Integration of Private Schools in the Public System Would Deepen Structural Failure

A new paper published by the Gonski Institute for Education recommends integration of private schools into the public system. It sees this as a key solution to the increasing inequity and social segregation which is described as a “structural failure” of education in Australia. But, far from solving structural failure, this proposal will deepen it and further deny the Gonski vision that education outcomes should not reflect differences in the socio-economic background of students. Integration of private schools in the public system will not increase equity in education.

The proposal to bring private schools into the public system and fund them as public schools will provide another massive boost to government funding of private schools and increase social segregation with all its attendant costs to society. It is also highly unrealistic and fails to specify the conditions under which private schools could be integrated with the public system. It ignores evidence that other systems that fully fund Catholic schools are also highly inequitable.

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Private Schools Over-Funded by $6 Billion: Public Schools Under-Funded by $60 Billion

New research by Save Our Schools shows that private schools will be over-funded by $6 billion from 2021 to 2029 under current funding arrangements while public schools will be under-funded by nearly $60 billion. SOS national Convenor, Trevor Cobbold, said that the new figures show that school funding in Australia is heavily biased against public schools.

“The Morrison Government has abandoned all pretence at funding private schools according to need and it has washed its hands of ensuring that public schools are fully funded. Private schools are lavishly funded while public schools are starved of funds needed to make a difference for the vast majority of disadvantaged students.

“The blatant favouring of privilege over disadvantage is unconscionable. Australia has one of the most inequitable education systems in the OECD. Achievement gaps between rich and poor are huge because preferential funding of private schools gives them a massive human and material resource advantage.”

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Over-Funding of Private Schools to Increase While Public Schools Remain Under-Funded

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

The current school funding arrangements are heavily biased against public schools. Private schools will be over-funded by $6 billion to 2029 while public schools will be under-funded by nearly $60 billion.

The over-funding of private schools will occur because they will be funded at over 100% of their Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) until at least 2029. In contrast, public schools will only be funded at 91% of their SRS at best.

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Beware False Idols of Education Excellence

The international PISA tests have become “false idols of educational excellence for the world to worship”. They have extraordinary status and influence. Education systems and even nations are judged by test scores and rankings that are assumed to be accurate measures of achievement. A primary assumption is that all students always try their best. A growing literature shows this to be false.

The OECD report on PISA 2018 found that over two-thirds of students in the OECD did not fully try on the tests. Eighty per cent of students in Germany did not fully try as did 79% of students in Denmark and Canada and 78% in Switzerland. Some 73% of Australian and New Zealand students did not fully try. In contrast, 46% of Korean students and 60% of Japanese students did not fully try. This variation calls into question the validity of league tables of countries based on PISA results.

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Morrison’s Private School Funding Model Ignores the Bank of Mum and Dad

Private schools will receive $130 billion in funding by the Commonwealth Government over the next 8 years – $73 billion for Catholic schools and $57 billion for Independent schools. It constitutes massive over-funding by the taxpayer because the Morrison Government’s funding model ignores a major source of family income used to assess the financial need of private schools.

Commonwealth funding of private schools is determined by family income, but it ignores income received from the Bank of Mum and Dad which pays school fees directly and indirectly through a myriad of supplements to family income. As a result, the capacity of private school parents to pay school fees is vastly under-estimated and private schools are massively over-funded by taxpayers.

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Public Schools are as Good as Private Schools

The widespread perception that private schools deliver better results than public schools has taken another blow. A new study of NAPLAN results shows that public schools do as well as private schools after differences in socio-economic background of students are considered. This is despite the large resource advantage of private schools.

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Does Education Technology Improve Learning?

In recent years, use of information and communications technology in classroom learning has increased massively. A new paper published in the Journal of Economic Literature provides a comprehensive review of studies of the impact of new technology on learning. It finds that some education technologies contribute to the development of cognitive and non-cognitive skills in some circumstances and some are not as successful. It recommends more detailed research on the mechanisms by which these technologies can improve learning and in what education situations.

The overall results of the review suggest that educators and policy makers should exercise considerable caution in selecting education technology products and not be seduced by the marketing campaigns of education technology companies. Relatively few education technology products have been thoroughly evaluated for learning and cost effectiveness. Educators need support in deciding which products offer the most potential for meeting for the learning needs of their school and classroom. Inadequate discrimination in the adoption of products can be highly wasteful financially and fail to improve learning.

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Gonski Gone: Morrison Abandons Public School Students

With its blatant favouritism of funding Catholic and Independent schools to the detriment of public schools, which educate over 80% of disadvantaged students, the Morrison Government has completed the demolition of the Gonski funding model that began with the Abbott and Turnbull Governments.

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Funding Gap Between Public and Private Schools Will Accelerate Over the Next Decade

Commonwealth Government funding of schools is now a complete schemozzle. The Morrison Government has abandoned public schools and blatantly favoured private schools with billion-dollar special deals. These deals will accelerate the funding gap between public schools and private schools over the next decade.

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Education Resource Gaps in Australia Remain Amongst the Largest in the World

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

Disadvantaged students in Australia are being denied equal opportunities to learn because they face far more shortages of teachers and material resources than advantaged students. The gaps in access to education resources between advantaged and disadvantaged schools in Australia, between rural and city schools and between public and private schools are huge. Not only are they amongst the largest in the OECD but they are also amongst the largest in the world. This is totally unacceptable for a country that regards itself as egalitarian.

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