No Evidence of “Rich Genes”

The Productivity Commission has recently put out a paper which suggests that inherited cognitive ability may contribute to educational gaps between students from rich and poor backgrounds – by perhaps as much as 20%. This has put the issue of possible genetic explanations of the differences between social groups in educational and more general social outcomes on the Australian social and political agenda. Continue reading “No Evidence of “Rich Genes””

Registration Panel for New Charnwood Private School is Biased

The ACT Minister for Education has appointed a biased panel to assess the registration application for the new campus of Brindabella Christian College (BCC) in Charnwood. Private school representatives make up six of the ten panel members. The Minister has ignored her own departmental manual for the registration of private schools which states that the panels are independent. Past practice has been that registration panels have a majority of members not associated with private schools.

This new revelation shows that the Minister has stacked the deck in favour of the new Charnwood campus. She failed to properly assess its likely impact on existing schools in Charnwood and north-west Belconnen as required under the ACT Education Act, she kept her decision to give in-principle approval secret for three months and now she has appointed a biased panel to assess its registration application.

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Charter Schools Do No Better Than Other Public Schools

Charter schools are generally doing no better than traditional public schools in the United States according to a new national study. Three-quarters of all charter schools are doing no better than traditional schools in reading and 70 per cent are doing no better in mathematics. The study concludes that the greater school autonomy granted to charter schools had little effect on student achievement over time.

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The Blueberry Story: The Teacher Gives the Businessman a Lesson

“If I ran my business the way you people operate your schools, I wouldn’t be in business very long!”

I stood before an auditorium filled with outraged teachers who were becoming angrier by the minute. My speech had entirely consumed their precious 90 minutes of inservice. Their initial icy glares had turned to restless agitation. You could cut the hostility with a knife. Continue reading “The Blueberry Story: The Teacher Gives the Businessman a Lesson”

Secrecy Surrounds Review of the Registration of New ACT Private Schools

The ACT Minister for Education, Ms. Joy Burch, has initiated a review of the current arrangements for approving and registering new private schools in Canberra. The Minister stated that a review is underway in a letter to the Secretary of the ACT Branch of the Australian Education Union. The review is the result of a joint request by the Union, the P&C Council and Save Our Schools.

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Independent Public Schools Fail to Increase Student Achievement, but Increase Social Segregation

A review of independent public schools in Western Australia has found that they have not increased student achievement but could be developing a two-tiered education system in the state. The review found there is little evidence of changes to student outcomes, attendance and behaviour as a result of the introduction of independent public schools.

The great promise of school autonomy is that it will deliver increased school outcomes. However, it appears that the WA school autonomy program has so far failed to deliver on this promise. There are also widespread concerns that it is contributing to greater social segregation in public schools in the state.

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More Evidence that Money Matters in Education

A new review of research studies on the relationship between expenditure on schools and education outcomes has challenged the common view that more expenditure does not lead to better school performance. The review published by the UK Office for Standards in Education shows that numerous international studies conducted since the early 2000s show a positive impact of increased expenditure in schools, especially for disadvantaged students. The study adds to the weight of evidence supporting the new Gonski school funding model. Continue reading “More Evidence that Money Matters in Education”

Australia Still Lags in Pre-school Education

New figures released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development show that Australia still lags other developed countries in pre-school education. Australia has one of the lowest levels of enrolment in pre-school education in the OECD and spends less on pre-school education as a proportion of GDP than any other OECD country. Continue reading “Australia Still Lags in Pre-school Education”

MOOCs Will Come and Mostly Go Like Other EduTech Fads

Massively open online courses (MOOCS) are seen by many as the future of education, even replacing teachers in the classroom. They are being promoted by universities around the world. Large IT companies such as Rupert Murdoch’s Amplify headed by former New York City schools chancellor, Joel Klein, are betting that digital learning can replace teachers and are devoting millions and millions of dollars in developing and promoting online learning products. This article by an IT insider questions the value of online learning. Continue reading “MOOCs Will Come and Mostly Go Like Other EduTech Fads”