Issues for the School Closure Inquiry

The Education Committee of the ACT Legislative Assembly has announced an inquiry into school closures under the Towards 2020 plan which closed 23 schools in the ACT between 2006 and 2008.

Save Our Schools welcomes the review. It will provide school communities with the opportunity to state their case for re-opening and to review the flawed and inadequate consultation process used by the Minister for Education for the Towards 2020 proposals.

The inquiry will also provide an opportunity to review the process and suggest changes for future consideration of school closures. Hopefully it will lead to changes to the section of the Education Act about consultation on school closures.

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Large Achievement Gaps Revealed in Victorian Schools

A new report by the Victorian Auditor-General on literacy and numeracy achievement in Victorian government schools has cast more light on the achievement gaps between students.

It shows very large achievement gaps between high-achieving and low-achieving students, between students from rich and poor families and between regions in Victoria. It also shows that these achievement gaps have not reduced over the past 10 years.

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New National Education Goals Are Contradictory

The new school year opens this week with new national education goals to follow. Unfortunately, education ministers have set two incompatible goals. They commit to reporting school results and improving equity in education. Inevitably, inequity increases under school reporting. Continue reading “New National Education Goals Are Contradictory”

SOS Policy Brief on the New National Goals for Education

A Policy Brief published by Save Our Schools shows that the new national Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians (the Melbourne Declaration) promulgated by Australian education ministers at the end of 2008 fails on equity.

It fails on two grounds. It weakens the previous national commitment to improve social equity in education and it introduces a new policy commitment on reporting school results which will exacerbate inequities in student outcomes. Continue reading “SOS Policy Brief on the New National Goals for Education”

Gillard Wrong Again on New York

It has to be seriously questioned whether the Federal Education Minister, Julia Gillard, is interested in informed debate on reporting school results. Writing in The Australian (9 January), she asserts incorrectly that the New York City model of school reporting has made a difference to students living in poverty and disadvantage. Continue reading “Gillard Wrong Again on New York”

New study shows that competition and choice do not raise student achievement

At the heart of the Rudd Government’s policy of reporting individual school results is an assumption that competition between schools will raise student achievement. The theory is that reporting school results will better inform parent choice of schools and the competition between schools for enrolments will act as an incentive for schools to improve student achievement. Continue reading “New study shows that competition and choice do not raise student achievement”

Minister Denies Parents Access to Super School

The ACT Minister for Education, Andrew Barr, has unilaterally denied several families access to the new super school in West Belconnen. Many parents have found out less than two months before the Charles Kingsford Smith School is due to open its doors that their children will be unable to attend because it will only take P-7 students for 2009.

The Stanhope Govt has misled the people of West Belconnen. For the past three years, the super-school has been promoted as opening in 2009 as a P-10 school. There has never been any indication that the opening of the school would be phased in. Families have just been told of this now, only two months before the school opens in the New Year.

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Klein Lied to the National Press Club

New York City Schools Chancellor, Joel Klein, was exposed as a dissembler at his National Press Club address in Canberra last week. Under forensic questioning from The Canberra Times’ education reporter, Emma Macdonald, Klein resorted to lies and deceptions to justify his claims of increases in student achievement in New York City schools. Continue reading “Klein Lied to the National Press Club”

The Achievement Gap in Higher Education

A report issued by Universities Australia shows that students from low socio-economic status (SES) backgrounds have much lower rates of participation in higher education in Australia than higher SES students.

Students from low SES backgrounds are under-represented in Australian higher education and are about one-third as likely to participate in higher education as students from high SES backgrounds. Continue reading “The Achievement Gap in Higher Education”