Private Schools Continue to Have a Massive Resource Advantage Over Public Schools

Data from the OECD’s Programme for International Assessments (PISA) in 2018 confirm everyday impressions of the vast gap in the resources of public and private schools in Australia. They show that private schools have far more, and better quality, teacher and physical resources than public schools. Despite the fact that public schools enrol over 80% of the most disadvantaged students, they are constrained by a lack of education resources.

While class sizes and student-teacher ratios are similar in public and private secondary schools, public schools have far fewer highly qualified teachers, more teacher shortages, more inadequately qualified teachers, more teacher absenteeism and more shortages of assisting staff than private schools. Much higher proportions of students in public schools have their learning hindered by a lack of educational materials, poor quality educational materials, lack of physical infrastructure and poor quality infrastructure than in private schools. There are also significant differences between the resources available to lower fee and higher fee private schools.

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ACT Public Schools Hit With Funding Cut While Private Schools Got a Massive Funding Increase

The following are the notes and slides of a talk given to the ACT Council of P&C Associations by Trevor Cobbold on 25th of February. It shows that changes in school income and government funding have hugely favoured Catholic and Independent schools over public schools since 2009. In particular, government funding of public schools has been cut while private schools received large increases in funding. Moreover, public schools face further cuts in funding as a result of the bilateral agreement between the Commonwealth and ACT Governments in December 2018. In contrast, private schools will continue to be over-funded under the agreement and as a result of another special funding deal by the Commonwealth

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The Federal Government Has a National Responsibility to Fund Public Education

The call by the former head of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Martin Parkinson, for the Federal Government to hand over all responsibility for school funding to the States would have disastrous consequences for the nation. If pursued, it will only ever apply to public schools because the Coalition and Labor will never agree to ending the Federal role in funding private schools. Ending Federal funding for public schools would undermine national education, social and economic goals,

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New Figures Show Huge Funding Increases for Private Schools & Cuts to Public Schools

The following is a summary of a new Education Research Paper published by Save Our Schools. The full paper can be downloaded below.

New figures show that government (Commonwealth and State) funding increases massively favoured private schools over public schools between 2009-10 and 2017-18. Government funding for private schools increased by $1,779 per student, adjusted for inflation, while funding for public schools was cut by $49 per student. The increase for private schools was 18.9% while funding for public school students was cut by 0.4%.

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Low SES Schools Have Far Less Resources than High SES Schools

The following is a summary of a new Education Research Paper published by Save Our Schools. The paper can be downloaded below.

New data from the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2018 show that Australia allocates more and better quality teacher and physical resources to socio-economically advantaged secondary schools than to disadvantaged schools. The gaps are amongst the largest out of 36 countries in the OECD. The highest performing countries in the OECD generally allocate resources more equitably between low and high SES secondary schools.

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Call for Private Schools to Pay Local Government Rates

Private schools should pay rates according to the Municipal Association of Victoria. It claims that local councils are missing out on millions of dollars in revenue because private schools are exempted from paying rates. It says the exemptions are unfair and inequitable as other ratepayers must pay more to cover the revenue loss. 

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OECD Says 3 in 4 Australian Students Do Not Try on PISA Tests

One factor not considered in the commotion over the continuing decline in Australia’s PISA results is whether students try their best on the tests. The OECD’s own report on PISA 2018 shows that about three in four Australian students and two-thirds of students in OECD countries did not try their hardest on the tests. There are also wide differences between countries. It has potentially explosive implications for the validity of international comparisons of student achievement based on PISA.

The PISA data also shows increasing student dissatisfaction with school which likely contributes to lack of effort on tests and is a factor, among others, behind Australia’s declining results. There is also a perplexing contradiction between Australia’s declining PISA results and its improving Year 12 results. Lack of effort in PISA may partly explain this because performance on PISA has no consequences for students as they don’t even get their individual results. In contrast, Year 12 outcomes affect the life chances of students and even students dissatisfied with school have greater incentive to try harder. The fact that Australia’s Year 12 results have improved significantly since the early 2000s raises further questions about the reliability of the PISA results.

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School Spending Cuts Lead to Declines in Student Achievement

A new study has found that recession-induced spending cuts in school education in the United States led to declines in student achievement, particularly in school districts serving economically disadvantaged and minority students. It is the second study in recent years showing the effect of spending cuts and the 27th study since 2015 showing that school expenditure has a significant effect on student achievement.

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The Facts About School Funding in the Northern Territory

Total government funding of Northern Territory private schools adjusted for inflation (“real funding”) increased massively between 2009 and 2017 while funding for public schools was cut. Even during the Gonski funding period of 2013-2017 the funding increases for private schools were 20-30 times that for public schools.

The NT Government took the opportunity of increased Commonwealth funding for public schools to massively cut its own real funding of public schools.

Government funding increases have been badly mis-directed in favouring private schools. About 83% of disadvantaged students in the Northern Territory are in public schools and 88% of disadvantaged schools are public schools.

Under the new Commonwealth/Northern Territory funding agreement, NT public schools will continue to be badly under-funded to 2023 and beyond while private schools will be nearly fully funded by 2023.

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New Study Shows that Increased Funding Improves Student Outcomes

The evidence that increased expenditure on schools improves student outcomes continues to accumulate. Yet another study has found that it increases test scores, reduces drop-out rates and increases tertiary education enrolments.

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