- Open up selective schools for more 'inclusive' education, says Rob Stokes (reported in SMH, Jan 10). There are very few times when a news story has floored me, but this one did. A courageous venture by Rob Stokes. Chris Ho and I somewhat wish him well in 'Selective school decisions coming back to haunt us' SMH, Jan 10). Interesting, Victoria refuses to add to its small number.
- 'Labor has 'no plans' to change law allowing religious schools to fire gay teachers' Guardian Australia. Did anyone expect they would? It would need leadership.
- Pasi Sahlberg on what Finland can teach Australian schools. Guardian Australia, Jan 7
- 'Religions school discrimination' Religious schools say they hardly every discriminate, so - given their public funding - why shouldn't they have to seek approval each time? Jane Caro asks in The Saturday Paper.
- Another very significant issue raised by Trevor Cobbold: Govt. failure to ensure private school systems distribute funding according to need will continue under Gonski 2.0
- 'HSC results reveal the state high schools punching above their weight' SMH Dec 19. Well, not exactly. See Edu-fact check left.
- Before the year ends be sure to check out the Public Education Network's Facebook site - and sign up!
- It might be a tad early, but I've wrapped up the school-related stories for December in 'Schools: will we ever join the dots?' Pearls and irritations. As for end of year HSC stories: I've given up reading them. In 2008, I told a journo I could write them up for the next ten years....in advance.
- It's NAPLAN report time again, i.e. the full breakdown of previously reported results. We are told that one in four boys are falling short of NAPLAN minimum standard (SMH), that students with poorly educated parents are up to four years behind (Guardian) ....and that our civics education is woeful (Guardian). And this doesn't include News Limited rags which I don't read unless I'm boarding an aeroplane (where they are free). Glenn Savage tells more in The Conversation....as does Trevor Cobbold.
- 'Private schools set to get more than they need under Gonski 2.0' Peter Martin (Fairfax) reporting on Trevor Cobbold's revelation - based on docs obtained under FOI. Also read Trevor's opinion piece (Canberra Times)....and his full report.
- 'Elizabeth Farrelly: why private schools should be banned' SMH, weekend.
- 'Is it really the Christian way? Teacher who lost job after revealing he was gay speaks out' ABC News.
- Phew! We are gaining ground in the Year 4 international league table (according to Progress in International Reading Literacy Study - PIRLS) .....reports the Guardian. Let's face it, nothing else matters (?)
- BUT The Canberra Times reports that the report shows that ACT was the only Australian jurisdiction to slip backwards. A quick look at My School suggests that a widening socio-educational advantage (SEA) gap between ACT schools is a big part of the problem.
- I'm wary about 'hero-principal' reports but Lateline's John Stewart has reported fairly on success at Tamworth's Hillvue school. And Pete Goss at Grattan shows more widely how we can and should be a more adaptive education system. Read his report. Good advice for the Gonski panel.
- 'The clues that could explain our falling PISA marks' Alex Smith reports on recent research, SMH Dec 5
- This was always going to happen: 'Academies deepening divisions within English education system, study finds' And for a US perspective on a related problem: 'The California schools where kids are all the same race'
- 'Why this Hong-Kong-born mother won't send her kids to selective schools' ABC News, Nov 27.
- 'Forget bakers, why can private schools be bigots?' David Gillespie in the Courier Mail. While on bigots, worth reading is Louden and Rowe's fact checking of claims about Safe Schools. The Convo.
- Fun to watch: 'Catholic and Independent schools reignite feud over government funding' ABC News
- Federal Labor is holding a national education forum today (Nov 20). I've called it Gonski in one day. Today's outcomes might be useful but will be safe and predictable.
- 'Wealthy parents flock to public schools' A first report on school enrolment using 2016 census data. Interesting. What is the bet that CIS will bring up the wealthy-parents-should-pay-fees line....again! More from me on this in Pearls and Irritations
- 'Employers say schools are failing to prepare students for employment' Fairfax Nov 20. Schools are for all manner of things but this report makes a significant contribution.
- Charter school scams exposed in the US - Huff Post, Nov 20
- 'Six propositions for Gonski 2.0' Dean Ashenden in Inside Story. One of the best reads for ages. Will Gonski 2.0 embrace these long term solutions?
- Worth keeping in touch: Ivan Webb on reasons for segregation in Australia's school system.
- 'Something's gone badly wrong with teaching' says Ross Gittins, Fairfax Nov 11.
- 'Where do your neighbours send their kids to school?' Fairfax has gathered 2016 census data into an interesting interactive resource.
- In the same Sunday paper: Fairfax reports how Parents are agonising over testing even before their kids go to school. ACARA's (otherwise wonderful) Phil Lambert wants schools to teach more life skills. But how could this work unless we neuter or radically change the tests? Hmmm.
- Ross Gittins (Fairfax, Nov 4) puts claimed costs of services for Indigenous Australians into perspective.
- At last - only took six years: 'Govt announces National School Resourcing Board' Read report in The Educator, Nov 1. Notice ... once again ... that public education as a sector is not represented.
- 'Schools, universities, hospitals not up to scratch, finds damning productivity report' SMH Oct 24. Launched with some fanfare and instant solutions. So what will the Gonski 2.0 review panel talk about?
- 'Teachers now expected to now also be counsellors, data analysts: UNESCO report.' SMH Oct 24, reporting on UNESCO's Accountability in Education
- The Centre for Independent Studies preferred ideas for the Gonski 2.0 Review will appeal to many. See media report. Their main priorities include early literacy and more teacher development. They doubt the value of technology and lower class sizes. Generalisations are common and they aren't thinking outside the square - but their work is more sensible than some previous efforts.
- 'Independent schools lash out at Catholics over 'gaming the system' claims' The Age Oct 10. It is fun to watch the civil war in the 'Taliban' extreme fringe of non-gov school sectors. They deserve each other....but we don't deserve either of them. Trevor Cobbold nails the problem in P&I. Also see my Edu-fact check entry, left.
- 'Australian parents want schools to teach more social skills' Guardian Oct 10 ....and maybe quadratic equations and the causes of WW1 could be taught at home?
- 'Australian students at richer schools have unfair advantage in science - report.' Guardian Australia Oct 10.
- 'Wealthy private schools set for funding windfall'. The Age Oct 6
- Tom Greenwell: 'Inside Australia's first virtual school' Inside Story Sept 28. A very timely article. Gonski 2.0 panel please take note.
- "Australian Independent school students rank among the world's top performers" - Wow!? See Edu-fact check on this page.
- 'Wellness centres and rowing tanks...' Julie Szego on the private school arms race....and by way of contrast, 'Government warned of widenin g gap between country and city schools'. Fairfax, Sept 25.
- Simon Birmingham has announced his brand new Year 1 test, rather odd given he recently urged people to think outside the square (for Gonski 2). The reaction is quite strong....and I state a few dilemmas in Pearls and Irritations. And even better: a response from a 14 year old student.
- Gonski 2.0 (the Review) is now launched. The questions to which submissions must respond are more creative than the terms of reference. The AEU is concerned about the short time frame. But this is a chance in a decade - just do it!
- Sarah Pilcher reports in The Convo on early years of learning in Australia. A long way to go.
- 'For long term improvements schools need to slow down' Interesting - from Jess Harris et al in The Convo. I hope they put in a submission to Gonski 2.0. Speaking of which, I hope blogger Darcy Moore does too - see his latest on John Hattie.
- As a former boys' school principal this Jane Gilmore piece resonated with me: 'How shocking sexism becomes normal in 'elite' environments' SMH Sept 7.
- Things are so quiet on the school education front. Some of this will change when Gonski 2.0 calls for submissions. The NSW Department of Education's Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation has issued a somewhat underwhelming report Improving high school engagement, classroom pratices and achievement. Also reported in the SMH, followed by scathing letters. Good as far as it goes....but that's the problem.
- Trevor Cobbold has highlighted two new reports: one on Teach for Australia and the second on the most recent US (NBER) research on the benefits of investing in disadvantaged schools.
- This is here for my records as much as anything: it is a report on virtual classrooms in the context of languages. Has big potential to strengthen comprehensive schools in many areas.
- Adding to doubts about PISA is this report from Trevor Cobbold. National performance of 15 year olds in schools doesn't mean much when many are not in schools!
- Emma Rowe's series on religion in Australia's schools is worth a read....The Convo.
- Now this is interesting - or is it? 'One-third of Sydney high schools are 'neither efficient nor effective'. This SMH report doesn't say much - need to know more about this research.
- 'The private advantage that isn't' - my take, for an international audience, on trends in Australia.
- Pete Goss at Grattan has arrived at a better comparison of Australia's expenditure on education. See AFR report.
- This year's NAPLAN moral panic is because results haven't shifted much in ten years. Of course they haven't: how can we expect the strugglers to lift their results (and hence the totals) when they are increasingly, and literally, in a class of their own? Reports in the SMH, also ABC News. Some other good reports here and I splash a few ideas around in Pearls and Irritations. Misty Adoniou (The Convo) warns against a dominating focus on the basics. And nice opinion piece on the NAPLAN/HSC link from Anthony Farley.
We'll include links from time to time. Do keep in touch with Save Our Schools. Trevor Cobbold's research is compelling and his site has excellent links to other sites.
September 2016: Institutionalised Inequality Published in Inside Story
June 2016: Uneven playing field: the state of Australian schools released by the Centre for Policy Development.
March 2016: School Daze - what My School really says about our schools.
February 2016: ...and half a story doesn't fit the facts. Our response to One school does not fit all, issued by the Centre for Independent Studies.
July 16th 2015: 'Private school, public cost' - Findings from My School 2015. First report in the SMH
Equity in Australian schooling - an update. (October 2014) What Gonski found to be bad we have found to be worse. Reports about it here and here. Also in Inside Story. UPDATED My School 6 version now available: Gonski, My School and the Education Market.
The public and private of student achievement (December 2014) Schools with similar students get similar results. Reported in the Sun Herald.
School funding and achievement - following the money trail (February 2015) Similar schools get similar results, so what does it cost? Read the main media report and our oped in the Guardian Australia.
Is the idea of a school community - at least in a geographic sense - a myth? Just a quarter of our schools have an enrolment that reflects their locality.