Super-school Chaos

There needs to be a serious conversation about the direction being taken by state governments in Australia to close schools and merge into large single super schools. Parents need to band together and say enough is enough!

Every bad outcome you have imagined for your school merger of up to four schools will come true. You will see an increase and more violent bullying assaults occurring; you will see more wagging, you will have a lowering of expected and academic standards; your children will become numbers and get lost in poor administration; they will be offered more choices that can’t be delivered; many will not form lasting relationships with their teachers and peers; you will be ignored if you try and advocate for your child; students with special needs will be worse off; low-socioeconomic and disadvantaged students will fall through the cracks along with previously above average students; they will be treated like robots encouraged to perform to a level playing field and the ‘so-called’ new well-being programs will fail with teachers unable to cope with the problems the new systems create.

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Sweden: A Failure in Market-Based Education

Sweden is often seen as part of a homogeneous Nordic sphere; small cold countries with midnight sun, fair-skinned population, small social democratic idylls with equal free healthcare, good schools and a high standard of living. The reality is never as simple as our prejudices and one of the things that now characterizes Sweden is that we in important areas of society have left the common Nordic tradition of a cohesive school.

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Gonski Gone: Morrison Abandons Public School Students

With its blatant favouritism of funding Catholic and Independent schools to the detriment of public schools, which educate over 80% of disadvantaged students, the Morrison Government has completed the demolition of the Gonski funding model that began with the Abbott and Turnbull Governments.

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Funding Gap Between Public and Private Schools Will Accelerate Over the Next Decade

Commonwealth Government funding of schools is now a complete schemozzle. The Morrison Government has abandoned public schools and blatantly favoured private schools with billion-dollar special deals. These deals will accelerate the funding gap between public schools and private schools over the next decade.

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Education Resource Gaps in Australia Remain Amongst the Largest in the World

The following is a summary of a new Education Research Brief published by Save Our Schools. It can be downloaded below.

Disadvantaged students in Australia are being denied equal opportunities to learn because they face far more shortages of teachers and material resources than advantaged students. The gaps in access to education resources between advantaged and disadvantaged schools in Australia, between rural and city schools and between public and private schools are huge. Not only are they amongst the largest in the OECD but they are also amongst the largest in the world. This is totally unacceptable for a country that regards itself as egalitarian.

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‘To those who have, more will be given’: Largesse to private schools continues

In line with the adage “never let a good crisis go to waste”, the Morrison Government has taken the opportunity of the COVID pandemic to extend its largesse to private schools. The Budget Papers reveal that private schools received over a billion dollars in advance payments in 2019-20 to re-open their schools.

Some of the wealthiest private schools in the country have reaped millions from Jobkeeper. They include The King’s School, St Joseph’s College, Frensham and The Armidale School in NSW as well as Geelong Grammar, Trinity Grammar, Wesley College and Bialik College in Victoria.

The Government also gave $10 million to private schools to offset COVID-19 hygiene costs for items such as soap, hand sanitiser, classroom cleaning products and additional cleaning services. Similar funding was not provided to public schools. 

All this adds to the largesse the Morrison Government has showered on private schools. The main component of this largesse is $3.7 billion in additional funding for Catholic schools over the next ten years as a result of a new method of funding private schools introduced this year. Independent schools lose from this measure but are partially compensated by special funding deals. 

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OECD Says Public Schools in Australia Do As Well As Private Schools

New results from the OECD’s 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) show that public schools across the OECD achieve better results than private schools and that school systems with larger private school sectors have lower student achievement.

After accounting for students’ and schools’ socio-economic profile, students in public schools scored higher in reading than students in private schools, on average across OECD countries (by 14 score points). At the system level, across all countries and economies, school systems with larger private sectors had lower average performance in reading, mathematics and science.

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Media Release: Private School Funding Model is Inherently Flawed

An Education Policy Brief published by Save Our Schools shows that the new funding method for private schools introduced this year by the Morrison Government is inherently flawed and will result in massive over-funding of schools. National Convenor of Save Our Schools, Trevor Cobbold, said the model is littered with flaws and should be replaced by a new approach.

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The Private School Funding Model is Deeply Flawed: A New Approach is Needed

The following is a summary of a new SOS Education Policy Brief. The full Brief can be downloaded below. This article and the Brief were revised on 2 October 2020.

Six months ago, the Morrison Government changed the method used to determine Commonwealth funding of private schools. It adopted a direct measure of the income of families called Adjusted Taxable Income (ATI) to assess their capacity to contribute to school income and thereby determine the level of Commonwealth funding for each private school. It will provide a net funding increase of $3.5 billion to private schools over the next ten years compared to the previous method of funding.

ATI is a deeply flawed measure of the financial need of schools. It will result in massive over-funding of private schools because it badly under-estimates the capacity to contribute of families and ignores other sources of income of private schools as well as their assets. As a result, the financial need of schools is over-estimated and consequently they receive more government funding than warranted.

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The Bureaucratisation of Public Education in NSW

The following is a summary of a new Education Research Paper on the bureaucratisation of public education in Victoria. It can be downloaded below.

Australia has long been infected by what world renowned Finnish educator Pasi Sahlberg, currently professor of education at the Gonski Institute of Education in Sydney, coined as GERM (Global Education Reform Movement). It is characterised by corporate management policies, test-based accountability of schools and fostering competition between schools to drive improvement in education outcomes. One manifestation of GERM is a bloated bureaucracy to police compliance with regulations, collect and record information and monitor performance.

The NSW public education system has seen an enormous increase in bureaucracy since the turn of the century. So-called school reforms beginning in the 1990s promised less bureaucratic control but instead have intensified bureaucracy at all levels of public education systems. Both Coalition and Labor governments have adopted GERM and expanded bureaucracy in public education.

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