New Test Results Reinforce the Case for Action on Gonski

The latest international test results show that Australia’s performance has stagnated over the last 16 years while many countries have improved. The results reflect Australia’s failure to address the extent of disadvantage in education.

The new results, and those before it from the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment, confirm Australia’s highly inequitable education system. They reinforce the case for action on the Gonski report recommendation to boost funding for disadvantaged students. Continue reading “New Test Results Reinforce the Case for Action on Gonski”

School Results Stagnate and High Inequity Remains

A report on Australia’s education performance released by the COAG Reform Council this week is not good news for Australian governments. It appears that all the education changes at both the Federal and state/territory levels over the last five years have had little impact. The results strengthen the case for increased funding for disadvantaged students as recommended by the Gonski Review of School Funding.

Overall student results have stagnated with little to no improvement between 2008 and 2011. Large differences remain between the results of high and low socio-economic status (SES) students and between Indigenous students and all students. There was no improvement in the results for low socio-economic status (SES) students and only partial improvement for Indigenous students. Continue reading “School Results Stagnate and High Inequity Remains”

Parent and Student Expectations Influence School Completion Rates

A new study has found a large gap between rich and poor in completion of high school in Australia. It also found that students from lower income families are less likely to be encouraged by their parents to complete high school.

According to the study about 66% of children from low socio-economic status (SES) families currently complete high school compared to 90% of students from high SES families and 78% for medium SES students. Continue reading “Parent and Student Expectations Influence School Completion Rates”

High Inequality in Learning Outcomes Demands Action

Despite claims by the Coalition spokesman on education, Christopher Pyne, Australia does have an equity problem in education. International comparisons of school results show high inequality in Australia which is strongly linked to student background.

There is a learning gap of six years between the bottom and top 10% of 15 year-old students in Australia. This gap is larger than the average for developed countries and amongst the largest of the top performing countries. In addition, the results of the bottom 10% of students in Australia are amongst the lowest of the other top performing countries, but higher than the average for developed countries.

The learning gap between rich and poor is also high at about three years of learning between the bottom and top 25% of students by socio-economic background. This gap is larger than in nearly all other top performing countries. Students from disadvantaged backgrounds are doing much worse in Australia than in most other top performing countries. Continue reading “High Inequality in Learning Outcomes Demands Action”

Pyne Denies the Facts on Inequity in Education

Low income, Indigenous and remote area students can expect little support from a Coalition Government. According to the Coalition’s spokesman on education, Christopher Pyne, Australia does not have an equity problem regarding school outcomes despite overwhelming evidence that it is the major challenge facing Australian education. Continue reading “Pyne Denies the Facts on Inequity in Education”

Many Victorian Schools to Miss Out on Equity Funding

The Victorian Government recently announced changes to the Education Maintenance Allowance which provides assistance to low-income families for textbooks, stationary, excursions and school uniforms. Until now half the allowance was paid directly to parents and the other half to schools. From 2013, an increased allowance will be paid to parents but no payments will go to schools. The Government says that the savings achieved will allow more equity-based funding to be provided to schools with a high proportion of students from low socio-economic backgrounds. The following article on the changes was contributed by a Victorian school principal. Continue reading “Many Victorian Schools to Miss Out on Equity Funding”

OECD Study on Choice and Equity Informs Post-Gonski Debate

The central issue in the Gonski review of school funding has been whether the focus of government funding policies should switch from supporting choice to improving equity in education. A new OECD study comes down firmly on the side of improving equity. Its findings should inform debate over the Gonksi report.

The study shows emphatically that school choice has lead to greater social segregation and inequity in education. It says that increased school choice in OECD countries has not led to any improvement in student achievement. School choice schemes have benefitted advantaged parents and students but harmed disadvantaged and low income families. Continue reading “OECD Study on Choice and Equity Informs Post-Gonski Debate”

Fund Disadvantaged Students and Everyone Benefits

The latest national literacy and numeracy results (NAPLAN) show that government education policies have had little to no impact on student achievement in Australia since 2008. There has been virtually no change in overall average results, in the results of disadvantaged students and in the large gaps between the results of disadvantaged and advantaged students. Governments are failing disadvantaged students and their families.

Continue reading “Fund Disadvantaged Students and Everyone Benefits”

New OECD Report Calls for Greater Fairness in Education

An OECD report on equity and quality in education to be released this week will add pressure on the Australian Government to come up with a more equitable system of school funding. The report says that students from low socio-economic status (SES) backgrounds are twice as likely to have low results as other students. It recommends that governments should better target funding for disadvantaged students. Continue reading “New OECD Report Calls for Greater Fairness in Education”