Category Archives: Education

CHRIS BONNOR & BERNIE SHEPHERD. The vanishing private school

Just when we are getting used to the idea of having a mix of public and private schools in Australia along comes a development with the potential to upset everything once again. Over the years our federal and state governments, … Continue reading

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TREVOR COBBOLD. Birmingham misleads on School Funding and Outcomes

Improving the results of disadvantaged students is the major challenge facing Australian education.  Yet, the Minister continues to wilfully ignore the extensive research evidence demonstrating that increasing funding for disadvantaged students is critical to improving outcomes. Five major academic studies … Continue reading

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TESSA MORRIS-SUZUKI. Anti-PC gone mad.

The moment you condemn something or someone for being “Politically Correct”, you have transformed yourself from being a billionaire businessman, a media pundit, or the bloke down the street, and have instantly become a champion of the oppressed silent majority … Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. Brexit, Trump and the Lucky Country 1 – Who’s been left behind?

In “developed” countries the benefits of 35 years of economic growth have been unevenly distributed. Many people who once had well-paid manufacturing jobs and many who live in the country have fallen behind. While this has been most starkly manifest … Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. Brexit, Trump and the Lucky Country 2 – The response of those left behind

It would be hasty to attribute the Brexit and Trump votes to a “swing to the right”, or to an ill-informed electorate. The most compelling explanations are in terms of protest votes. People’s anger of electorates has given an opening … Continue reading

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IAN McAULEY. Brexit, Trump and the Lucky Country 3 – Globalization takes the rap, unfairly

Globalization has been only one of the developments that has led to widening inequality and social exclusion. Countries that have globalized have also introduced a raft of neoliberal domestic policies, against which people are reacting.

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IAN McAULEY. Brexit, Trump and the Lucky Country 4 – Issues re-framed

Contrary to some interpretations, the trend in “developed” countries is still towards social and economic liberalism. But there is a strong reaction against the social exclusion that has accompanied liberalization. The economic models that guide public policy are not up … Continue reading

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CHRISTINA HO. Hothoused and hyper-racialised ethnic imbalance in our selective schools.

This is a repost from November 3, 2016.  “Across Sydney students from a language background other than English (LBOTE) regularly make up 80% or 90% of enrolments in selective schools.” As families increasingly turn away from their local public schools, … Continue reading

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ALLAN PATIENCE. From America into Asia

As Australia necessarily rethinks its alliance with the United States, it must simultaneously educate itself into Asia. There is just no other way.  

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CHRIS BONNOR. Schools punching above their weight – or just punching each other?

Put your hand up if you are participants in the festive season. No, not that Christmas stuff – I’m talking about the annual festival of the HSC/VCE or whatever. You must have searched to see where your old school, your … Continue reading

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TILLY GUNNING. Gertrude Menear – My Great, Great Aunt-an early suffragette

A woman ahead of her time.

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CHRIS BONNOR & BERNIE SHEPHERD. Australia’s test scores: what lies beneath?

The big lesson for Australia in education is that we can ‘reform’ schools to the hilt, hammer the maths and science – but nothing will change unless we address structural and equity problems as well. 

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WALTER HAMILTON. Education as a way of life

The OECD-endorsed rankings of educational proficiency recently released give the lie to those in Australia who attribute outcomes solely to levels of spending. Throwing more money at the Education Establishment will not automatically produce smarter students.

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CHRIS BONNOR. Time for some ghost-busting in school funding by ALP.

The ALP seems to have missed many points about school funding, especially the need to establish Gonski’s schools resourcing body, a proposal which has been strongly supported by the Grattan Institute.

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IAN WEBSTER. Amid chaos, ethics.

Speaking particularly of the treatment people in Manus and Nauru, Professor Ian Webster argues that in this secular and chaotic world, the values and principles of the professional codes of health workers could be used to frame their future contributions … Continue reading

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CHRIS BONNOR. School funding: Grattan’s timely circuit breaker

Chris Bonnor contends that the Grattan Institute report has resurrected the missing link in the sporadic implementation of Gonski. 

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LINDA SIMON. NO quorum at COAG! Who cares about VET?

Linda Simon says that the vocational education and training (VET) system in Australia has faced many challenges over a number of years, including cuts to funding, lack of government attention and a system that has enabled students to be rorted … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. Donald Trump – a false prophet and implications for Australia.

  Trump prides himself in being a change-agent, but he really wants to restore the past and protect privilege. He will also do a great deal of social damage. Analysis of the US election tells us that many American ‘working … Continue reading

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TESSA MORRIS-SUZUKI. Trump: it’s time to go back to basics.

  The election of billionaire and reality TV host Donald Trump to the most powerful political position in the world has created global shockwaves. As countless commentators have already observed, Trump’s election is a stunning reminder of the depth of … Continue reading

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LYNDSAY CONNORS. Cometh the hour, cometh the man?

  Is the Hon. Simon Birmingham, Federal Minister for Education and Training, the man? In his recent appearance on the ABC’s Q&A, Senator Birmingham announced that there are private schools that are ‘over-funded’. This came as the Turnbull Government is … Continue reading

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DAVID CHARLES. Venture Capital and Start Ups – Is Berlin an example for Australian capital cities?

  During a visit to Berlin in mid September this year I was struck by the way the venture capital and start up scene in Berlin had shifted from being something of an exotic hothouse flower to one of the … Continue reading

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CHRIS BONNOR. School funding ‘overs’ and ‘unders’

  Last week was one to remember: one school funding revelation after another. It began the previous Friday at the Education Minister’s COAG gathering in Adelaide. One big problem, as Bernie Shepherd and I pointed out, was that the gathering … Continue reading

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JOHN FITZGERALD. Beijing’s Guoqing versus Australia’s way of life.

Beijing’s role in the Chinese community media in Australia is increasingly in conflict with its own demand for respect. Beijing is tired of foreign analysts criticising China simply for being what it is. A former Chinese ambassador to Australia, Fu … Continue reading

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CHRIS BONNOR. Institutionalised farce: funding Australia’s schools.

  The nation’s education ministers have just had a day together to sort out school funding. There was considerable posturing but little agreement. And they managed to sidestep real problems and urgent solutions. They do have some awareness of the … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. ‘Aunty, with our prospects in life – what is the point of being healthy?’

  The ABC Boyer Lecture series this year is being delivered by Sir Michael Marmot, the World Medical Association President and Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London .The main thrust of his lecture series has been … Continue reading

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CHRIS BONNOR. Reports on schools: lift the bonnet … and ration the petrol.

  A couple of reports out on schools this week are urging policy shifts, but in different directions. The latest offering from the money-doesn’t-matter brigade comes from the Productivity Commission in its draft report Lifting the bonnet on Australia’s schools. … Continue reading

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LINDA SIMON. CEDA joins call for urgent VET Review

  The Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) has released a report into aspects of vocational education and training (VET) in Australia. The report is entitled ‘VET: securing skills for growth’ and makes a number of recommendations including the … Continue reading

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CHRIS BONNOR & BERNIE SHEPHERD. NSW public schools are bursting at the seams – but which ones and why?

  A news report in The SMH August 29th revealed that more than 800 public schools in NSW are operating at 100% of capacity or more. Apparently 180 of these are stretched beyond their limits. The report listed a large … Continue reading

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CHRIS BONNOR & BERNIE SHEPHERD. When public schools become part of the problem

  School education in Australia has been invaded from the west. In 2010 Western Australia added its contribution to free-market orthodoxy by declaring that its public schools would be given greater control over staffing and budgets. From 2010 an increasing … Continue reading

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LINDA SIMON. Australian VET in crisis! Are there lessons to be learned from the UK?

  For some the crisis in vocational education and training (VET) and the fate of TAFE was a critical issue in the recent Australian Federal elections. For others it hardly made the radar. Unfortunately a number of those others included … Continue reading

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