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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Gonski 2.0 Entrenches Structural Incoherence and Inequity in School Funding

A basic flaw of Gonski 2.0 is that it abandons developing a national approach to school funding. Instead, it entrenches the structural incoherence of school funding so heavily criticised in the original Gonski report. It will only enhance inconsistencies in funding and ensure that the school funding wars between the Commonwealth and the States continue.

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Gonski 2.0 is a Fraud

The Turnbull Government’s Gonski 2.0 funding plan is a fraud. It is a fraud because it delivers much less funding to public schools and much more for private schools than Gonski 1.0. It is a fraud because public schools will remain under-funded while private schools will be well-funded. It is a fraud because there will be a massive increase in over-funding of private schools. Private schools will get a new, grander, special deal which is disguised by reducing over-funding in the most blatant cases. It is the best special deal that private schools have ever had. Gonski 2.0 is a fraud also because abandons any effort to develop a truly national school funding system while claiming to be a national approach. Continue reading “Gonski 2.0 is a Fraud”

Birmingham Holds Funding for Public Schools to Ransom

In an outrageous move, the Minister for Education, Simon Birmingham, has threatened to cut funding to public schools if Gonski 2.0 is not passed by the Senate. The threat covers public schools in Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory while private schools in these states will be guaranteed their funding. Continue reading “Birmingham Holds Funding for Public Schools to Ransom”

Indexation of the Schooling Resource Standard Should be Reviewed by an Independent Expert Panel

The indexation of Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) against rising school costs is critical for school budgets because it is a central feature of Commonwealth Government funding of schools. If the rate of indexation fails to match increasing costs such as teacher salaries, educational materials and utility charges such as water and electricity, school budgets will be squeezed. Schools will not be able to afford the same level of human and material inputs as they have in past years. Continue reading “Indexation of the Schooling Resource Standard Should be Reviewed by an Independent Expert Panel”

Special Over-Funding Deal for ACT Catholic Systemic Schools to Continue

The Turnbull Government has done a back-flip on its promise to abolish all special funding deals for private schools. The Commonwealth Department of Education has announced that the special funding deal for ACT Catholic systemic schools will be maintained for another four years as a “temporary” assistance package. It will cost the taxpayer about $200 million. It took only four weeks for the Government to cave in to Catholic school demands to keep their massive over-funding.

Catholic systemic schools in Canberra are vastly over-funded by the Commonwealth Government. In 2016, the over-funding amounted to $50 million. Several schools are over-funded by more than $4 million each. Two schools are getting over four times what they are entitled to and several others are getting over double their entitlement. Several receive $5,000 per student or more in over-funding.

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