All Special Deals

The Turnbull Government promised to eliminate all special deals for private schools under its Gonski 2.0 funding plan. However, new data released through Senate Estimates reveal that the $58 million adjustment fund for ACT private schools announced last year is the mother of all special deals. It will increase the already massive overfunding of several highly advantaged private schools in Canberra and delay, or postpone indefinitely, reductions in over-funding. Continue reading “ACT Private Schools Have the Mother of All Special Deals”

New Study Undermines Case for a Year 1 Phonics Test

A new study comprehensively refutes the claim that phonetics is little used in teaching reading in Australian schools. It shows that the large majority of teachers in Australian primary schools use a combination of methods in teaching reading, including phonetics.

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Teach for Australia Fails in its Mission

An evaluation report on the fast-track teacher training program, Teach for Australia (TFA), raises serious questions about the effectiveness of the program. It shows that TFA teachers are not being placed in genuinely disadvantaged schools and a high proportion leave teaching within three years of completing the program. It calls for changes to increase retention such as longer placement lengths, or incentives for TFA teachers to stay in disadvantaged classrooms. There are also serious questions about the cost effectiveness of TFA and its impact on student outcomes.

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Community Schools Are a Successful Strategy for School Improvement

Community schools can be a successful strategy for improving schools according to a new review of research studies and program evaluations. It found strong evidence that well-implemented community schools contribute to school improvement, particularly in the case of high-poverty schools. It is a strategy that should be considered by the Gonski review on how funding should be used to improve school performance and student achievement.

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