Victorian Education Minister Fails in His Response to Criticism of Funding Guarantee for Private Schools

With its legislative guarantee that private schools will receive 25 per cent of expenditure on public schools, the Victorian Government has joined with the Abbott Government in sabotaging the Gonski school funding agreement.

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Victorian Govt Betrays Gonski Needs-Based Funding Principle

The Victorian ALP Government has betrayed the basic principle of the Gonski funding model – that future increases in government funding for private schools should be determined by need. Instead, the Government has legislated to ensure that funding increases for public schools will automatically flow on in part to private schools without regard to need.

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Closing Achievement Gaps Increases Economic Growth and Reduces Income Inequality

A new study that examined a Gonski-type social equity goal in the United States has found that closing the educational achievement gap between rich and poor would significantly increase economic growth and raise government revenues. It would also reduce income inequality by raising the lifetime earnings of the poorest children.

The results of the study demonstrate that investments targeted at raising academic achievement and narrowing achievement gaps between advantaged and disadvantaged students generate large returns in the form of increased economic growth. It found that if average mathematics and science scores in the US were raised to those of the most advantaged quarter of students Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would be $4 trillion larger by 2050, an increase of 10 per cent. Continue reading “Closing Achievement Gaps Increases Economic Growth and Reduces Income Inequality”

Funding Increases Benefit Disadvantaged Students

Increased school funding brings large improvements for low income students in high school graduation rates and educational attainment, wages, family income, and reductions in adult poverty according to a study published by the US National Bureau of Economic Research. It also found that these effects were dependent on how the increased funding was spent.

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New Figures Show that Government Funding Increases Favour Private Schools

New school funding figures provided to Senate Estimates show that government funding increases for Catholic and Independent schools have outstripped funding increases for public schools since 2009. The percentage increase in funding for Catholic and Independent schools was almost double that for public schools despite the fact that public schools enrol the overwhelming majority of students in need of increased support.

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Open Letter on Testing by Diane Ravitch

The US Senate is currently conducting hearings on the future of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation introduced by President George Bush Jnr. The hearings have focused first on the federally mandated testing regime for all US children in grades 3-8. The critical issue is whether there is too much testing in US schools. A huge opt-out movement against testing has developed. A key leader of the movement is Diane Ravitch a former Assistant Secretary of Education under President George Bush Snr. The Secretary of Education at the time was Lamar Alexander, now a Senator who is chairing the Senate committee hearings on the NCLB. Diane Ravitch has written the following open letter to the Senator calling on him to drop annual standardised testing in schools. Continue reading “Open Letter on Testing by Diane Ravitch”

More Funding for Low Achieving Students Improves School Outcomes

A new academic study shows that additional funding for low achieving students significantly increases schooling outcomes. It found that a program in the Netherlands that gives more funding to high schools to provide learning support for students who have fallen behind substantially increases the probability that they will pass the exam at the end of secondary school. Continue reading “More Funding for Low Achieving Students Improves School Outcomes”

SOS Supplementary Submission on Low SES Funding Loadings

Save Our Schools has submitted a supplementary “uninvited” submission to the Federal Government’s review of the low SES funding loadings. The loadings are a central feature of the Gonski funding plan. The submission calls on the review to reject the proposal by Independent Schools Victoria to remove the additional loadings for schools with greater concentrations of low SES students.

Independent Schools Victoria has long opposed additional funding loadings for low SES students because it claims that the relationship between SES and student achievement is weak. It ignores a massive amount of research evidence showing that family SES has a very significant influence on student achievement at school. The strong relationship is one of the most robust findings in education research. Continue reading “SOS Supplementary Submission on Low SES Funding Loadings”

Call to Keep Funding Loadings for Disadvantaged Students

A new education policy brief published by Save Our Schools has confirmed the need for higher funding loadings for schools with greater concentration of disadvantaged students. SOS National Convenor, Trevor Cobbold, said that a proposal by Independent Schools Victoria to remove additional funding for highly disadvantaged schools should be rejected by the Federal Government. Continue reading “Call to Keep Funding Loadings for Disadvantaged Students”

Money Matters, Spend it Right

A debate has raged for decades about whether money makes a difference in education. The arguments are at the forefront again in the debate about the Gonski funding plan.

Opponents of Gonski claim that research shows that more money does not improve student results. For example, the National Commission of Audit report said there was “no clear, consistent correlation … between increased funding and school outcomes”.

It is also claimed that large increases in spending in the past in Australia confirm this. The Federal Minister for Education, Christopher Pyne, regularly claims that school funding increased by 44 per cent in real terms since 2000 but school results have declined. The Commission of Audit report made a similar claim.

The claims are highly misleading. The first is based on a very selective reading of the research evidence while the second vastly exaggerates the actual increase in funding and ignores significant improvements in student outcomes. Continue reading “Money Matters, Spend it Right”