A major new study of school choice in England has found that it compounds the social divide in education. Whilst parents do not admit to choosing schools on the basis of their social composition, this happens in practice. Continue reading “School Choice Increases the Social Divide in Education”
The future for Australia was on show this week as England went through its annual ritual hunt for the worst performing schools in the country.
Following publication of primary school test results on a government website, league tables of the best and worst schools in England were published by all the major newspapers. Continue reading “Annual Ritual Naming and Shaming of Schools is Gillard’s Future for Australia”
Government claims that the neighbourhood school is obsolete and that most students do not attend their local school are refuted by the Government’s own enrolment data.
The Minister for Education has argued that large numbers of families have deserted the neighbourhood school.
…the majority of students now do not walk to school. Approaching 50 per cent of students in our public system in fact do not even attend their local school and go past often eight or ten other government schools to attend a particular school that their parents have chosen or that they have chosen. So I think it is already the case that parents and students are making the choice not to attend local schools. [Hansard, 16 August 2006]
The Minister has also argued that the neighbourhood school is a relic of the sixties and seventies and that it does not now reflect the modern day realities of Canberra and the way in which parents and students are making choices about which school to attend [Hansard, 16 August 2006].
These claims are incorrect. The Minister for Education has mislead the Legislative Assembly and the public about the extent to which students attend a government school other than their local school.
The fact is that the large majority of families continue to support their local school. According to 2006 enrolment data, 64 per cent of primary school students are attending their local neighbourhood school.
It is also relevant to note that in the secondary sector, 62 per cent of students attend their local high school and 63 per cent of college students attend their local college. These figures are similar to those of ten years ago; the high school figure is slightly down on that of 1996, while that for colleges has increased slightly.
Furthermore, only about half of the primary schools proposed for full closure retain less than 50 per cent of the resident PEA students. Several primary schools proposed for closure retain an above average proportion of resident PEA students: for example, Gilmore (66%), Giralang (70%) and Holt (67%).
Several of the schools that retain less than 50% of the resident PEA students meet particular needs of the local community in that they have a large proportion of low SES, Indigenous and SWD students: for example, Melrose, Mt. Neighbour, Rivett and Village Creek. Nearly all the schools proposed for part closure and which retain less than 50% of the resident PEA students also serve particular needs of the local community.
Thus, contrary to the claims of the ACT Government, the neighbourhood school still serves an important role in the local community and is supported by the large majority of families.
The ACT Government and the Liberal Opposition want to give principals in government and Catholic schools discretion to suspend students for longer without higher level approval. They ignore extensive research evidence that longer suspensions are ineffective and counter-productive.Continue reading “Longer Student Suspensions are Ineffective”
There is little research evidence to show that reporting school results leads to better student performance according to Peter Hill, the newly-appointed chief executive of the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority. His admission is a fatal blow to the case for publishing school results. Continue reading “ACARA Head Admits There is Little Evidence for Reporting School Results”
Friday October 23, 2009
Just as Australia is introducing reporting of school test results and the inevitable league tables that will follow, a major review of the primary curriculum in England has issued damning conclusions on the impact of standardized tests and league tables. Continue reading “League Tables Damned by Major UK Report”
The education times are a-changing in the United States, but Julia Gillard is way behind the curve. Just as she embarks on her mission to transplant US style market-based education reforms in Australia their failure to deliver improved student outcomes is conceded by even their most trenchant advocates. Continue reading “Gillard Has Her Head in the Sand on Testing and Reporting”
Sunday October 11, 2009
A testing expert has made some devastating criticisms of the reliability of school test results to be published later this year or early next year. Continue reading “School Results Fail to Measure Up”
The latest results from the National Assessment Program for Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) generated a wave of self-congratulation from Education Ministers around Australia which should be qualified.
While student achievement remains high, there has been little improvement in recent years and there is a large gap in the results of rich and poor students. Reducing this gap is the greatest challenge facing Australian education. Continue reading “Student Results in Australia are High, but Very Unequal and not Improving”
The school reporting system so admired by Julia Gillard has been exposed as a massive fraud against the public, families and students in New York City. Continue reading “The New York Fraud”