New US Studies Show that Public Schools do Better than Private Schools

Critics of public education system have long argued that public schools would benefit from being operated more like private schools. Indeed, this is a central belief of the new Abbott Government and its education minister, Christopher Pyne.

However, there is mounting evidence to the contrary. In addition to recent Australian studies that show declining performance by private schools relative to government schools (here and here ), two new US studies have also undercut the belief that private schools do better than public schools. It appears that making public schools more like private schools is not the answer to improving education.

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Study Shows Catholic Schools Have Lost any Academic Advantage over Government Schools

A new study shows the relative performance of Catholic schools has declined since 1980. The advantage that Catholic schools once held over government schools has virtually disappeared and attendance at Catholic schools may now lead to lower completion rates in secondary school and university.

The findings of the study present a simple message for parents who send their children to Catholic schools – if you think you are getting some advantage in educational achievements from sending your child to a Catholic school rather than a government school, think again. Continue reading “Study Shows Catholic Schools Have Lost any Academic Advantage over Government Schools”

Australia’s Declining School Results are Due to Ineffective Private Schools

A Melbourne University study has debunked some common myths about the relative performance of Australia’s public and private schools. It shows that the decline in Australia’s performance in international tests over the last decade is due to falling results in private schools, the falls being similar in both Independent and Catholic schools. It also shows that the decline has occurred across the whole range of student achievement and is not confined to high achieving students as some claim. Continue reading “Australia’s Declining School Results are Due to Ineffective Private Schools”

School Choice is No Guarantee to Improve Results

School choice does not necessarily deliver better results for students according to a new research brief. The brief reviewed research on various alternatives to public schools in the United States and found that the impact of school choice on student learning generally shows mixed results with studies typically showing little or no difference in overall performance compared to traditional public schools. Continue reading “School Choice is No Guarantee to Improve Results”

Australia is in the Top League of All-rounders

The Labor Government’s Better Schools Plan aims to put Australian schools into the top 5 in the world by 2025. A new OECD report shows that Australia is already in the top 5 in one respect – producing high all-round results.

Australia is ranked equal fourth in the world in terms of the proportion of students who are top performers in reading, mathematics and science (all-rounders). It has 8.1 per cent of students at the top proficiency levels in all three subjects. Continue reading “Australia is in the Top League of All-rounders”

Test Scores Have Declined for Low Achieving as well as High Achieving Students

A new report by the Australian Council for Educational Research provides a very useful overview of the results for Australian students on international and national tests. In particular, it shows an overall decline in reading and mathematics achievement amongst 15 year-old students, a growing gap between the most advantaged and the least advantaged secondary schools in Australia, and further confirmation of the strong influence of socio-economic background on student achievement. Continue reading “Test Scores Have Declined for Low Achieving as well as High Achieving Students”

Independent Panel to Review Private School Registration Process

Save Our Schools has welcomed the appointment of an independent panel to advise the ACT Minister for Education on the review of the in-principle approval and registration process for private schools in the ACT. SOS Convenor, Trevor Cobbold, said the appointment of the panel provides some prospect for a much-needed tightening of the registration process.

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SOS Calls for Sweeping Changes on the Approval and Registration of Private Schools

Save Our Schools has called for sweeping changes to the legislation and administrative regulations governing the approval and registration of new ACT private schools. It has made 23 recommendations for change in a submission to the ACT Government review of the process. The full submission can be downloaded below.

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The Defenders of Privilege in Education Are on the Counter-attack

The Gonski report on school funding is a watershed in education policy in Australia. It has switched the debate from giving priority to school choice and supporting privilege in education to improving results for disadvantaged students and reducing the massive achievement gap in school outcomes between rich and poor. The new funding model promises more for under-resourced schools and disadvantaged students.

This new emphasis on equity in education poses a major threat to the defenders of elitism in education. Their privileged position in education is under challenge. Their counter-attack is under way, led as always by the Murdoch press. Continue reading “The Defenders of Privilege in Education Are on the Counter-attack”