School Choice Means Increased Social Segregation

Last week the Detroit News (24 March 2011) published an analysis of U.S. census and state data showing that school choice leads to greater social segregation between schools. It reveals that many Michigan communities experiencing large increases in African-American population also saw a striking increase in white students leaving their home towns to attend other schools.

The News analysis said that this shift is largely attributed to the schools of choice program operating in Michigan schools. White families are seeking other education options when black families move to previously white dominated suburbs and towns. Continue reading “School Choice Means Increased Social Segregation”

My School 2.0 Misleads on Test Results but Reveals Large Resource Differences between Schools

My School remains highly misleading, unreliable, unfair and harmful to education in its reporting of school test results. It fosters the publication of unfair and misleading school league tables. It encourages schools to cheat and rort their results. It punishes low performing schools by red-flagging them. It is biased against government schools. It harms education by encouraging weeks and months of practising for tests at the expense of other subjects. However, it does reveal huge achievement gaps and resource disparities between disadvantaged government schools and elite private schools. Continue reading “My School 2.0 Misleads on Test Results but Reveals Large Resource Differences between Schools”

What is Equity in Education?

The panel conducting the Review of School Funding inquiry has stated its intention to focus on educational equity as a key issue in its review. It has adopted a sound definition of equity: “…equity should ensure that differences in educational outcomes are not the result of differences in wealth, income, power or possessions”.

A critical question is how this definition should be interpreted. This brief proposes that equity in education should refer to equity in outcomes and incorporate both an individual and a social aspect.

From an individual perspective, equity in education outcomes should mean that all children receive an adequate education. From a social perspective, equity in education should mean that children from different social groups achieve similar average results. However, equity in education outcomes does not mean that all children should be expected to achieve the same results. Continue reading “What is Equity in Education?”

Inequality Persists in Higher Education in Australia

A new paper by academics from the University of Canberra shows that a disproportionately large share of university undergraduates is still drawn from higher socio-economic backgrounds. It concludes that “the benefits of the expansion of higher education appear to have been enjoyed predominantly by women and men from higher socio-economic backgrounds.” Continue reading “Inequality Persists in Higher Education in Australia”

Comprehensive School Systems Do Better Than Selective Systems

A cross-country analysis of the results of the OECD’s 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) shows that school systems which group students by ability tend to have lower overall average results and larger achievement gaps between rich and poor than those that provide for all students regardless on their socio-economic backgrounds. Continue reading “Comprehensive School Systems Do Better Than Selective Systems”

Grattan Institute Report Ignores Disadvantage in Education

A new report published by the Grattan Institute says that millions of dollars are being wasted on class size reductions which would be better spent on improving teacher quality. However, its analysis and policy recommendation are overly simplistic and fail to address the central issue of overcoming the effects of disadvantage in education. Continue reading “Grattan Institute Report Ignores Disadvantage in Education”

Speech on Achievement Gaps and School Funding in Australia

National Convenor of Save Our Schools, Trevor Cobbold, presented a paper on achievement gaps and school funding in Australia to the Annual Conference of the Independent Scholars Association of Australia in Canberra on 14 October.

The paper discusses the extent of achievement gaps between different groups of students, why equity in education matters and shows that the vast majority of educationally disadvantaged students are enrolled in government schools. Given these challenges, government schools are severely under-resourced compared to private schools. Yet, the largest increases in government funding have gone to private schools over the past decade.

Continue reading “Speech on Achievement Gaps and School Funding in Australia”

Students from Disadvantaged Schools do as well at University as Other Students

Students from disadvantaged schools did as well as those from other government and private schools in first-year subjects at the University of Sydney last year and actually did better than students from all other schools, excluding government selective schools.

Continue reading “Students from Disadvantaged Schools do as well at University as Other Students”