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”

Market-Based Education Policies in the US Have Failed to Increase Student Results

A review of market-based education “reforms” in the United States has found that they have not delivered the success promised. The report found that test scores increased less, and achievement gaps grew more, in cities that introduced comprehensive market reforms compared to other urban districts. Continue reading “Market-Based Education Policies in the US Have Failed to Increase Student Results”

The Market in Education has Failed in Sweden

Sweden is the latest model for those advocating markets in education as the way to improve school results. It provides the model for so-called “free schools” being introduced in England by the UK Coalition Government.

Professor Henry Levin, distinguished economist and director of the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York, recently gave a presentation to a conference convened by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to review the evidence about the effects of vouchers in education, which were introduced in Sweden in 1992.

Professor Levin has provided the following summary of his presentation. It was originally published on Diane Ravitch’s blog. Professor Levin’s powerpoint presentation can be downloaded from the blog.

Continue reading “The Market in Education has Failed in Sweden”

Symposium on Applying Market Principles to Education

The Swedish Academy of Sciences held an international symposium on the ideas and consequences of market principles in education earlier this month. It covered two themes: consequences of school choice for the efficiency and equity of schooling; and the consequences of market principles for systems of governance, accountability and the teaching professions.

Several papers were presented by internationally renowned scholars. Here are short summaries of some of the papers. Continue reading “Symposium on Applying Market Principles to Education”

Garrett Admits There is Little Evidence to Support School Autonomy

The Federal Minister for Education, Peter Garrett, yesterday completely undermined his own $500 million school autonomy program with a stunning admission in a letter published in the Australian Financial Review. He said:

“…there is little, if any, evidence to suggest overseas experiments like charter schools or student vouchers would lead to better education results.”

Charter schools are independent public schools in the United States. They are the archetype of school autonomy. They are able to hire and dismiss staff, determine staff working conditions, the school schedule, determine their own curriculum and teaching methods, and to decide how to allocate their budgets.

Continue reading “Garrett Admits There is Little Evidence to Support School Autonomy”

OECD Education Director Says ‘Autonomy Can Work Against You’

The deputy director for education at the OECD, Andreas Schleicher, has warned that “autonomy can work against you” by reducing collaboration between schools. He says that academies – independent public schools in England – risk reducing co-operation between schools and creating a wider gap between the best and worst performing schools. Continue reading “OECD Education Director Says ‘Autonomy Can Work Against You’”

More Collaboration is Needed to Counter the Damage by School Autonomy

School autonomy is a threat to the spread of best practice teaching and learning between schools according to a submission to the Senate inquiry on teaching and learning by Save Our Schools (SOS). National convenor, Trevor Cobbold, said school autonomy creates incentives not to share good practice which need to be countered by promoting more collaboration between schools. Continue reading “More Collaboration is Needed to Counter the Damage by School Autonomy”

School Autonomy Allows Schools to Fall Through the Gap

A second report in a week by the UK House of Commons has criticised the effect of school autonomy in England. The Public Accounts Committee issued a report saying problems in schools are going unnoticed because of a lack of oversight of schools under the autonomy regime. It has “allowed some schools to fall through the gap” and failure to go “unnoticed”.

Continue reading “School Autonomy Allows Schools to Fall Through the Gap”