Public Schools Face a Funding Crisis; Private Schools Are in Clover

Government funding increases continue to massively favour private schools over public schools according to new figures published by the Australian Curriculum, Reporting and Assessment Authority (ACARA). As a result, Catholic and Independent schools are far better resourced than public schools in every state even though public schools enrol over 80% of all disadvantaged students and 95% of all disadvantaged schools are public schools. This funding trend is set to continue under current funding arrangements and more special deals for private schools from the Morrison Government. This is a recipe for continuing educational, social and economic inequality.

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Turnbull Exposes Rorting of School Funding by Catholic Church

In his recently published memoirs, Malcolm Turnbull thoroughly exposes the hypocrisy of Catholic education authorities in diverting taxpayer funding intended for poor schools to subsidise rich inner-city schools. In doing so, he exposed his own hypocrisy by allowing them to continue to do so under his Gonski 2.0 funding model.

Turnbull says:

I felt too many of the Church leaders were more interested in defending their system and resisting accountability than in fulfilling Jesus’ mission to the poor.

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Too Many Classes are Taught by Out-of-Field Teachers

Many Year 10 students in Australia are being taught key subjects by unqualified teachers according to a major new study. It found that 15.5% of Year 10 classes are being taught by teachers out of their field of expertise. Twenty per cent of mathematics classes and 21% of English classes are taught out-of-field. The study found that 12.5% of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) classes are being taught out-of-field. This is likely an under-estimate because of inadequate data on science teaching.

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New Study Shows that the Social Composition of Schools Strongly Influences School Results

There is extensive research evidence of the impact of family background on student results. Many studies from the United States, the United Kingdom, the OECD and Australia also show a school socio-economic composition (SEC) effect whereby students attending schools with a high concentration of students from poor families tend to have lower results than students from similar backgrounds attending schools with higher proportions of students from well-off backgrounds.

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US Court Rules a Fundamental Right to Education

In a ground-breaking decision last week, the US Court of Appeals ruled that the US Constitution “provides a fundamental right to a basic minimum education” for all students and that the “Supreme Court has recognized that basic literacy is foundational to our political process and society”. The decision makes it clear that public education has a critical role in providing the right to a basic education.

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The Coalition Govt Sabotaged the Gonski Funding Model

The following is the conclusion of a Working Paper published by Save Our Schools on the sabotage of the Gonski funding model by the Coalition Government. The paper can be downloaded below.

Comments on the paper are invited. Notification of issues not covered and mistakes of fact, analysis and interpretation will be appreciated. Please excuse any remaining typos and repetitions. Comments can be sent to the Save Our Schools email address: saveourschools690@gmail.com

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Increased Spending Improves School Results

A new study published in the Journal of Public Economics found that increased expenditure on schools in low-spending school districts led to significant improvements in student achievement and high school graduation. It adds to the large number of research studies showing that money matters in education.

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Teachers Say There is Too Much Administrative Work & Stress in Schools

Over half of all secondary school teachers in Australia report that they have too much administrative work which takes away time for preparing for classes and is a major source of stress.  A quarter of teachers say they experience a lot of stress at school. These are amongst the highest percentages in the OECD. They are significant factors behind teachers leaving the profession. These are significant factors behind teachers leaving the profession.

Australian teachers also have less professional autonomy over classroom content and assessment than in other OECD countries, but there is more professional collaboration in Australian schools. However, a majority of teachers do not believe their profession is valued by society.

These are key results from the OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS), an international survey of school teachers, school leaders and the learning environment in schools released this month. The report provides important insights into the state of the teaching profession in Australia and other countries.

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Morrison’s $3.4 Billion Increase for Private Schools is Another Special Deal

The report by the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee on moving to a direct income measure of assessing the capacity to contribute of families in private schools contains a bombshell. It unequivocally shows that the financial cost of the move to a direct income measure has never been properly calculated by the Government. The additional funding for private schools of $3.2 billion (now $3.4 billion) promised by the Government is just another special deal plucked out of thin air.

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New Method of Assessing Financial Need of Private Schools Has Major Flaws

At the end of February the Senate referred the provisions of the Australian Education Amendment (Direct Measure of Income) Bill 2020 to the Education and Employment Legislation Committee for inquiry and report. The Bill provides for a new measure of capacity to contribute by families to private schools, adjusted taxable income, to replace the area-based socio-economic status method introduced in 2001.

The submission by Save Our Schools highlights major flaws in the new measure and makes 13 recommendations to the Senate Committee. It can be downloaded below.

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