This article is reprinted from Larry Cuban’s blog on School Reform and Classroom Practice. Larry is Professor Emeritus of Education at Stanford University. It is an abridged version of a speech to graduates and their families in June 2001. It is just as pertinent today as in 2001.
I have thought a lot about the past 46 years I have spent in education. I have taught in urban high schools and Stanford for many years [in addition to being an administrator]. It is teaching – not administration or scholarship [however] – that has defined me as an adult….
Teaching has permitted me to be a lover of ideas, a performer, a lifelong learner, a historian, a writer, and a friend to former students and colleagues. For these reasons and because at this moment in our nation’s history teachers have moved to the top of the nation’s school reform agenda, I want to comment today on both the exhilarating and troubling aspects of teaching….
Continue reading “What it Means to be a Teacher”
There needs to be a serious conversation about the direction being taken by state governments in Australia to close schools and merge into large single super schools. Parents need to band together and say enough is enough!
Every bad outcome you have imagined for your school merger of up to four schools will come true. You will see an increase and more violent bullying assaults occurring; you will see more wagging, you will have a lowering of expected and academic standards; your children will become numbers and get lost in poor administration; they will be offered more choices that can’t be delivered; many will not form lasting relationships with their teachers and peers; you will be ignored if you try and advocate for your child; students with special needs will be worse off; low-socioeconomic and disadvantaged students will fall through the cracks along with previously above average students; they will be treated like robots encouraged to perform to a level playing field and the ‘so-called’ new well-being programs will fail with teachers unable to cope with the problems the new systems create.
Continue reading “Super-school Chaos”
Sweden is often seen as part of a homogeneous Nordic sphere; small cold countries with midnight sun, fair-skinned population, small social democratic idylls with equal free healthcare, good schools and a high standard of living. The reality is never as simple as our prejudices and one of the things that now characterizes Sweden is that we in important areas of society have left the common Nordic tradition of a cohesive school.
Continue reading “Sweden: A Failure in Market-Based Education”
The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) comes from that part of the ed reform spectrum devoted to free market approaches. But a new report from AEI really pushes the boundaries of treating education as a commodity like a house or a piece of jewelry. Really.
Continue reading “The Commodification Of Education”
The following is a summary of a submission to the
Independent Inquiry on the Teaching Profession in NSW Public Schools. The full
submission can be downloaded below.
The NSW public education system has undergone a huge expansion
in bureaucracy since 2003. There was a massive increase in administrative staff
in schools and in central and regional offices that is many times greater than the
increase in students. Yet, there was only a very small increase in inflation-adjusted
funding per student despite a large increase in disadvantaged students. Expanding
the bureaucracy was prioritised over funding classroom learning and support. As
one former principal told Save Our Schools, it reflects an “increase in roles
orchestrating compliance not teaching, learning and curriculum”.
Continue reading “Funding, Enrolments and Staffing in NSW Public Schools”
The US public school advocacy organisation Public Funds, Public Schools has published a review of recent studies of vouchers in the US. The studies show that private school vouchers have not improved student achievement and have multiple negative effects including exacerbating social segregation in schools. The findings on student achievement are reproduced below. The full review is available here.
Continue reading “Private School Vouchers Don’t Improve Student Achievement”
The following letter was published in the Washington Post yesterday. It has particular relevance because of similar claims from private schools in Australia for a taxpayer bailout.
I was disappointed to learn from the
May 6 Metro article “D.C. prep schools keep
federal loans” that many of the area’s private schools are being
bailed out with taxpayer money. Sidwell Friends School, with only about 1,100
students, received $5 million in bailout money while charging $45,000 in
tuition. If elite private schools cannot keep themselves afloat with that kind
of revenue coming in, then those institutions deserve to go belly up and their
students sent to D.C.-area public schools, where they can get a comparable, if
not superior, education.
These private schools should not be
allowed to be bailed out when our public schools are scrambling to redo their
budgets and our underpaid public school teachers face potential furloughs.
Meanwhile, the largest school district in our area, Fairfax County Public Schools, educates more
than 188,000 students and employs more than 24,000 people. FCPS and other
D.C.-area public schools graduate some of the best talent in the world, while
charging not a cent in tuition.
Districts such as FCPS are mainstays
of the local economy that provide priceless value to local communities through
education and support. Small, endowment-rich private schools have no business
receiving our taxpayer dollars while public school systems around the nation
get left behind.
The US National Education Policy Center and the Education Deans for Justice and Equity have jointly released a Policy Statement on the “Science of Reading”. It is reprinted here in the interests of promoting rational debate.
For the past few years, a wave of media has reignited the unproductive Reading Wars, which frame early-literacy teaching as a battle between opposing camps. This coverage speaks of an established “science of reading” as the appropriate focus of teacher education programs and as the necessary approach for early-reading instruction. Unfortunately, this media coverage has distorted the research evidence on the teaching of reading, with the result that policymakers are now promoting and implementing policy based on misinformation.
Continue reading “Statement on the “Science of Reading” from US Think Tank”
Larry Cuban, Emeritus Professor of Education at Stanford
University, recently drew on his extensive study of technology in education
over many years to draw some key lessons about the use of technology in the
classroom. The following are extracts from his article which is available on his
Continue reading “Lessons Learned From Technology in the Classroom”
The following is a press release issued by the Save Our Schools – No Transition Group in Shepparton, Victoria. It shows that the Shepparton schools merger plan was not formally agreed by all four school councils as required by the School Merger Guidelines.
We have evidence that the Shepparton Education Plan was not formally agreed to by all four school
councils as required by School Merger
Guidelines, prior to the announcement on
19 April, 2018, by Education Minister, James Merlino, that it would proceed.
Despite a requirement that the
motion to accept the model proposed by the Strategic Advisory Committee be
passed at a properly constituted meeting with a quorum, it appears that the
motion was not passed in accordance with School Merger Guidelines and School
An FOI request written in September, 2019 requesting written
advice to the Minister as required by School Merger Guidelines that all four
councils had voted on the plan at a meet ing with a quorum has been completed
and together with existing evidence appears to confirm that two of the four
schools did not pass the motion to
accept the recommendation of the
Strategic Advisory Committee of one school
on one site, based on the schools
within a school model, before the announcement in April 2018. It was not voted
on until months later when it was finally carried.
information is that three of the four schools did not pass the motion prior to
the announcement and it was never voted on by one and later ratified by two.
In fairness to
all concerned parties, this plan needs to be halted until this issue has been investigated
and satisfactorily addressed with adequate consultation with the families of
Greater Shepparton as requested at a public meeting in August, 2019.