Finland’s Success in Literacy

Pirjo Sinko, Counsellor of Education for the Finnish National Board of Education, delivered a keynote address at the AATE/ALEA National Conference in Hobart on 11 July.

Some of the major points from the keynote are summarised below. (Comparisons with Australia are added in parentheses; they were not discussed by Ms Sinko.) Continue reading “Finland’s Success in Literacy”

Shifting the blame: the real crisis in education accountability

Recent months have seen more calls for increased accountability for education for the schools, teachers and parents.

Some commentators and education elite have made the entirely laudable point that we need to move from justifying education policy in terms of dollars spent and start looking at ‘accountability outputs’.

But shifting the accountability onto schools quite misses the point.

Continue reading “Shifting the blame: the real crisis in education accountability”

New National Education Goals Are Contradictory

The new school year opens this week with new national education goals to follow. Unfortunately, education ministers have set two incompatible goals. They commit to reporting school results and improving equity in education. Inevitably, inequity increases under school reporting. Continue reading “New National Education Goals Are Contradictory”

Social Equity in Education as a National Goal

Save Our Schools supports the social equity goal of the existing National Goals for Schooling.

It opposes replacing this goal with the much weaker commitment to high quality schooling free of discrimination as proposed in the draft National Declaration on the Goals for Schooling.

The Future of Schooling in Australia report fails to make a case for this change. The large achievement gaps between students from low and high socio-economic status families and between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students are the major challenges facing the Australian school system.

Achieving social equity in school outcomes should remain a key national goal for schooling.

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Do Smaller Classes Make a Difference and is it Cost Effective?

The Liberal Party proposal to reduce class sizes from about 30 to 21 in Years 4-6 in government schools will be popularly received. Reducing class sizes is one of the very few education policies that are widely endorsed by teachers and parents.

The Opposition is to be congratulated for committing a large funding increase for government schools. However, across the board reductions in class sizes are expensive and there are more cost effective ways to improve student outcomes.

Continue reading “Do Smaller Classes Make a Difference and is it Cost Effective?”

The Great School Fraud

This article is a summary of The Great School Fraud, a paper prepared for the Australian Education Union by Trevor Cobbold. The full paper can be downloaded below.

The Howard Government has consolidated the social divide in education in Australia by increasing the privatisation of schooling and promoting competition to determine who gets what in education. It is all based on fraudulent claims.

Continue reading “The Great School Fraud”

Call for $500 Million to Curb Bullying in Schools

Save Our Schools (SOS) today called on the Federal Government to provide $500 million to put an additional counsellor in each government school to deal with bullying and other behaviour problems.

Spokesman for the public education advocacy group, Trevor Cobbold, said it was time that the Howard Government matched its rhetoric on bullying and school violence with resources on the ground.

Continue reading “Call for $500 Million to Curb Bullying in Schools”

Small Schools Achieve Better Results for Students from Low Income Families

A stream of research studies in recent years has added substantially to our knowledge about the relationship between school size and student achievement. It shows that student socio-economic background is a major factor in how school size affects student outcomes. This has important implications for the Stanhope Government’s proposal to close 39 schools and to partially close 5 other schools.

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The Hobbit Effect – Small Schools Work

Numerous studies have documented that small schools effectively boost student achievement, especially among at-risk students. A new research report published this month summarizes the vast research literature that explains just why small works in schooling.

Continue reading “The Hobbit Effect – Small Schools Work”