Back in Oz now that the election is over. Thought I was safer in Europe...then along came Brexit! Looks like education joined half a dozen key policy areas that didn't get a headline in the Oz election. Lyndsay Connors stated the education priorities in Pearls and Irritations. Some reports and articles have grabbed my attention, during and since:
- 'Private schools deserve public funding as much as government schools' Ross Fox in the SMH July 18. Ross sets up a few straw men and knocks 'em over....aided by a selective use of evidence. Actually, his schools are increasingly getting "as much"... and moving on to more.
- 'Three reforms that will lift student outcomes' Well-worded piece by Peter Goss (Grattan) in The Convo, July 15.
'Public funding for schools associated with Church of Scientology revealed' SMH July 13. Eryk Bagshaw has done a couple of these stories on fringe schools. But as Bernie and I have demonstrated, hundreds of mainstream non-gov schools are now publicly funded ahead of gov schools.
Lucy Clark wrote an excellent report in The Guardian, 'Education and the election - it's still all about the money' June 22.
Fiona Miller in The Guardian: 'Parental 'choice' in education has created the worst of all worlds' June 13.
Interesting report by Ken Gannicott, issued by the CIS: 'Did Gonski get it right? - school funding and performance'. A flawed analysis which provides a challenge - watch this space!
- 'Uneven playing field: the state of Australian schools' This is our report (me with Bernie Shepherd), released on June 1 by the Centre for Policy Development. Reported in the Fairfax media June 1. Comment from Matthew Knott. Also reported in Guardian Australia. There is a brief version in Inside Story June 1. Also The Morning Show, Channel 7 June 2. Our briefest summary is in Pearls and Irritations
- Top article from Glenn Savage in The Convo 'What is the Coalition's real agenda for Australian schools.'
- 'What kind of government better funds private schools than its own?' Peter Martin in The Age (May 19) citing my work with Bernie. We've crunched the latest My School data and our full report is being issued in less than two weeks by the Centre for Policy Development (CPD). Meanwhile expect a howl of denials, citing misleading sector average funding, from the non-gov school lobbies.
- 'Funding to private schools rose 'at twice the rate of public schools': report'. The Age, May 17. Read this carefully. It is a wonderful example of how governments play ducks and drakes with funding figures.
- Some rare comments from David Gonski, this time giving a nod to the way NSW is funding schools. The Educator, May 20.
- 'What is the problem with Australia's schools?' SMH reports on Geoff Masters' ACER report.
- 'Election promise crib sheet: what you need to know' The Guardian May 16
- Detailed report from Anna Patty in the Sun Herald: 'The problem with how we measure success in schools' Terrific story Also from Fairfax: 'The schools that could swing the federal election'. May 14
- 'Boosting education or cutting company tax: which will do more to boost the economy?' Jessica Irvine, May 13
- Reports on the early exchange of education policy election blows in The Guardian May 10 and the ABC. Dollar by dollar by electorate - how have we come to this? A competition amongst pollies who never did 'get' Gonski. My contribution is 'My Gonski is bigger than yours' in Pearls and Irritations.
- 'Government drops plan to make all schools in England academies' Guardian - a great win for belated common sense.
- The Conversation fact checker reviewed the extent of inequity in Australia - worth reading.
- It was only a matter of time before these stories became prominent: 'Only 'doctors and lawyers' get into popular state schools' The Age May 2 - also 'White flight: race segregation in Melbourne state schools'. The Age More on May 3 and a comment from Alice Williams . Covered also in Green Left Weekly.
- Too little too late? That might sum up the Coalitions $1.2bn extra for schools. 'Election fight on education funding looms as Labor lashes 'pathetic' school pledge' SMH May 2. Glenn Savage comments in The Guardian.
- 'Australia $72 billion worse off without Gonski, report says' SMH April 29. Report on work completed by Adam Rorris. As Christine Cawsey sums it up: "As the Californians say, 'spend money on education or build more jails."
|School Daze available here|
- Two connected items this week. 'Taxpayers fund private school orchestra pits and swimming pools' SMH April 12. Jane Caro writes: 'When it comes to money opposition doesn't add up' Fairfax April 11.
- The fun following last week's thought bubble from the PM continues. 'The worst idea ever: Adrian Piccoli blasts Malcolm Turnbull on schools' SMH April 5. 'Malcolm Turnbull's bias revealed in school funding plan' Julie Szego on April 7. But there is a smell of panic with Birmingham's citing of a one year trend in some schools to show money doesn't matter. Lenore Talyor (Guardian April 7) takes up the issue.
- 'Teaching needs a shake-up to give children the education they need for the future' Eric Jamieson in the SMH, April 3. Sound advice from a respected educator.
- So, was Turnbull's proposal to dump public school funding on the states alone a piece of policy kite flying, a kamikaze dive or a badly timed April fool's joke? Good report from Matthew Knott (SMH). ABC News covered Ken Boston's response. My contribution is on Pearls and irritations. Terrific piece by Jessica Irvine, SMH April 1. Still, I loved the PM's time-warped (and sector-warped) reference to "state headmasters and headmistresses". Says it all, really. Nearly forgot: the Grattan folk wrote a good piece in The Conversation. I sort-of objected to a tiny bit.
- 'State of our schools survey finds positive Gonski effect, but overworked teachers' ABC News March 31.
- Worth reading: 'Education policy not adding up: OECD asks what's wrong with Australia's schools?' SMH March 26
- These stories keep coming: 'Private versus public schools - which has the academic edge?' The Age March 29. David Zyngier's research, on which the report is based, considerably adds to our understanding. It can be found on the Save our Schools website. It also mirrors our findings on the HSC in NSW, newly reported in School Daze.
- Quentin Dempster tells VET the way it is becoming: 'The bipartisan catastrophe that's wasting billions in taxpayer dollars' SMH March 26.
- The ABC reports on one of our findings in School Daze. So now it seems that Grattan says bright kids are better off in advantaged schools, we report that they are certainly moving in that direction...and My School tells them where to go! Hmmm. Meanwhile we'll release School Daze next Monday.
- 'Bright kids fall behind at disadvantaged schools' SMH March 22 reports on the Grattan Institute's latest. Read the Grattan report....it wraps new data and analysis around a known problem. Falls short on solutions, but so does just about every other analysis.
- Trevor Cobbold unpacks the recent Victorian audit of how the Catholic system distributes funding. Not a good look in a state where Catholic schools are increasingly funded ahead of similar government schools.
- Jane Caro ('James Paterson needs educating about schools') isn't impressed with a new member of what Keating called the "unrepresentative swill" - the new Senator seems less than impressed with his unrepresentative roots.
- The English are still at it - now they are going to turn all schools into academies. Fiona Miller reports in the Ed Guardian. As she asks: what's the point? Laura McInerney shows, the plan doesn't address real problems. But it will line the pockets of more than a few people.
- 'Most private schools can't prove they spend government funds appropriately: watchdog'. The Age March 9.
- 'In praise of state schools - and their teachers' Richard Teese Fairfax March 7.
- 'Students who change schools do worse in NAPLAN' SMH March 6. Methinks there is more to the problem than just changing schools.
- 'The concentration of poverty in American schools' The Atlantic, March 1. Mentions controlled school choice as a part-solution. More about controlled choice here.
- It's agonizing following the non-debate about safe schools. As a former principal who tilted (sometimes successfully) at homophobia 20 years ago I applaud Jane Lucke's article 'Let's not lose sight of the facts in the Safe Schools debate,' Fairfax March 4.
This is our response - compiled with Bernie Shepherd, Lyndsay Connors and Jim McMorrow - to One size does not fit all. We believe that the CIS document only tells half a story and ignores challenging evidence from the very source the authors used the most.
- Trevor Cobbold reports on a significant new analysis of PISA 2012: 'Low performing students - why they fall behind and how to help them succeed' Also read Trevor's report on this document. As he concludes: "In a nutshell, this is the case for fully implementing the Gonski funding plan"
- Tim Dodd at the AFR (Feb 22) has also picked up on the increasingly known problems with Productivity Commission data about schools: 'New official data changes the debate about school funding'
- This is one of those 'read it and weep articles: 'Inequality and higher education: a class act' by Stephen Parker VC of the University of Canberra. It puts changes in higher ed into an often forgotten context - and is very readable. The sandstones should hang their heads in shame.
- 'Funding rates for top NSW private schools exceeds poorest schools: report' SMH Feb 16. One of a number of reports on Trevor Cobbold's latest work. Trevor has carefully adjusted Productivity Commission data to enable apples-with-apples comparisons of funding. Very revealing.
- What a great piece from some recent school graduates: 'Australian schools are entrenching division and inequality' Rizina Yadev and Sam Wolfe in the Fairfax papers, Feb 10.
- 'We aren't as equal as we think' NSW Department of Education report finds' SMH Feb 9. Find the report here
- The Centre for Independent Studies has engaged Jennifer Buckingham and a colleague to try to counter myths about private schools. Her op ed was in the SMH and apparently in The Oz. There are serious flaws in her paper. I'll post a response in a couple of weeks. But do read it; the author/s found a publicly subsidised private school with a lower ICSEA than surrounding public schools. I'll donate a dollar to their preferred charity for every other one they find. My money is safe!
- There is a deluge of studies showing whether money makes a difference to student achievement. Trevor Cobbold reports on the latest.
- 'Labor commits to fully funding Gonski' SMH Jan 29. A welcome move, but remember how Gillard, having dragged her heels, positioned Gonski as a supposed election winner in 2013? Is this just a repeat performance? Trevor Cobbold's comment is well worth reading. I comment on John Menadue's blog. Good article by Ben Eltham in New Matilda.
- 'How schools avoid enrolling children with disabilities' Linda Graham et al in The Convo, Jan 29. Well worth reading, illuminating! Also illuminating for another reason is Jennifer Buckingham's piece on private schools in the SMH Feb 1.
- Great conversations about ATARs, including Jenna Price 'ATARs measure the past when we need to judge potential students on their future' SMH Jan 29. Just think of the fallout in schools and coaching colleges if ATARs were bypassed! Bring it on!
- 'Senate inquiry finds 'disgraceful' treatment of schoolchildren with disabilities' The Age, Jan 16. Also 'Disabled children shut out of private schools' The Age Jan 20. I would also add 'some public schools'. So is this the answer? - 'My School website to soon include disability access information' The Age Jan 21.
- Christina Ho's most recent work shows that 'Gentrification is dividing Australian schools' The Convo, Jan 20.
- 'Should you worry about a schools shortage?' Peter Goss in The Convo, Jan 22.
- Want to read a quick comic strip on privilege? Here 'tis.
- Some views from abroad in The Guardian: Tristram Hunt: 'Inequity is a problem schools alone can't fix' , Jan 12. Also 'Our kids - the American dream in crisis' Richard Reeves writes about Putnam's new book, earlier in 2015. Also in The Washington Post Marion Brady asks 'Who's behind the devastating movement to privatize public schools?' Jan 13.
- Richard Teese shows how Gonski got it right. SMH Dec 31. Also from Teese: 'With Gonski gone we can expect more demands for private schools' The Convo, Jan 9.
- Trevor Cobbold has put numbers around the over-funding of private schools, pointing to the role of public funding in adding to private advantage, and the expanded total income for private schools. A third aspect is the growing excess of government funding to private schools compared to gov funding of similar public schools. In March Bernie and I will revisit this issue.
- Well, happy new year parents and schoolies: 'Hopes dashed by Coalition decision to dump school funding model' Guardian, Dec 29. Simon Birmingham: Don't expect schools election cash splash' SMH, Dec 29. And some of the reaction: 'NSW schools will remain under-resourced without full Gonski, government warns' SMH Dec 29. Trevor Cobbold has crunched the figures. All quickly followed by Jennifer Buckingham: 'Education funding plan is unclear but it won't be as generous as Gonski' SMH Dec 30. My contribution can be found on John Menadue's Pearls and Irritations.
- Usual end-of-year silliness about the HSC and VCE etc. e.g. 'Boys versus girls - the single-sex school battle of the sexes' The Age Dec 18. But over the years some follow-up reporting has been more nuanced e.g. 'The real star performers of this year's HSC' SMH Dec 20.
- The backlash against competitive testing is making some ground, helped by research findings. Read 'UK among world's worst for 'teaching to the test' research finds' TES, Dec 18.
- Yes, I'm enjoying the Ravenswood 'Captain's pick' of what to say to her school...and the media response, including the letters. Interesting that, in another context, our new PM talked on the same day about the need for risk taking and the lessons from failure. All schools could learn from both messages.
- Major new initiative between The Australian Government Primary Principals' Association and Professor Alan Reid. Read the AGPPA brochure - also their media release - and of course Alan Reid's terrific paper, entitled 'Building our nation through public education'. A timely contribution and wake-up call.
- 'But mum, that can't be right: the private school myth that doesn't add up' Monica Dux in The Age, Nov 27
- 'Which countries punch above their weight in education rankings?' The Convo, Nov 24
- 'NSW government to build a new co-ed selective boarding school' SMH Nov 19. All very exciting, but I wonder if anyone thought to do a study of the likely impact on any other schools - and aggregate student achievement - within cooee? I don't think so.
- 'Most overachieving NSW public schools revealed' SMH, Nov 15. A good story and St John's Park HS is a terrific school (and implementing Big Picture). But I want to know about how the whole list of schools was derived.
- 'Schools need to experiment in the classroom to prepare students for the real world'. William McKeith in SMH Nov.12. And in the same vein: 'Why is school not working for so many young people?' John Smyth in The Convo, Nov 12. The problem is we are fixated with doing school at school and in much the same way. Life's experiences don't come in boxes, nor does learning.
- 'Government accuses six Islamic schools of breaching Education Act'. Guardian Nov 13. An overdue intervention, but hardly a problem exclusive to Islamic schools.
- Trevor Cobbold finds reason for hope in Turnbull's musings about education and Gonski (Nov 9). It might be because we've been through Gonski week but I would also be on the optimistic side.
- More grist for the mill: 'Five years between full-time study and full-time work, research finds' SMH Nov 10
- Step aside doom and gloom, Australia rates number one in education in the Legatum Institute Prosperity Index. Just shows we need to balance our infatuation with numbers against other indicators.
- ''Girls from Catholic schools in Sydney most likely to go to university' SMH Nov 8. Rather silly headline about research which doesn't seem to offer much that is new.
- Interesting Fact Check from the ABC on what constitutes a private school and where Australia stands.
- Interesting noises to make: 'PM Malcolm Turnbull considering funding the final two years of Gonski' SMH Oct 31. Also reported by ABC.
- Media tells about the Mitchell Institute report Educational Opportunity in Australia. SMH Oct 26. Great publicity, and a better analysis of the problems BUT don't we know enough about the problems? Shouldn't we research and promote the solutions that are actually working? Stephen Lamb follows up with a piece in The Convo, Oct 26
- The thoughts of Ed Minister Simon Birmingham get an airing in the SMH, Oct 27
- Something else we know: 'School students segregating in Australian suburbs where public housing meets gentrification' ABC News, Oct 23.
- Interesting read: 'The controversies raging inside our Islamic schools' Good Weekend in the SMH.
- The NSW government doesn't seem to be distracted in its push for full Gonski. It might have work to do. Some of the new Federal minister's early thoughts (vouchers!!?) don't inspire confidence.
- Dean Ashenden examines what various players believe should be done about Australian schooling. Inside Story Oct 16. One of his best.
- Ross Gittins (SMH Oct 12) has written a nice piece on competition and choice....but be sure to read to the end.
- In a ham-fisted attempt to support penalty rates Bill Shorten has tied himself up in knots over schools. SMH Oct 7
- Useful and better informed discussion on school autonomy in a recent ACEL publication.
- Great investigative journo, Michael Bachelard, tells about 'Vocational education: how the shonks and shysters took control' Fairfax Sept 26
- Trevor Cobbold details the funding gains for Victorian private schools following Labor's pre-election deal.
- Trevor also explains the recent OECD findings on computers in schools. I expressed concerns going back to the 1990s - like all single initiatives nothing changes if that is all that changes.
- 'Could Turnbull give a Gonski?' Dean Ashenden sees a chance to reshape Gonski for a new government. Inside Story Sept 24
- 'NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli blasts new federal minister on Gonski comments' SMH Sept 23
- Nice summing up of Pyne's legacy: 'Pyne leaves education having failed to sell a vision for the past' Kelsey Halbert in The Convo, Sept 23.
- 'Government funding and private schools....' Sunday Age Sept 6. This item is significant because it is mainstream media and a Sunday. It obliquely refers to my Findings with Bernie Shepherd.
- More concern about Pearson's increasing global controls over schools is emerging. SMH Sept 7
- First news of findings of the Bracks Review of education funding in Victoria. The Age, Sept 6.
- 'Government urged to remove LGBTI discrimination in schools' The Age, Sept 2. Interesting to watch in the light of impending 100% public funding for private schools.
- Various reports on the CIS push for charter schools in Australia. Dean Ashenden raises more than a few questions which may have escaped the CIS (The Convo, Aug 31). With private schools about to be fully public-funded maybe we are already there....
- 'The Sydney schools becoming Anglo ghettos' SMH Aug 25 reports on Christina Ho's latest findings. Read her full article
- 'Religious education scrapped from curriculum' The Age Aug 22. Maybe Victoria discovered how much it was funding church schools and wants a trade-off !?
- From ACER's Geoff Masters: 'Mind the gap between school performance' SMH, August 20.....particularly the second half of his piece. To quote: "a significant increase in the gap between low and high socioeconomic schools with Australia the only OECD country to observe such an increase"
- 'School autonomy helps boost results, study finds' SMH Aug 19. Story comes from Brian Caldwell's research into....school autonomy. Hmmm. Looks like other people also think along similar lines - see 'Evidence for success of independent public schools is flawed' The Convo, Aug 20.
- Couple of good NAPLAN pieces. 'NAPLAN data and school funding: a dangerous link' The Convo. See also 'Testing democracy: NAPLAN produces culture of compliance'
- Wow, this is news: 'Parents' background has major impact on NAPLAN results' SMH Aug 16. The Sun Herald editorial accompanying it is thoughtful. The ABS work on which it is drawn is interesting and sometimes questionable.
- August has seen more than our fair share of moral panic stories about NAPLAN. Try this one: 'NSW '10 to 15 years' behind the world's best' SMH Aug 18.
- A useful and readable summary of our findings from My School is found in The Journal of Professional Learning, Semester 2, 2015.
- Interesting look at inclusion Vs separation in special education - the growth of special schools seems to be mirroring other endemic separation in schooling. The Conversation, August 5.
- Imagine my surprise when I read this: 'NAPLAN 2015: 'Education chiefs warn students are not improving' SMH August 5? Elements of truth, but the real story is more complex...as we show in our own analysis.
- 'Private school, public cost' - our latest findings from My School now available. In a nutshell: on recent funding trends 40% of Catholic schools will get per student public funding in excess of similar government schools next year, another 40% two years after - and half the Independent schools by the end of the decade. Also available at Australian Policy Online, with a shortened version in Inside Story. Reported in the SMH, July 17. Also on ABC TV The Drum. and Online Opinion July 22.
- 'Dropping out of school is deadly' Trevor Cobbold presents research findings on the perils of not completing school.
- Great read, 'Education and gratitude' from Toni Hassan in Online Opinion (July 9):
- Two significant papers from Trevor Cobbold. The first is a policy comment that reviews a new study on the effect of school composition on student achievement. The study and Trevor's comments make an important contribution. More recently and with wide implications is his study showing increasing inequity in school funding.
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