Sweden is often seen as part of a homogeneous Nordic sphere; small cold countries with midnight sun, fair-skinned population, small social democratic idylls with equal free healthcare, good schools and a high standard of living. The reality is never as simple as our prejudices and one of the things that now characterizes Sweden is that we in important areas of society have left the common Nordic tradition of a cohesive school.Continue reading “Sweden: A Failure in Market-Based Education”
The US public school advocacy organisation Public Funds, Public Schools has published a review of recent studies of vouchers in the US. The studies show that private school vouchers have not improved student achievement and have multiple negative effects including exacerbating social segregation in schools. The findings on student achievement are reproduced below. The full review is available here.Continue reading “Private School Vouchers Don’t Improve Student Achievement”
For the past couple of decades, proponents of vouchers for private schools have been pushing the idea that vouchers work.
They assert there is a consensus among researchers that voucher programs lead to learning gains for students – in some cases bigger gains than with other reforms and approaches, such as class-size reduction.
As researchers who study school choice and education policy, we see a new consensus emerging — including in pro-voucher advocates’ own studies — that vouchers are having mostly no effects or negative effects on student learning. As a result, we see a shift in how voucher proponents are redefining what voucher success represents. They are using a new set of non-academic gains that were not the primary argument to promote vouchers.Continue reading “School vouchers expand despite evidence of negative effects”
A new OECD report, Balancing School Choice and Equity, shows that school choice policies have increased social and academic segregation between schools which, in turn, reduced equity in education. Australia is a prime example of the impact of choice on social segregation. School choice has been at the centre of education policy for the last 20 or more years. Australia now has one of the most socially and academically segregated school systems in the OECD and has highly inequitable education outcomes.Continue reading “School Choice Increases Social Segregation and Inequity in Education”
Diane Ravitch has made another devastating critique of market-based education policies in the United States, many of which have been copied by the Gillard Government. Some key excerpts follow. Continue reading “Devastating Critique of US Education Policies”
A new US study has found that vouchers to attend private schools leads to lower student achievement by up to a year or more of learning. It shows that funding disadvantaged students to attend private schools resulted in lower test scores in maths, reading, science and social studies. Continue reading “Study Shows That Vouchers to Attend Private Schools Reduce Student Achievement”
The UK Government promised to ‘unleash greatness’ in English schools with its radical school autonomy plan to convert all schools to independent academies. A new comprehensive review of the experience with academies shows the plan is failing. It concludes that academies are an imperfect way to address the challenges faced by struggling schools and their students and that school autonomy has clear limits as a school reform strategy.
The OECD has issued a damning verdict on education policies that promote competition between schools. Its latest PISA in Focus brief
says bluntly that the PISA international test data shows that more competition has failed to improve student results and has increased social segregation between schools. Continue reading “OECD Says That Competition in Education Has Failed”
Independent public (IP) schools in Western Australia have failed to improve student results according to a new report by a bi-partisan WA parliamentary committee. It also found that the introduction of IP schools has increased inequalities and created a ‘two-tiered’ education system.
The findings are a major blow to Coalition governments around the country which have made increasing school autonomy a central policy plank. Several recent overseas studies have also found little impact from increasing school autonomy over budgets and staffing.
The following is a media release from the ACT Branch of the Australian Education Union (AEU) on the results of a survey of principals and teachers in the 23 schools participating in a pilot project on school autonomy. Continue reading “Teachers and Principals Say School Autonomy Means Cutbacks”