Critics of public education system have long argued that public schools would benefit from being operated more like private schools. Indeed, this is a central belief of the new Abbott Government and its education minister, Christopher Pyne.
However, there is mounting evidence to the contrary. In addition to recent Australian studies that show declining performance by private schools relative to government schools (here and here ), two new US studies have also undercut the belief that private schools do better than public schools. It appears that making public schools more like private schools is not the answer to improving education.
Continue reading “New US Studies Show that Public Schools do Better than Private Schools”
A new study shows the relative performance of Catholic schools has declined since 1980. The advantage that Catholic schools once held over government schools has virtually disappeared and attendance at Catholic schools may now lead to lower completion rates in secondary school and university.
The findings of the study present a simple message for parents who send their children to Catholic schools – if you think you are getting some advantage in educational achievements from sending your child to a Catholic school rather than a government school, think again. Continue reading “Study Shows Catholic Schools Have Lost any Academic Advantage over Government Schools”
“If I ran my business the way you people operate your schools, I wouldn’t be in business very long!”
I stood before an auditorium filled with outraged teachers who were becoming angrier by the minute. My speech had entirely consumed their precious 90 minutes of inservice. Their initial icy glares had turned to restless agitation. You could cut the hostility with a knife. Continue reading “The Blueberry Story: The Teacher Gives the Businessman a Lesson”
A Los Angeles parent pays homage to public education and its role in building social cohesion
Volunteer badge prominently and proudly displayed, this morning I observed a PE class in a LAUSD (Los Angeles Urban School District) middle school on a special bell schedule, preparatory to engulfing its students in hours of imminent CST (California Standards Tests) tests.
The sight is profound. Embodied there is the raison d’etre of public schooling, as well as one of the underlying reasons this particular school is so successful. It is why I did not send my kid to the local “amazing” charter. It is a PE field filled with 300 children, moving their bodies effectively, therapeutically, mind-growingly. And most of all, it is a melting pot. It is not even a lumpy stew of integration, it is a 52-ring circus of homogeneity. Continue reading “Public Education Builds Social Cohesion”
A new network for public education has been announced in the United States. Its role is to fight against high stakes testing and the privatisation of public education and to connect grassroots activists from communities across the country to share information, ideas and resources. This is a statement the Network released upon its launch. Continue reading “New Network for Public Education”
Australian public education is free, compulsory and secular.
Or at least that was the intention of the early colonial rulers whose Public
Instruction Acts of the 1880s decreed such to be the case.
Yet it was revealed recently in the South Australian daily paper The Advertiser that thousands of parents have been prosecuted for failing to pay public school fees this year. In fact, 271 parents had been issued arrest warrants for failing to appear in court over the matter.
Arrest warrants? For failure to pay fees in a supposedly free
Continue reading “Handouts for Private School Parents – Arrests for Public School Parents”
Is the Coalition considering abolishing free public
education by the introduction of means-tested fees in government schools? This
is a key question arising from a widely-reported speech in London last month by
Shadow Treasurer, Joe Hockey, about ending the age of entitlement.
Hockey said that the age of entitlement is over and that
Australia has to re-think its approach to universal free services. He called
for a reduction in universal free services and proposed a co-payment by users
of these services. He cited the example of health services in Australia which
are partly funded through compulsory levies paid to either government or
private health insurers.
Interviewed about his speech on the ABC’s Lateline (18 April 2012), Hockey said that the Coalition will be
looking closely at a whole range of entitlements. He said that Australia must reduce
the size of government.
Hockey’s speech raises the spectre of fees in government
schools. He included education as part of the entitlement system that he says
should be wound back. Although he did not say so explicitly, the logical
implication of his argument is that universal free public education should be
abolished and means-tested fees introduced in government schools.
Continue reading “Does the Coalition Want to Abolish Free Public Education?”
These answers to questions about public education in Finland are from Pasi Sahlberg, Director General of the National Centre for International Mobility and Cooperation in Helsinki, Finland, and adjunct Professor at the University of Helsinki and at the University of Oulu. This article was originally published on Pasi Salhberg’s blog on 9 April 2012. Continue reading “The Finnish Way of Public Education”
The Dutch education system provides fertile ground for comparing the results of public and private schools. The Netherlands has the largest private school sector of any country in the world with 72% of secondary school students attending government funded private schools. If private schools produce higher education outcomes than public schools as the advocates of the privatisation of education claim, then The Netherlands is the country where this should be happening. But, apparently this is not the case. Continue reading “More Evidence that Private Schools Do No Better than Public Schools”
Advocates of the privatisation of public education want a user-pay system in government schools. They reject the basic principle of free, universal provision. Their strategy is to get an initial breach of the principle of free education with means-tested fees for the well-off. Continue reading “Public Education Should be Free, Even for the Well-Off”