Study Shows Beneficial Effects of Increased Expenditure on Pre-School and Schools

A new study published by the prestigious US National Bureau of Economic Research has found that increased expenditure on disadvantaged pre-schoolers and disadvantaged schools improves school results and life outcomes. It shows strong synergies between increased expenditure on pre-school programs and school education. While spending of either type improved academic outcomes to some degree, access to both resulted in a dynamic complementarity that offered far greater long- term benefits. The findings suggest that early investments in the education of disadvantaged children that are followed by sustained educational investments over time can effectively break the cycle of poverty. Continue reading “Study Shows Beneficial Effects of Increased Expenditure on Pre-School and Schools”

Teach for Australia Fails in its Mission

An evaluation report on the fast-track teacher training program, Teach for Australia (TFA), raises serious questions about the effectiveness of the program. It shows that TFA teachers are not being placed in genuinely disadvantaged schools and a high proportion leave teaching within three years of completing the program. It calls for changes to increase retention such as longer placement lengths, or incentives for TFA teachers to stay in disadvantaged classrooms. There are also serious questions about the cost effectiveness of TFA and its impact on student outcomes.

Continue reading “Teach for Australia Fails in its Mission”

Scotch College Property Buying Spree Supported by the Taxpayer

It was reported in The Age this week that the elite Melbourne private school, Scotch College, has been on a $25 million spending spree over the past 20 years buying up surrounding properties to expand the school. It is part of the facilities arms race between wealthy private schools to market the school and lure students.

What The Age report did not mention is that this spending spree was directly and indirectly supported by the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments. Continue reading “Scotch College Property Buying Spree Supported by the Taxpayer”

PISA Rankings Are Misleading Because of Differences in Student Coverage

One of the standout performers in the results from PISA 2015 was Vietnam. It achieved a ranking of 8th in science with a score of 525, which was significantly above Australia’s score of 510. More remarkably, only 6% of its students were below the minimum PISA standard compared to 18% of students in Australia. Vietnam had the smallest proportion of students below the science standard of the 72 countries and economies participating in PISA 2015.

However, there seems to be more than meets the eye in these results because over half of Vietnam’s 15-year-old population was not covered by the PISA sample because they were not in school. Continue reading “PISA Rankings Are Misleading Because of Differences in Student Coverage”

Guiding Principles for School Reform and Classroom Practice

Emeritus Professor of Education at Stanford University, Larry Cuban, offers the principles that have guided his thinking and actions as a practitioner, scholar, and blogger about teaching, learning, and school reform. Professor Cuban has published extensively on the history of curriculum and teaching, educational leadership, school reform and the uses of technology in classrooms. This article was originally published on the 8th anniversary of his blog School Reform and Classroom Practice and is reprinted with permission. Continue reading “Guiding Principles for School Reform and Classroom Practice”

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.

Continue reading “Community Schools Are a Successful Strategy for School Improvement”

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.

Continue reading “Factors Contributing to School Success by Disadvantaged Students”

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.

Continue reading “Inclusion Rules the Day”

The Soap Opera That Masquerades as Debate on Education Policy

Much ado has been made of Gonski 2.0 and the Turnbull Government’s claim that it is a uniform, needs based and fair model for the resourcing of Australian schools. The implication is that it will lead to better learning outcomes for all children. It is certainly not uniform, though it does bring in a measure of fairness not in existence in Gonski 1.0. In the sense that it may disrupt our public/private model of education though, it is a failure. Its major consequence is the ‘segregation’ of children in their school age years based on religious beliefs, socio-economic background and even educational ability. Continue reading “The Soap Opera That Masquerades as Debate on Education Policy”

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.

Continue reading “Big Divide Between Haves and Have-Nots in Australian Education”