School Choice is No Guarantee to Improve Results

School choice does not necessarily deliver better results for students according to a new research brief. The brief reviewed research on various alternatives to public schools in the United States and found that the impact of school choice on student learning generally shows mixed results with studies typically showing little or no difference in overall performance compared to traditional public schools. Continue reading “School Choice is No Guarantee to Improve Results”

Reports Concede the Lack of Evidence for School Autonomy

The Federal Government, Labor and Coalition state and territory governments and the Federal Opposition all support greater school autonomy over staffing and budgets. They claim that it will lead to better school performance and student achievement. The Business Council of Australia has also put its weight behind school autonomy.

However, the research evidence from New Zealand’s decentralized schools, US charter schools, Sweden’s free schools, England’s academy schools and cross-country studies by the OECD shows no clear evidence that increased school autonomy leads to increased student achievement. The lack of evidence to support school autonomy is increasingly conceded by reports and some commentators in Australia as shown by the following. Continue reading “Reports Concede the Lack of Evidence for School Autonomy”

Independent Public Schools in England are More Socially Selective

UK independent public schools called “free schools” are cherry picking higher income and higher achieving students according to new research published by the Institute of Education at London University.

The research shows that while free schools have opened in disadvantaged neighbourhoods they take fewer poor children (those receiving free meals) than the other local schools. Around 13.5 per cent of students attending primary free schools were eligible for free school meals while 18.3 per cent of students within the neighbourhoods of free schools were eligible. Across the rest of England 15.9 per cent of primary-age children were entitled to free school meals. Continue reading “Independent Public Schools in England are More Socially Selective”

School Autonomy Has Created a Privileged Set of Schools in WA

The Federal Opposition education spokesman, Christopher Pyne, supports the extension of the “independent public schools” (IPS) model of school autonomy operating in Western Australia to other states. He says that some of the greatest success stories have been in low socio-economic status (SES) schools.

However, many low SES schools find it difficult to compete with IPS in attracting and retaining high quality teachers. as these stories from principals of low SES schools in Western Australia attest. The stories show that the IPS model is creating a two-tier education system in terms of staffing. Continue reading “School Autonomy Has Created a Privileged Set of Schools in WA”

Charter Schools Do No Better Than Other Public Schools

Charter schools are generally doing no better than traditional public schools in the United States according to a new national study. Three-quarters of all charter schools are doing no better than traditional schools in reading and 70 per cent are doing no better in mathematics. The study concludes that the greater school autonomy granted to charter schools had little effect on student achievement over time.

Continue reading “Charter Schools Do No Better Than Other Public Schools”

Independent Public Schools Fail to Increase Student Achievement, but Increase Social Segregation

A review of independent public schools in Western Australia has found that they have not increased student achievement but could be developing a two-tiered education system in the state. The review found there is little evidence of changes to student outcomes, attendance and behaviour as a result of the introduction of independent public schools.

The great promise of school autonomy is that it will deliver increased school outcomes. However, it appears that the WA school autonomy program has so far failed to deliver on this promise. There are also widespread concerns that it is contributing to greater social segregation in public schools in the state.

Continue reading “Independent Public Schools Fail to Increase Student Achievement, but Increase Social Segregation”

Report Reveals that School Autonomy is not Working in WA

School principals in Western Australia are overloaded, under-resourced and lacking in support systems under the new regime of increased autonomy in decision-making according to an independent report. The findings suggest that school autonomy is more about cutting costs than supporting principals and improving education outcomes.

The report shows that principals have not been given the resources to match their increased responsibilities while central and district office support services have been withdrawn. It concluded that the administrative burden on principals is excessive. It says the lack of support systems threatens the achievement of desired education outcomes. Continue reading “Report Reveals that School Autonomy is not Working in WA”

P-TECH Schools are Unproven and Threaten Public Education

This article is summary of a Policy Brief published by SOS on P-TECH schools. The Brief can be downloaded below.

Last year, the Federal Government announced $0.5 million funding for a new type of school in Australia incorporating high school education and two years of tertiary training. It is based on the P-TECH (Pathways in Technology Early College) school in Brooklyn, New York, established by the giant IT multinational IBM and now being rolled out in several US cities. The model is personally endorsed by the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott. Under the proposal, two existing schools in Ballarat and Geelong will be converted into P-TECH schools.

The introduction of P-TECH schools is proceeding without any evidence that they work and without any open discussion of their implications for the curriculum, how public schools are governed and how education is delivered in the classroom. IBM says that the new schools will replicate the New York model but it appears to be incompatible with the provisions of the Victorian Education and Training Act relating to school councils and curriculum development and accreditation and with the national curriculum for Years 9 & 10. Continue reading “P-TECH Schools are Unproven and Threaten Public Education”

New Study Shows that School Autonomy Increases the Gap Between Top and Bottom Students

A new study has found that school autonomy widens the gap between the top and bottom achieving students. It shows that school autonomy has little effect on overall student performance, but has a small positive effect for the top students and no effect on lower achieving students. It adds to the weight of evidence that increasing school autonomy does not work. Continue reading “New Study Shows that School Autonomy Increases the Gap Between Top and Bottom Students”

Senate Education Committee Rebuffs Govt & Coalition on School Autonomy

The Senate education committee has delivered a major rebuff to the Federal Government and the Coalition on school autonomy. It says that there is no clear evidence that greater school autonomy leads to better student performance and recommends more research on its impact.

Both the Federal Government and the Opposition have made school autonomy a key part of their education policies. However, the report is a severe embarrassment to the Coalition spokesman on education, Christopher Pyne, because he has put school autonomy at the centre of the Coalition’s education policy and a majority of the Senate education committee are Coalition members. Continue reading “Senate Education Committee Rebuffs Govt & Coalition on School Autonomy”