Oxfam Says that Global Tax Avoidance is Starving Funding for Vital Public Services

A research report by Oxfam shows that global inequality has reached new extremes. The richest 1% now have more wealth than the rest of the world combined.

The report says that power and privilege is being used to skew the economic system to increase the gap between the richest and the rest. The global network of tax havens has enabled the rich to hide trillions of dollars in assets from governments. This is depriving governments of resources needed to fund vital public services such as education and health. Continue reading “Oxfam Says that Global Tax Avoidance is Starving Funding for Vital Public Services”

The Increasing Ethnic Divide Between Schools Undermines Multiculturalism

A new study has documented increasing social and cultural polarisation within the public school system. Not only are middle-class parents opting out of local public schools in favour of private schools, but they are also opting out of some public schools in favour of others. The study shows that the increasing divide is undermining multiculturalism.

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NAPLAN Online Test of Writing Could Widen the Achievement Gap

Last year, there was widespread criticism of the plan by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) to take the NAPLAN persuasive writing test online. Two hand-picked Federal Government advisors said it would discriminate against disadvantaged students. It has also been widely criticised by teachers’ unions. Continue reading “NAPLAN Online Test of Writing Could Widen the Achievement Gap”

Louisiana School Voucher Scheme Reduces Student Achievement

In the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Louisiana Department of Education took the opportunity to turn the state’s education system into a vast experiment in free market education. The large majority of public schools in New Orleans were turned into privately operated charter schools that are publicly funded and a voucher scheme was introduced which provided public funds for students to attend private schools.

The whole experiment has been a massive failure.

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Media Release: Govt. Could Easily Fund Gonski Plan

An analysis published today by Save Our Schools (SOS) shows that the Federal Government has a potential revenue pool of at least $34 billion a year to finance the $7 billion needed to fund the last two years of the Gonski plan. 

SOS National Convenor, Trevor Cobbold, said that the Government could easily fund Gonski by reducing several tax concessions to high income earners and by clamping down on rampant tax evasion by high income earners and large Australian and multinational corporations.

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Govt Has a Massive Potential Revenue Pool to Fund Gonski

The Federal Government claims that the Budget deficit precludes fully funding the last two years of the Gonski plan. Labor is dithering on Gonski because it fears being seen as spendthrift when there is a large deficit.

However, full implementation of Gonski could be easily financed. The Federal Government has a potential savings pool of at least $34 billion a year to fund the $7 billion originally planned for the last two years of Gonski.

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Government Could Easily Fund Gonski Plan

An analysis published today by Save Our Schools (SOS) shows that the Federal Government has a potential revenue pool of at least $34 billion a year to finance the $7 billion needed to fund the last two years of the Gonski plan.

SOS National Convenor, Trevor Cobbold, said that the Government could easily fund Gonski by reducing several tax concessions to high income earners and by clamping down on rampant tax evasion by high income earners and large Australian and multinational corporations. Continue reading “Government Could Easily Fund Gonski Plan”

Closed for Learning: The Impact of School Closures on Students and Communities

Closing public schools not only has a negative impact on student performance but also creates hardship for communities already struggling with disinvestment. The Stanford Centre for Opportunity Policy in Education, the Journey for Justice Alliance, and the Advancement Project sponsored a forum in December entitled “Closed for Learning: The Impact of School Closures” to brief members of the US Congress on the impact of community school closures in low-income neighbourhoods. The following is a brief prepared for the forum.

From the onset, the U.S. public education system has been wrought with challenges. It has never been a perfect system. Yet, for the past 15 years, the education reform movement has exploded – backed by investors and philanthropists that have sought to privatize education by capitalizing on our flawed accountability system and its over-reliance on high-stakes testing, high-stakes teacher evaluations, and high-stakes grading of schools.

Today, the interests of children of colour are being sidelined by the interests of philanthropists, hedge fund owners, and venture capitalists with their sights set on public education dollars and investments in inner-city neighbourhoods. The result has been massive takeovers of school districts and school closures across the country, particularly in Black and Brown neighbourhoods, which studies have found do not actually improve the academic futures of the displaced students they propose to help.

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The De-Professionalization of Teaching

Competition and choice policies in education are leading to the de-professionalization of teaching. A policy brief published by the US National Education Policy Centre titled Reversing the Deprofessionalization of Teaching says that it is being driven by fast-track teacher preparation, teacher evaluation based on student test scores and the use of scripted, narrow curricula.

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Well-off Private Schools Are Over-Funded by $3 Billion a Year

In general, there is no case for governments to fund private schools to a level beyond what they are prepared to fund public schools. However, government funding enables some 1,400 private schools to have more resources than public schools. It costs the taxpayer about $3 billion a year that would be far better spent on supporting disadvantaged public and private schools.

There are two aspects of government over-funding of private schools. The first is that privately-sourced income from fees and donations of wealthy private schools exceeds the total income per student in public schools. Government funding for these schools extends their resource advantage.

The second is that there are many private schools whose income from private sources is less than total income per student in public schools, but whose government funding is more than that which would provide them with the same average total income per student as public schools. The extra government funding also gives these schools a resource advantage over public schools.

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