A Guide to Research on Vouchers

School vouchers have devastating effects on student outcomes. Full stop. .

Large-scale independent studies in D.C.,IndianaLouisiana, and Ohio show that for kids who left public schools, harmful voucher impacts actually meet or exceed what the pandemic did to test scores. That’s also a similar impact in Louisiana to what Hurricane Katrina did to student achievement back in 2005.

Think about that next time you hear a politician or activist claim we need taxpayer support for private schools to offset what the pandemic did to student learning. Here, their cure would in test score terms be quite literally worse than the disease.

Continue reading “A Guide to Research on Vouchers”

Our Public Schools in Crisis

Public schools in Victoria as we have known them for so long no longer exist. I never thought I would see the day when that fundamental and unique pillar of strength of the public education system, systemic collegiality and team work would be dismantled. It devastates me to see the growing evidence, almost daily, of a dog-eat-dog culture springing up across the public system.

It isn’t new news to anyone that we are experiencing a teacher shortage of disturbing levels, levels I’ve not witnessed in my fifty plus years in Victorian public schools. What is new, are the desperate measures to which principals are turning to attract and retain staff. wage and work conditions inducements, are being dangled in front of teachers, either to lure them out of their existing positions or have them change their minds after accepting an appointment at another school, days and even hours after doing so.

Continue reading “Our Public Schools in Crisis”

Media Release: Victoria is a Failed Eductaion State

The public education group, Save Our Schools, today called on candidates in the state election to commit to fully funding public schools. National Convenor, Trevor Cobbold, said “far from being the education state, Victoria is a failed education state”.

“It was a premature step by the Andrews Government to change Victorian car number plates to read ‘The Education State’. The latest NAPLAN school results show this to be a mistake; the number plates should say: ‘A Failed Education State.’

“Victoria is a failed education state because it has failed disadvantaged students and public schools. Funding failures are a key contributor to the education failure.

“Successive Commonwealth and Victorian governments have failed to fully fund public schools with the result that they are vastly under-funded to meet the learning needs of disadvantaged students, over 80% of whom attend public schools.

Continue reading “Media Release: Victoria is a Failed Eductaion State”

Public Education – A problem for the ALP

One major problem the ALP has to face is the state of public education.  The new Federal Government may be able to shift some blame on to the Coalition for the current shameful conditions. However, they are in a bind, if they seek to redress these problems they will face substantial electoral backlash, the majority of swing voters have already left the public sector.  A further problem is that the geneses of these current conditions lies at the feet of the Rudd/Gillard ALP Governments. 

Continue reading “Public Education – A problem for the ALP”

If Australia wants to improve school outcomes, we need to define what ‘equity’ really means

Last week, the Productivity Commission released a major report on how to improve Australia’s school and university sectors. “Education is ripe for disruption”, deputy chair Alex Robson said.

The commission suggests longer schooldays, online classes taught by qualified teachers, and streaming students into ability groups to improve Australia’s educational performance.

But while these ideas may work well for some students, they won’t necessarily work for all.

If Australia is serious about improving its education system, we need to look at improving the whole system, for all students. This means we need a clear definition of what equity means for schools.

Continue reading “If Australia wants to improve school outcomes, we need to define what ‘equity’ really means”

Stop the Stage 3 Tax Cuts for the Rich

Save Our Schools today called on the Albanese Government to ditch the Stage 3 tax cuts for the rich. SOS National Convenor, Trevor Cobbold, said the tax cuts are indefensible when public education and other services face a funding crisis. “New economic studies show that the tax cuts will only serve to boost inequality without any economic benefit”.

“The tax cuts will cost $243 billion over the next ten years according to new estimates by the Parliamentary Budget Office and over $150 million will go to the top 20% of income earners. This massive windfall for the richest people in Australis will exacerbate inequality and those most in need will be denied key services.

Continue reading “Stop the Stage 3 Tax Cuts for the Rich”

The Purpose of Education

I find it hard to think of a time when the management of the education of our children is in such disarray.  Recent announcements by the NSW Minister for Education and I assume endorsed by her senior bureaucrats have exposed what I believe to be a level of incompetence not previously experienced by the teaching profession.  The implementation of an increased level of the supervision of teachers’ and schools’ performance implies that they are not of ‘quality’ resulting in the unrealistic and inconsequential levels of accreditation, the purpose of which seems to reflect a complete distrust of the teaching profession.  The latest initiative is to provide lesson plans to support the teachers, perhaps the most ill-informed and insulting policy I have seen.

Continue reading “The Purpose of Education”

New Plan to Solve Teacher Shortage Ignores Root Causes

Last Friday, Australia’s state and federal education ministers met with emotional teachers, who spoke of working on weekends and Mothers’ Day to cope with unsustainable workloads – and how they were thinking about leaving the profession.

This was part of their first meeting hosted by the federal minister Jason Clare. The top agenda item was the teacher shortage.

Continue reading “New Plan to Solve Teacher Shortage Ignores Root Causes”

Behind the News – The Decline of Public Education

The NSW Education Minister’s idea that the offer of an increase in pay would solve the complete systems failure of NSW’s Public School’s education department reveals her inability to grasp even the fundamental problems facing our schools; the inadequacies that exist have reached crisis point.  There are many obvious explanations of what is wrong primarily the insufficient funding which Trevor Cobbold from the Save Our Schools public schools advocacy group persistently identifies.  Another evident problem is the exhausting, non-teaching duties and administrative workload that has grown in recent years.  It would seem, if the political will existed these problems could be easily solved.  However, the contemporary education bureaucracy is underpinned by a faulty belief system that is the corner stone of all public services, the dependence on the principles of neoliberalism.

Continue reading “Behind the News – The Decline of Public Education”

A Letter to Parents on NSW Teachers’ Strike

The following is a letter to parents from the NSW Teachers’ Federation on the forthcoming strike by teachers.

Every day across NSW, children are missing out because of a lack of teachers. It’s an unacceptable situation affecting public and private schools. Children can’t put their education on hold and wait for this to be fixed. They have a right to be taught by a fully qualified teacher today and every day. This is why teachers and principals have made the difficult decision to go on strike on Wednesday, May 4.

Continue reading “A Letter to Parents on NSW Teachers’ Strike”