Category Archives: Education

 JIM COOMBS. Public Goods

Before the advent of the “free enterprise market economy” model’s dominance of economic thinking, there was a distinction made between private and public goods.  The idea was that some things had to be provided for a healthy, well-ordered society: such … Continue reading

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LYNDSAY CONNORS. The Tangled  Education Web  Part 1 of 2

Gonski 2.0 appeared to be a gift horse but over the space of little more than two week it is looking more like a Trojan horse.  

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LINDA SIMON.The future of VET remains uncertain!

The 2017 Federal Budget provided little new funding for vocational education and training, with its main focus the Skilling Australians Fund.  This Fund appears to only exacerbate the uncertain future of the VET sector with its narrow student application, dependence … Continue reading

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JOHN DWYER. Policy mayhem is stifling efforts to have more Australian doctors “in the bush” – part one

In this two part article, I am reviewing the basis for the serious problem we have in providing adequate health care for Australians who live in rural, and particularly, remote areas. Good intentions are, as ever, intertwined with political machinations … Continue reading

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CHRIS BONNOR and BERNIE SHEPHERD. Gonski’s second coming will need a miracle or three

Anyone remotely committed to excellence with equity in our schools will feel the urge to break out the champagne this week. After six years a conservative prime minister is not only using the language of Gonski, he had the man … Continue reading

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SAMANTHA PAGE. In defence of public investment in childcare

When childcare issues have hit the news lately, it’s either been about the Federal Government’s new $1.6 billion package to help make childcare more affordable, or about massive fraud cases where rogue Family Day Care operators have pocketed millions of … Continue reading

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TREVOR COBBOLD. How has education come to this?

For a country that prides itself on the egalitarian ethos of a ‘fair go’ for all, the latest results from the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) are a distressing reminder that many are not getting a fair go … Continue reading

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MICHAEL D. BREEN. Bullying Documentary on ABC Television March 14 & 21

Bullying is an epidemic. Bullying is a complex social matter. Systemic problems need systemic remedies. There is a wealth of international research available. Good will and enthusiasm are insufficient treatment qualifications; even if the presenter is a national good guy. … Continue reading

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TREVOR COBBOLD. Disadvantaged Students Denied Adequate Funding by Massive Tax Concessions for the Wealthy

The latest Tax Expenditures Statement shows that Australia can easily afford the Gonski funding plan to bring under-resourced public schools up to the national standard and reduce the large proportion of disadvantaged students not achieving expected benchmarks. It is simply … Continue reading

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CHRIS BONNOR. Selective schools: comprehensively routed?

When you are a school principal there are some days you don’t forget. For me it was the day the government ambushed my school by establishing a selective school down the road. No warning, no consultation – it just seemed … Continue reading

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FAZAL RIZVI. What students learn about Asia is outdated and needs to change.

While we readily recognise the new Asia to be culturally dynamic, and changing rapidly, we have yet to develop a more sophisticated understanding of Asia-Australia relations – and indeed also of the discourse of Asia literacy.  

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TREVOR COBBOLD. The Barnett Government Has Slashed Funding for Public Schools

The claims by the Western Australian Government that it has massively increased school funding in recent years are highly misleading. The fact is that the Barnett Government has taken to the axe to funding of public schools while boosting its … Continue reading

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ROSS GITTINS. How we can do better on education. (Jean Blackburn Oration)

When you do so little to require the winners from economic change to compensate the losers, and then, whether by accident or design, you have an influx of immigrants, you end up with Trump, Brexit and the resurrection of One … Continue reading

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CHRIS BONNOR. A trans-Tasman story out of school

The Gonski recommendations were our best chance to create something better, but it didn’t happen in the way the review envisaged. As one of the Gonski architects puts it, instead we are just on a path to nowhere.  

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TREVOR COBBOLD. Resource Gaps Between Advantaged & Disadvantaged Schools Among the Largest in the World

Disadvantaged students in Australia are being denied equal opportunities to learn because they have less access to qualified teachers and material resources than advantaged students. The gaps in access to education resources between advantaged and disadvantaged schools in Australia are … Continue reading

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PETER GIBILISCO. Where are the public intellectuals like Hugh Stretton.

“The worst kind of bad social science, Stretton argues, purports to select the things to be explained, and the ways of explaining them, without resort to values and valuation”  

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JOHN MENADUE. We are losing our sense of community

Markets are displacing society and community. Exclusion is winning out over inclusion. 

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TREVOR COBBOLD. Labor Again Exposed as Morally Bankrupt on Private School Overfunding

An unholy alliance between Tanya Plibersek and Tony Abbott on overfunding of private schools was again revealed this week. Labor’s position on overfunding was exposed as morally bankrupt, cynical and at complete odds with its supposed support for the principle … Continue reading

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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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