Targetting East Asian Test Scores Will Bring East Asian Afflictions

The Prime Minister and the Federal education minister have set test scores in East Asian countries as the benchmark of education success. However, East Asian success has come at considerable cost. There is a very real danger that pursuing this new target will inflict Australian education with similar problems and undermine our successful education results.

Several recent media reports confirm that the emphasis on test scores in East Asian countries has brought some very undesirable education and social side effects. Two particular effects are intense parental pressure on children to succeed which leads to many hours of homework and private tutoring and a focus on memorization and rote learning at the expense of thinking skills and creativity. Continue reading “Targetting East Asian Test Scores Will Bring East Asian Afflictions”

Mapping School Autonomy in Australia: Part 3

This article is the third in a series on mapping the extent and differences in school autonomy across jurisdictions and school sectors in Australia. The aim is to provide an up to date information base for further discussion of issues around school autonomy.

The information provided below and in forthcoming articles is a first go at developing a comprehensive overview of school autonomy in Australia. Comment is invited with a view to correcting mistakes and omissions.

The “Contact Us” facility on this website can be used to directly provide comments and information or to contact SOS for another address to send information. Continue reading “Mapping School Autonomy in Australia: Part 3”

ACT Liberals Ignore Disadvantage to Defend Privilege

Tony Abbott recently claimed that private schools are the victims of an “injustice” because they get less public funding than government schools.

ACT Liberals have taken up this claim with a vengeance in their election promise to increase funding for private schools. They have revealed their true colours – their first priority is to support better-off families, not low income families.

They ignore the real injustice in ACT education – a massive achievement gap between rich and poor. Increased funding for private schools can only compound this gap.

Continue reading “ACT Liberals Ignore Disadvantage to Defend Privilege”

‘Independent’ Review of Research on the Impact of School Autonomy is a ‘Dud’

The Federal Department of Education recently published the first report in its so-called independent evaluation of the Government’s school autonomy program. The report purports to be a literature review of academic research on school autonomy, but it is a ‘dud’ of a review. Continue reading “‘Independent’ Review of Research on the Impact of School Autonomy is a ‘Dud’”

The Real Class War on Display

The real class war in education was on show this week. It was an object lesson in how the rich ruthlessly exploit their power to gain privileges at the expense of the poor and less well-off. Within a few days they extracted commitments to a funding increase for private schools which will likely amount to about $1.5 billion from the Federal Government and an unspecified increase from the Coalition. Continue reading “The Real Class War on Display”

Parents Call for No Further Expansion of School Autonomy in the ACT

The following is a media release from the ACT Council of P&C Associations on school autonomy in the ACT

The ACT Council of P&C Associations says that there should be no further expansion of school autonomy until it is established that it will have unequivocal benefits for students. Continue reading “Parents Call for No Further Expansion of School Autonomy in the ACT”

High Inequality in Learning Outcomes Demands Action

Despite claims by the Coalition spokesman on education, Christopher Pyne, Australia does have an equity problem in education. International comparisons of school results show high inequality in Australia which is strongly linked to student background.

There is a learning gap of six years between the bottom and top 10% of 15 year-old students in Australia. This gap is larger than the average for developed countries and amongst the largest of the top performing countries. In addition, the results of the bottom 10% of students in Australia are amongst the lowest of the other top performing countries, but higher than the average for developed countries.

The learning gap between rich and poor is also high at about three years of learning between the bottom and top 25% of students by socio-economic background. This gap is larger than in nearly all other top performing countries. Students from disadvantaged backgrounds are doing much worse in Australia than in most other top performing countries. Continue reading “High Inequality in Learning Outcomes Demands Action”

Mapping School Autonomy in Australia: Part 2

This article is the second in a series on mapping the extent and differences in school autonomy across jurisdictions and school sectors in Australia. The aim is to provide an up to date information base for further discussion of issues around school autonomy.

The information provided below and in forthcoming articles is a first go at developing a comprehensive overview of school autonomy in Australia.

Continue reading “Mapping School Autonomy in Australia: Part 2”

This article is the second in a series on mapping the extent and differences in school autonomy across jurisdictions and school sectors in Australia. The aim is to provide an up to date information base for further discussion of issues around school autonomy.

The information provided below and in forthcoming articles is a first go at developing a comprehensive overview of school autonomy in Australia.

Continue reading “Mapping School Autonomy in Australia: Part 2”

Many Victorian Schools to Miss Out on Equity Funding

The Victorian Government recently announced changes to the Education Maintenance Allowance which provides assistance to low-income families for textbooks, stationary, excursions and school uniforms. Until now half the allowance was paid directly to parents and the other half to schools. From 2013, an increased allowance will be paid to parents but no payments will go to schools. The Government says that the savings achieved will allow more equity-based funding to be provided to schools with a high proportion of students from low socio-economic backgrounds. The following article on the changes was contributed by a Victorian school principal. Continue reading “Many Victorian Schools to Miss Out on Equity Funding”