A High Quality, Low Equity and Socially Segregated School System

Trevor Cobbold, spokesman for Save Our Schools, recently delivered an address to a forum on the future of public education in the ACT sponsored the ACT Public Education Alliance. The address makes four key points:

  • The ACT schools system has very high quality outcomes, with little difference between the government and private sectors, especially when the different social composition of the sectors is taken into account.
  • School outcomes in the ACT are not improving and, indeed, have declined in some areas over the period of the Stanhope Government.
  • There is extensive individual and social inequity in ACT school outcomes with a large achievement gap between students from low and high income families.
  • There is increasing social segregation in the ACT school system that is reflected in the ongoing drift of enrolments to the private system.

The paper also canvasses some broad policy proposals to address key weaknesses in the ACT school system.

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Report Shows Stanhope Govt. Fails on Education

Save Our Schools said today that the report on student performance in the ACT by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) is a devastating indictment of the performance of the Stanhope Government in education.

SOS spokesperson Trevor Cobbold, said that the report shows that there are large inequities in education outcomes in the ACT and declining student achievement in key areas. Continue reading “Report Shows Stanhope Govt. Fails on Education”

Call to Extend Consultation on Schools Standards Authority

Save Our Schools today called on the Minister for Education to extend the consultation period on the proposed ACT Schools Standards Authority.

SOS spokesman, Trevor Cobbold, said that five weeks is too short for effective community discussion. Continue reading “Call to Extend Consultation on Schools Standards Authority”

Barr’s spin on PC 2008 Report into Government Services

The latest Productivity Commission report, the 2008 Report on Government Services, has been used by Chief Minister Jon Stanhope and Minister for Education Andrew Barr to justify their scorched earth approach to education reform. It’s all in Stanhope’s and Barr’s press releases.

Rather than owning up to the disastrous effects of school closures on schools and their communities, they have used the report (using data from 2006) to justify their ‘reforms’, quoting the higher costs of ACT government services. If Mr Stanhope is to be believed, the still-secret Costello Functional review said the same thing. Can it now be released to the public? Continue reading “Barr’s spin on PC 2008 Report into Government Services”

Education policy fails kids

ACT Greens MLA Deb Foskey has said the ACT Government’s education policy is failing too many Canberra students.

“I congratulate ACT teachers for their efforts towards achieving
excellent achievements for many Canberra students” Dr Foskey said today.

“However, the Greens are concerned about the alarming and growing gap between the achievements of students from high and low income families, as the Productivity Commission’s latest report has made clear.”

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Proposed ACT Schools Standards Authority

The ACT Minister for Education has released a discussion paper on the establishment of an ACT Schools Standards Authority. The proposal is to expand the function of the Board of Senior Secondary Studies to be responsible for establishing and monitoring educational standards from pre-school to Year 12. This could include teacher registration, curriculum frameworks, student achievement standards, registration of private schools and home education. The Authority could also have overarching responsibilities for monitoring the general standards of schooling in the ACT.

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Call to Reduce Chasm between Rich and Poor in School Outcomes

Save Our Schools today called for a major effort to lift school outcomes for disadvantaged students in the ACT. SOS spokesman, Trevor Cobbold, said that the ACT Government had to act in the light new evidence that shows a large and growing achievement gap between students from high and low income families. Continue reading “Call to Reduce Chasm between Rich and Poor in School Outcomes”

Media Release on Cook PS Closure

The Stanhope-Barr so called “Towards 2020” ACT schools policy, which should more accurately be called “Back to 1920”, will close the doors on the vibrant and excellent Cook Primary School and Cook Preschool this Friday.

“Friday 21 December 2007 will be a very emotional day for the Cook schools community,” said Cook P&C media spokesperson Debbie Newton. Continue reading “Media Release on Cook PS Closure”