Author Archives: Chris Bonnor

Chris Bonnor

About Chris Bonnor

Chris Bonnor is an education researcher and writer.

CHRIS BONNOR. A rare opportunity to fix schools

A little news item can tell a big story. This week the Guardian reported on a survey that revealed that Australian parents want schools to teach more social skills. It raises many questions: whose job it is anyway, what will … Continue reading

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CHRIS BONNOR. Gonski is back, but who noticed?

The Government has called for submissions into the “Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools” – aka the “second Gonski  review”.  Gonski was about money and equity, this review is about what schools should do.

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CHRIS BONNOR. NAPLAN has just turned ten. So what?

NAPLAN is not unlike some kids I have known: conceived in haste as a result of a rush of blood, a bit of an erratic upbringing (from a variety of guardians), confusion as to purpose in life and fervent hopes … Continue reading

Posted in Education | 1 Comment

CHRIS BONNOR. Has the Gonski dust settled?

Many claims have been made about the Turnbull Government’s Gonski breakthrough. It seemed to grant the wishes of advocates for greater equity and efficacy in the funding of schools – so much so that I had to re-cast the recommendations … Continue reading

Posted in Education | 1 Comment

Chris Bonnor Vale Bernie Shepherd

Every profession has them: those people with an extraordinary range of interests and talents who change the lives of others and sometimes the profession itself. Bernie Shepherd, who has just lost his battle against cancer, was one of these. He … Continue reading

Posted in Education | 7 Comments

CHRIS BONNOR AND BERNIE SHEPHERD. PART ONE: Losing the game? Do we now have another chance to lift school equity and achievement?

  Amidst this week’s flurry of activity over the ‘Gonski’ legislation we seem to have forgotten serious problems, both old and new. In this first of two parts Chris Bonnor and Bernie Shepherd consider the problems we still need to … Continue reading

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CHRIS BONNOR AND BERNIE SHEPHERD. PART TWO: Losing the game? Do we now have another chance to lift school equity and achievement?

Amidst this week’s flurry of activity over the ‘Gonski’ legislation we seem to have forgotten serious problems, both old and new. In this first of two parts Chris Bonnor and Bernie Shepherd consider the problems we still need to solve. … 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

Posted in Education, Politics | 3 Comments

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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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.  

Posted in Economy, Education, Religion and Faith | 1 Comment

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

Posted in Education | 2 Comments

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

Posted in Education, Media | 3 Comments

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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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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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. 

Posted in Economy, Education | 2 Comments

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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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

Posted in Education, Politics | 3 Comments

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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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

Posted in Education, Politics | 1 Comment

CHRIS BONNOR & BERNIE SHEPHERD. It’s NAPLAN time again!

  August is when the NAPLAN test results come out to schools and parents. It isn’t as exciting as the annual release of Year 12 results, but it is developing a life of its own. We are bombarded with media … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Politics | 2 Comments

CHRIS BONNOR and BERNIE SHEPHERD. Will we really get Gonski?

So the election is in full swing and the word ‘Gonski’ is once more up there in lights. You have to feel a bit sorry for David Gonski. His achievements are indeed stellar but his name has become a proxy … Continue reading

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Chris Bonnor. My Gonski is bigger than yours

We should have known it would come to this. For years both Labor and the Coalition have ducked and weaved while the education sector battled to ensure that at least the Gonski funding hope was kept alive. Labor recast Gonski’s … Continue reading

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Chris Bonnor. Malcolm abandons the middle in schooling

Two plus years of conservative government has given oxygen to a number of strange solutions to ill-defined problems. Malcolm Turnbull’s proposal to have the States alone fund government schools, leaving the Commonwealth to look after private schools, is the latest. … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Education, Politics | 1 Comment

Chris Bonnor and Bernie Shepherd (researchers). School Myths Busted.

What My School really says about our schools. (Text of press release of 28 March 2016) In the wake of the latest version of My School two researchers have published a startling account of what the numbers behind the website actually … Continue reading

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Chris Bonnor. Labor goes back to the Gonski future.

The ALP’s commitment to funding Gonski for the full six years has created interest and even excitement, being welcomed by the three main school sectors, but panned by the Coalition. So why do I just feel that we’ve been here … Continue reading

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Chris Bonnor . Unhappy New Year, struggling schools and parents!

  Prime ministers come and go but the timing of nasty announcements doesn’t change. And so it was with the dumping of Gonski funding beyond 2017, announced in the traditional period of national lethargy between Christmas and New Year. It … Continue reading

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Chris Bonnor. Educational opportunity in Australia.

   Educational opportunity in Australia – who succeeds and who misses out? This critical question about our schools is the title of a new report commissioned by the Mitchell Institute. It is a thorough, timely and outstanding contribution to our … Continue reading

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Chris Bonnor. Eroding human capital in our schools

Policy Series   There are a number of givens about schools and their students. Both are critical to economy and society. The level of collective student achievement can create future dividends – or deficits. The quality of school education not only … Continue reading

Posted in SERIES: Freedom, opportunity and security | 1 Comment

Chris Bonnor. School funding and achievement: following the money trail

The recurrent expenditure on school education in Australia is over 44 billion dollars, around 36 billion of this provided by governments. These are considerable sums, more often than not expressed as a cost rather than an investment – especially when … Continue reading

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