Last Thursday, the Federal Minister for Education, Christopher Pyne, misled the Parliament about OECD research on school autonomy. He told the Parliament that OECD and domestic research “shows that school autonomy has a major impact on school outcomes for students” even though the OECD’s PISA 2012 report issued two days earlier clearly shows that the form of school autonomy Pyne is pushing has no impact on student outcomes. Continue reading “Pyne Misled Parliament on School Autonomy Evidence”
Top Federal Education bureaucrats found themselves without a leg to stand on in Senate Estimates last week as Greens Senator, Penny Wright, thoroughly exposed their lack of evidence to support school autonomy. The Senator’s close questioning left them squirming and their only responses were to dissemble and resort to statements of faith. Continue reading “Bureaucrats in Nowhere Land on School Autonomy”
Christopher Pyne has used highly selective and misleading evidence to support his claim that greater school autonomy for independent public schools will improve school outcomes. He ignores overwhelming national and international evidence that indicates his project to make government schools more like private schools as a way to improve outcomes is doomed to fail. Continue reading “Pyne Misleads on School Autonomy 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”
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”
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”
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 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.
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.
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”