Research Study Shows that Increased Funding Delivers Better Outcomes for Low Income Students

New research from the United States on the relationship between school funding and outcomes shows that money matters in education for low income students. Its findings suggest that the ending of the Gonski funding plan by the Federal Government means that Australia has lost the opportunity to significantly improve the school results of disadvantaged children.

The new study shows that school finance reform in many US states has increased expenditure in low income school districts which improved school and later adult attainments of low income children. The increased school spending had a positive effect on the years spent in school and high school graduation rates for children from poor families. It also had positive effects on later adult earnings, family income, and adult poverty status. Continue reading “Research Study Shows that Increased Funding Delivers Better Outcomes for Low Income Students”

Abbott Govt Turns its Back on Public Schools and Disadvantaged Students

The Federal Budget is a disaster for public education in Australia. It has killed off the Gonski school funding increases for 2017-18 and 2018-19. Public schools stand to over $6 billion as a result. The unity ticket on school funding promised by Abbott and Pyne before the election has been completely shredded.

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NAPLAN Withdrawal Rates Increase in WA, but Many Parents are Still in the Dark about their Right to Withdraw

It seems that the campaign to inform parents of their right to withdraw their child from the NAPLAN tests is having some effect.

The West Australian reported this week that withdrawal rates increased in WA in 2013. Parents of more than 1400 WA students signed withdrawal forms to stop their children from sitting national reading, writing and maths tests. Continue reading “NAPLAN Withdrawal Rates Increase in WA, but Many Parents are Still in the Dark about their Right to Withdraw”

Audit Commission Ignores the High Concentration of Disadvantage in Government Schools

The National Commission of Audit report has recommended not proceeding with the planned Gonski funding increases for 2018 and 2019. Instead, it recommended that school funding be indexed beyond 2017 by a weighted average of the Consumer Price Index and the education and training wage price index. At best, this will mean no real increases in funding, only increases in line with rising costs. At worst, it may lead to a cut real funding depending on the actual indexation arrived at.

The recommendation will deny schools the funding they need to reduce disadvantage in education, which was the whole focus of the Gonski report. Implementation of the Gonski funding increase would have seen Federal funding for schools increase by 6.5 per cent in real terms (that is, adjusted for inflation) per year. The large bulk of these increases would have gone to government schools. Continue reading “Audit Commission Ignores the High Concentration of Disadvantage in Government Schools”

Means-tested School Fees Would Undermine Public Education

The proposal by the free market Centre for Independent Studies that high-income families should pay to send their children to a public school would spell the end of public education as we know it. It would likely lead to a two-tiered public system with access to a quality education restricted to those who pay. This could be exacerbated by ever-increasing fees. Fees are also likely to encourage a greater shift to private schools and increase social segregation in schooling. 

The introduction of means-tested fees would undermine two fundamental goals of free universal public education: to ensure that all children irrespective of background have equal access to high quality education and have children from different backgrounds learn together so as to promote greater understanding and tolerance between different social groups. 

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Teacher Says He Cheats on NAPLAN Tests

In a revealing article in the Brisbane Courier-Mail, a private school teacher says he cheats on the NAPLAN tests. He cheats by doing practice preparation for the tests to be held in two weeks.

The teacher confirms what everyone except the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) knows – much of first and early second term is taken up with practice for NAPLAN at the expense of deep analysis within subjects and less time spent on subjects not tested. Continue reading “Teacher Says He Cheats on NAPLAN Tests”

More on the Storm of Protest in the US Against Testing

It’s testing season in America, and regardless of how the students do, it’s clear who is already flunking the exams.

Last week in New York, new standardized tests began rolling out across the state, and tens of thousands of families said “no dice.”

Continue reading “More on the Storm of Protest in the US Against Testing”

Wave of Protest Against Testing

The new testing season in the United States has seen a wave of parent protests against testing in the last few weeks. Thousands of parents have opted to take their children out of statewide tests across the country.

There have been high-profile boycotts and rallies across the country, including in large school districts such as Chicago and New York, to promote the right of parents to withdraw their children from the tests. Parents complain that the tests are unnecessary, excessive, and are harming their children’s education. Continue reading “Wave of Protest Against Testing”

What is Happening with NAPLAN in Your School?

The 2014 NAPLAN tests are on in just four weeks. Save Our Schools is again collecting information on the impact of NAPLAN on students, teachers and schools.

Tell us your stories and information about the effects of NAPLAN in your school. Use the “Contact Us” facility on the Save Our Schools website. If you would like to provide more detailed information and stories please contact us to arrange another address to send your information. Continue reading “What is Happening with NAPLAN in Your School?”

Pyne’s School Autonomy Myth

John F. Kennedy once said that “the great enemy of truth is very often not the lie…but the myth” because belief in myths allows “the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought” [Kennedy 1962]. Both the Coalition Government and the Labor opposition are enjoying the comfort of the myth that school autonomy in budgeting and staffing leads to better student outcomes while ignoring the discomfort of mounting evidence against it. It is a textbook example of pure ideology in public policy.

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