Wealthy Philanthropic Foundations are Undermining Public Education in the US

Philanthropy is commonly viewed as a beneficial charitable activity that provides worthwhile supplementary funding for much needed services such as education. The Gonski review of school funding and others support a larger role by philanthropic organisations in funding of public education in Australia. However, a new study of wealthy philanthropic education foundations in the United States suggests caution in resorting to philanthropy to support public education. Continue reading “Wealthy Philanthropic Foundations are Undermining Public Education in the US”

Markets are Ineffective in Education and Create Social Inequalities

A new study has found that competition between schools and greater school autonomy do not increase student achievement. It also found that competition tends to increase social inequalities in school results. The study is published in the latest issue of the Journal of Education Policy. Continue reading “Markets are Ineffective in Education and Create Social Inequalities”

The Evidence for School Autonomy is Far From Compelling

The Federal Minister for Education, Peter Garrett, claims that greater school autonomy over budgeting and staffing will increase student results. The government has committed nearly $500 million over the next seven years to increase school autonomy in schools around Australia. About 1000 government and private schools will participate in the program over the next two years. Continue reading “The Evidence for School Autonomy is Far From Compelling”

Kevin Andrews Exposes Pyne’s Hypocrisy on Gonski

Comments this week by the Social Services Minister, Kevin Andrews, have exposed a breathtaking contradiction in the Federal Government’s approach to conditions attached to Federal special purpose grants to the states. Andrews said that he wants more conditions on Federal funding for the states to reduce homelessness. In contrast, the Education Minister, Christopher Pyne, has dropped conditions requiring state governments to increase school funding under the Gonksi plan on the grounds of states’ rights.

The stark contradiction shows that Pyne’s support for states’ rights in the case of school funding is simply a cover for undermining funding for government schools and disadvantaged students. The Government is also maintaining conditions attached to Federal funding for a vast array of social programs including other education programs administered by Pyne. Continue reading “Kevin Andrews Exposes Pyne’s Hypocrisy on Gonski”

School Money Wars

The claim that there has been a huge increase in government funding of schools over the past decade or more while school outcomes have declined is highly misleading. The increase in funding was relatively small and there have been some significant improvements in school outcomes.

The false claim is widely used in an attempt to discredit the Gonski funding reforms and justify the Federal Government’s decision to abandon them. However, as demonstrated in the Gonski report, the real problem is that past funding increases were largely not directed to where they are most needed [Gonski et.al. 2011]. Continue reading “School Money Wars”

Wealthy Private Schools Walk Away from Pyne’s Train Wreck With Millions in Over-funding

Calculations by Greens NSW MP John Kaye show that the Abbott government’s termination of the Gonski process after just four years will deliver a $169 million a year windfall to 163 private schools, while the average NSW public education system will lose funding that could employ four new teachers in the average public school.

Continue reading “Wealthy Private Schools Walk Away from Pyne’s Train Wreck With Millions in Over-funding”

Gonski Panel Member Refutes Criticisms of Needs-based Funding Plan

Ken Boston, a member of the Gonski school funding review panel, has comprehensively refuted claims that there is no basis in evidence to increase needs-based funding as recommended by the Gonksi report. Boston’s comments follow criticisms recently presented to a Senate Committee inquiry on school funding. Continue reading “Gonski Panel Member Refutes Criticisms of Needs-based Funding Plan”

Is there ‘evidence that independent public schools lift student performance’?

Asked by Senator Penny Wright at a session of the Senate Standing Committee on Education and Employment whether there was any evidence that Independent Public Schools (IPS) lifted student performance, Mr Tony Cook, Associate Secretary, Early Childhood Education and Care in the federal Department of Education answered that there was “a range of evidence”. Continue reading “Is there ‘evidence that independent public schools lift student performance’?”

Taxation Reform to Fund Growth and Social Spending

SOS does not normally write on taxation policy. However, in view of the failure of the National Commission of Audit report to consider the revenue side of the Budget and the abandonment of the Gonski funding plan by the Federal Government because it says it cannot be afforded, discussion of taxation policy is necessary if Australia is ever going to be able to address disadvantage in education (and other social issues). A good start for this discussion is a White Paper on taxation reform published last week by Nobel prize winner in economics and former chief economist of the World Bank, Professor Joe Stiglitz. Although the context is the US tax system, it has several points of relevance for raising taxation revenue in Australia to fund education and social programs. The following is an edited summary of the paper. Continue reading “Taxation Reform to Fund Growth and Social Spending”

Gonski on Gonski

The chairman of the Gonski school funding review, David Gonski, has criticized the Commission of Audit recommendation to Government that his funding plan be abandoned. The following is an extract from his seminal Inaugural Jean Blackburn Oration given to the Australian College of Educators in Melbourne on 21 May 2014. The full speech is available below.

The recommendations of the National Commission of Audit are disappointing in so far as they apply to school funding. While I am happy the commission specifically notes support for government investment in schooling, I am disappointed with their general commentary. Continue reading “Gonski on Gonski”