Disadvantaged Schools Miss Out in Access to Teachers

The following is a summary of a new Education Research paper published by Save Our Schools. It can be downloaded below.

The large gaps in student achievement between advantaged and disadvantaged schools in Australia are well known. What is less well known is that government teacher policies are compounding the gaps by discriminating against disadvantaged schools in their access to teaching resources. Incredibly, Australia allocates more and better teacher resources to socio-economically advantaged schools than to disadvantaged schools.

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Census Data Reveals High Social Segregation in Australian Schools

Analysis of the 2016 Census data shows stark social segregation between public schools on the one hand and Catholic and Independent schools on the other. The analysis by researcher Barbara Preston shows that that social segregation in Australia’s schools has increased markedly over the past 40 years. Students from low income families are highly concentrated in public schools while those from high income families are concentrated in Catholic and Independent schools. Continue reading “Census Data Reveals High Social Segregation in Australian Schools”

Reducing Education Disadvantage Will Increase Individual Well-being and Economic Prosperity

A report by Deloitte Access Economics to the Federal Government has found that increasing student achievement in Australia will have significant individual and economy-wide benefits. It says that a central issue for government is to address disadvantage in education and that school funding must be sufficient to overcome educational disadvantage associated with low socio-economic families and communities.

The study found that increasing student achievement increases education attainment to Year 12 and beyond school and increases wages and the likelihood of employment. It also leads to a more productive workforce and increased economic growth. Continue reading “Reducing Education Disadvantage Will Increase Individual Well-being and Economic Prosperity”

OECD Says Targeted Support Is Essential to Improve Results for Disadvantaged Students and Schools

A new report published by the OECD in December highlights once again the large inequity in school results in Australia and the huge disparity in teacher shortages between advantaged and disadvantaged schools. A large proportion of disadvantaged 15 year-old students do not achieve expected standards and the difference in teacher shortages between advantaged and disadvantaged schools in Australia is the largest in the OECD. The report says that targeted support is essential to improve results for disadvantaged students and schools. Continue reading “OECD Says Targeted Support Is Essential to Improve Results for Disadvantaged Students and Schools”

Large Achievement Gaps Between Advantaged and Disadvantaged Students Continue

New NAPLAN results for 2017 show continuing large achievement gaps between disadvantaged students and those from highly educated families. The gaps have increased between students from highly and lowly educated families since 2008, but have narrowed between high education status students and Indigenous students. Continue reading “Large Achievement Gaps Between Advantaged and Disadvantaged Students Continue”

Community Schools Are a Successful Strategy for School Improvement

Community schools can be a successful strategy for improving schools according to a new review of research studies and program evaluations. It found strong evidence that well-implemented community schools contribute to school improvement, particularly in the case of high-poverty schools. It is a strategy that should be considered by the Gonski review on how funding should be used to improve school performance and student achievement.

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Factors Contributing to School Success by Disadvantaged Students

A key issue to be addressed by the new Gonski review is how to improve school outcomes for disadvantaged students. A new US study contributes to this by examining disadvantaged students’ own perceptions of what it takes to succeed at school. It found that strong peer relationships, caring supportive teachers, family and community support, and strong motivations all contribute significantly to school success by disadvantaged students.

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Inclusion Rules the Day

Couple insensitivity with ignorance and very little good will follow. With a little luck, we will avoid the worst of the damage that could come from Senator Pauline Hanson’s public outburst, in which she argued for the removal of children with autism from mainstream schools. The public outrage her remarks evoked has been encouraging.

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Big Divide Between Haves and Have-Nots in Australian Education

The following is an abridged media release announcing a new report by the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC) at Curtin University on inequality in education in Australia.

The BCEC’s latest report, Educate Australia Fair?: Education Inequality in Australia, examines the extent of educational disadvantage across and within Australia’s states and territories and among vulnerable groups.

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Social Segregation in Australian Schools is Amongst the Highest in the World

A new report released by the OECD shows that social segregation in Australian schools is amongst the highest in the world. Australia has the 8th highest rate of social segregation out of 71 countries participating in the OECD’s Programme of International Students Assessments in 2015. Australia’s social segregation is also the 4th highest in the OECD.

This is one of the most alarming results to come out of PISA 2015. It shows that social apartheid is an enduring feature of Australia’s school system. Students are sharply divided by social class in schools. Other research shows staggering levels of ethnic and religious segregation in schools.

Social segregation in schools has dire consequences for education outcomes and the nature of our society. It is a key factor behind the high inequity in education in Australia as evidenced by the large achievement gaps between high socio-economic status (SES) students and low SES, Indigenous and remote area students. It allows privileged groups to maintain and enhance their advantages. It allows prejudice and social discrimination to hold sway.

School choice policies in Australia have compounded the effects of housing segregation. Government funding policies have fostered the expansion of private schools and have denuded many public schools of the resources they need to provide quality learning opportunities and outcomes for their students. Many advantaged families have abandoned their local public school in a search for better-resourced, high quality schools. The result has been an increasing concentration of disadvantaged students in some public schools and increasing concentration of advantaged students in others.

Governments must ensure that all schools are excellent schools. This requires increased funding for disadvantaged schools to provide them with the human and material resources necessary to provide high quality learning opportunities for their students. This can be financed by re-directing government funding from private schools whose total income exceeds that of public schools to disadvantaged public and private schools.

Ensuring that all local schools are excellent, well-resourced schools would reduce the incentive for families to look for more advantaged schools outside their local area. It would make for a better social mix of students in public schools. Continue reading “Social Segregation in Australian Schools is Amongst the Highest in the World”