The Facts About School Funding in Australia

This is a summary of a new Education Research Paper published by Save Our Schools. It can be downloaded below.

New figures show that total government funding per student in public schools adjusted for inflation (“real funding”) was cut between 2009 and 2017 while funding for Catholic and Independent schools increased massively. Even during the Gonski funding period of 2013-2017 the funding increase for private schools was over three times the increase for public schools.

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More Studies Show That Money Really Does Matter in Education

Three new US studies have found that increasing funding for disadvantaged students increases school results. They bring to 21 the number of studies in the last five years showing that funding increases targeted at disadvantaged students improves achievement. This is a remarkable degree of unanimity amongst education economists. Even notorious sceptics of the worth of increasing school spending such as Professor Eric Hanushek from Stanford University (USA) and The Economist magazine have been forced to concede that money matters for disadvantaged students.

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School vouchers expand despite evidence of negative effects

For the past couple of decades, proponents of vouchers for private schools have been pushing the idea that vouchers work.

They assert there is a consensus among researchers that voucher programs lead to learning gains for students – in some cases bigger gains than with other reforms and approaches, such as class-size reduction.

They have highlighted studies that show the positive impact of vouchers on various populations. At the very least, they argue, vouchers do no harm.

As researchers who study school choice and education policy, we see a new consensus emerging — including in pro-voucher advocates’ own studies — that vouchers are having mostly no effects or negative effects on student learning. As a result, we see a shift in how voucher proponents are redefining what voucher success represents. They are using a new set of non-academic gains that were not the primary argument to promote vouchers.

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How Money Matters

The following is a summary of a new report from the Learning Policy Institute in the United States on school finance reform. It reviews reforms by four US states to undertake progressive school funding strategies in order to substantially improve learning opportunities for all students. It provides recommendations for federal and state policies to address funding inequalities that contribute to the cycle of poverty. It shows that money matters when it comes to improving schools and that how money is spent is critical.

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School Choice Increases Social Segregation and Inequity in Education

A new OECD report, Balancing School Choice and Equity, shows that school choice policies have increased social and academic segregation between schools which, in turn, reduced equity in education. Australia is a prime example of the impact of choice on social segregation. School choice has been at the centre of education policy for the last 20 or more years. Australia now has one of the most socially and academically segregated school systems in the OECD and has highly inequitable education outcomes.

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A Thurgood Marshall Plan for Public Education

US Presidential contender, Senator Bernie Sanders, has released a far-reaching program to reform public education. Many of its policies resonate in the Australian context. The following is the Introduction to the plan together with an outline of its main policies.

His first principle is fundamental:

“Every human being has the fundamental right to a good education. On this 65th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, we are committed to creating an education system that works for all people, not just the wealthy and powerful.”

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On the Definition of Equity in Education

The Gonski Institute for Education recently published a valuable paper on equity in education titled Improving Educational Equity in Australian Education. It discusses what is equity, why equity in education matters and makes recommendations for improving equity in education. However, its definition of equity in education is limited and imprecise. The paper should have adopted the equity definition of the original Gonski report because it offers a more effective guide for education policy and funding.

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The Vast Majority of Disadvantaged Schools are Public Schools

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

Data drawn from the My School website show that school systems in Australia are highly segregated by socio-economic background both nationally and in each state, although the extent of the segregation varies between states.

Highly and medium disadvantaged schools are over-represented in public schools and under-represented in private schools. In contrast, highly and medium advantaged schools are under-represented in public schools and over-represented in private schools.

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The Futility of School Closings

This article is re-printed from the website of US blogger Jan Resseger. The title is amended as suggested by Diane Ravitch

In her profound and provocative book about the community impact of Chicago’s closure of 50 so-called “underutilized” public schools at the end of the 2013 school year, Eve Ewing considers the effect of school closures on the neighborhoods they once anchored.  Ewing’s book, Ghosts in the Schoolyard, is about Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood and a set of school closures in Chicago in which 88 percent of the affected students were African American, and 71 percent of the closed schools had majority-African American teachers. (Ghosts in the Schoolyard, p. 5)

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