My School: The Sum of All Fears

The imminent teacher boycott of national literacy and numeracy tests gives cause to assess how well the My School website informs comparisons of school quality. Apart from creating incentives to narrow school curriculum and manipulate school test results, a major flaw is that its so-called “like school” comparisons are systematically biased in favour of private schools. Continue reading “My School: The Sum of All Fears”

Rudd and Gillard Make a Cogent Case to Replace the SES Funding Model for Private Schools

Both the Prime Minister and the Education Minister have in the past made strong cogent criticisms of the current SES model for funding private schools. They have both exposed fundamental flaws in the scheme, but have failed to take action on their criticisms. The SES model should be replaced by a fairer scheme. Continue reading “Rudd and Gillard Make a Cogent Case to Replace the SES Funding Model for Private Schools”

Government Funding of Elite Private Schools is an Upper Class Welfare Policy

A new round of fee increases in private schools in 2010 points to the need for an overhaul of Commonwealth Government funding of private schools. Australia’s wealthiest families are being subsidised under private school funding arrangements without regard to need. The Socio-Economic Status (SES) funding model is an upper class welfare policy. Continue reading “Government Funding of Elite Private Schools is an Upper Class Welfare Policy”

Mr. Barr Fiddles the Figures – Yet Again!

Save Our Schools today accused the ACT Minister for Education, Andrew Barr, of misleading use of school enrolment figures to claim success for school closures. SOS convenor, Trevor Cobbold, said that school census figures published last week clearly show that government school enrolments have declined since 2006 while private school enrolments have increased.

Continue reading “Mr. Barr Fiddles the Figures – Yet Again!”

Why Testing Fails: How Numbers Deceive Us All

There is broad agreement, that improving education requires assessing student outcomes, and holding those responsible accountable for the results. But, the use of standardized tests, as a tool for assessment and accountability, has resulted in more disillusionment than improvement. The heavy emphasis on testing mandated by the No Child Left Behind Law, has not lead to the sought after gains in educational outcomes. Continue reading “Why Testing Fails: How Numbers Deceive Us All”

School Daze

The ‘like school’ comparisons on the My School website purport to compare the test results of schools with similar socio-economic student populations. However, like is not consistently compared with like. My School’s measure of the socio-economic status (SES) of schools is systematically biased in favour of private schools when comparing their results with so-called ‘like’ government schools. Continue reading “School Daze”

Call for Public Consultation by ACARA on My School Problems

The public education advocacy group, Save Our Schools, has written to the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) calling on it to invite public submissions on the adverse consequences of My School.

SOS spokesman, Trevor Cobbold, said that it is incumbent on ACARA to act immediately to identify adverse consequences of the school reporting website. Continue reading “Call for Public Consultation by ACARA on My School Problems”

Govt. Blocked Evaluation of the Adverse Consequences of My School

Confidential minutes of a meeting of the national education ministers council reveal that ministers knew there would be adverse consequences from My School, and asked for them to be identified. The decision was never implemented. It appears it was blocked by the Federal Education Minister and her department. Continue reading “Govt. Blocked Evaluation of the Adverse Consequences of My School”

More Evidence of the Failure of Choice and Competition to Improve Student Outcomes

The latest national reading test results for the United States show that school choice, competition and accountability measures have had little impact on student achievement. They have failed to increase average reading scores or reduce achievement gaps. Continue reading “More Evidence of the Failure of Choice and Competition to Improve Student Outcomes”

A Devastating Critique of Choice and Competition in Education by a Former Advocate: Part 1

Diane Ravitch has been one of the most influential voices in American education for the past 30 years. When such a person changes her views it is big news and it has been in the US for the past few weeks. A couple of headlines give the flavour:

Scholars School Reform U-Turn Shakes Up Debate New York Times, 2 March]
Ravitch Recants Long-Held Beliefs Education Week, 10 March]

Continue reading “A Devastating Critique of Choice and Competition in Education by a Former Advocate: Part 1”