Category Archives: Education

LYNDSAY CONNORS. Slogans like “those who have a go get a go” are no substitute for rational, coherent policy.

The status of Jean Blackburnas one of the finest contributors to Australia’s education policy is confirmed by the recently released biography by Craig Campbell and Debra Hayes covering her life and work. Above all, Jean Blackburn understood the interrelationship between … Continue reading

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CHRIS BONNOR. Rich school, poor school

This week the ABC kicked open the door to an overdue debate about school funding – a debate claimed to have been settled by Malcolm Turnbull two years ago. In a stunning interactive report on its website, Inga Ting and … Continue reading

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TREVOR COBBOLD. Skulduggery by the Morrison & Andrews Governments Robs Victorian Public Schools of Billions

Skulduggery between the Morrison and Victorian Labor Government will defraud Victorian public schools of about $17 billion over ten years to 2028. The new funding agreement between the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments signed last month will mean that public schools … Continue reading

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TREVOR COBBOLD. The Facts About School Funding in NSW

The reputation of the NSW Government for fully implementing the Gonski funding model is totally unwarranted. The NSW Government took the opportunity of increased Commonwealth funding for public schools during 2013-2017 to cut its own inflation adjusted funding of public … Continue reading

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TREVOR COBBOLD . The Facts About School Funding in Australia

Australia has an inequitable school funding system that continues to discriminate against public schools and disadvantaged students. Government funding has been badly mis-directed over many years with massive increases for the more privileged, better-off school sectors and students and far … Continue reading

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TREVOR COBBOLD. Money Really Does Matter in Education

Three new US studies have found that increasing funding for disadvantaged students increases school results. They bring to 21 the number of studies in the last five years showing that funding increases targeted at disadvantaged students improves achievement. This is … Continue reading

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CHRIS BONNOR Selective schools … again

Making stupid policy on the run is hardly new, but Gladys Berejiklian’sdecision to establish a new selective school in Sydney’s south-west has set new precedents. Few people seem to support it, even fewer will benefit. It ignores the debate about … Continue reading

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TANYA PLIBERSEK. Education in an election year

As we approach the election, I’m thinking carefully about how a Shorten Labor Government will be remembered for our reform of education. It feels like every week, I meet someone in their 60s or 70s who reminds me about how … Continue reading

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CHRIS BONNOR The education election: it’s the same old song

A couple of weeks ago I wrote that school education was taking a back seat in the election campaign. With just a few days to go not much has changed: the various protagonists are making more noise, while managing to … Continue reading

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ROSS GITTINS. Universities: both sides should clean up the mess they’ve made

Among the many issues needing early attention from the winner of the federal election is universities. Trouble is, neither side seems to have much idea of how to fix the mess both parties spent decades creating, before Julia Gillard brought … Continue reading

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FRANCESCA BEDDIE. Vocational education in an election climate: it’s time to be bold

The Labor Party is being bold, putting reformist policies before the voter. It has proposed a comprehensive inquiry into post-secondary education. If it gets to undertake that inquiry, I hope it will keep being bold and be prepared to restructure … Continue reading

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CHRIS BONNOR. An election without education?

Commentators often express dismay that debates about policy go missing in action at election time. This time around, the vacuous reigns supreme as the election degenerates into a policy parody – despite longer term policy work by the ALP and … Continue reading

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BOB BIRRELL. Overseas Students. A labour market program?

As readers of Pearls and Irritations will be aware, Net Overseas Migration to Australia (NOM) in 2017-18 was 236,731. This is equivalent to 0.9 per cent of Australia’s population. NOM was the main source of Australia’s overall 1.6 per cent … Continue reading

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ELAINE PEARSON. China’s Efforts to Curb Australia’s Academic Freedom: What Universities Can Do.

There’s been a vigorous debate of late in Australia about the extent of Chinese government interference in domestic politics. Less has been said about what occurs on our university campuses. Pressure from the Chinese government comes in numerous ways, including … Continue reading

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DON AND PATRICIA EDGAR. Universities as Failed Critics

Back in 1997, Mark Davis complained that the Baby Boomers were monopolising public comment and should make way for the next generation – meaning him – to lead us out of ‘Gangland’ to ‘a new generationalism’. We’ve heard little since … Continue reading

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TONY SMITH. Disability and disenfranchisement: the social construction of political disadvantage

Thanks to the determination of disability advocates such as Senator Steele-John, national attention is being drawn to ways in which society fails people with ‘disabilities’. Indeed, in our general disregard for the needs of Australians of different abilities, we exclude … Continue reading

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TREVOR COBBOLD. Funding Increases for Private Schools Continue to Outstrip Increases for Public Schools

New funding figures show that government funding increases for private schools continue to far outstrip increases for public schools. Government funding per student in public schools (adjusted for inflation) was cut between 2009-10 and 2016-17 while private schools received a … Continue reading

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TREVOR COBBOLD. Govt Concealing Catholic Schools’ Use of Taxpayer Funds

Public accountability for the use of taxpayer funding is a fundamental tenet of democratic government. Yet, this principle has long been ignored by Catholic education authorities who refuse to reveal how they distribute government funding amongst their schools despite it … Continue reading

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TREVOR COBBOLD. Education Department Slammed for Failure to Monitor How School Systems Distribute Taxpayer Funding

The Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit of the Parliament has slammed the Commonwealth Department of Education for failing to ensure that government funding of public and private school systems is distributed according to needs-based principles.

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LINDA SIMON. Review Lite for VET! – What happened to the Royal Commission?

Under the pressure of an upcoming Federal election and little action taken to address ongoing issues in the vocational education and training sector, in November 2018 the Prime Minister announced a review into VET. The review was to be undertaken … Continue reading

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TREVOR COBBOLD. Public Schools are Defrauded by Billions Under New Funding Agreements

Public schools are being defrauded by billions under school funding agreements finalised at the end of last year between the Commonwealth and state/territory governments (“the states”). Public schools in all states except the ACT will be under-funded indefinitely while private … Continue reading

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TREVOR COBBOLD. Money Matters for Student Outcomes

A new comprehensive review of academic studies in the United States has found overwhelming evidence of a strong causal relationship between increased school spending and student outcomes. It concludes that “the question of whether money matters is essentially settled” and … Continue reading

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CHRIS BONNOR. Separating scholars in Australia’s schools

The beginning of the school year is a time of excitement and expectation for students and their families: a new year, new friends, and often a new school. It is also exciting for teachers and school principals as they welcome … Continue reading

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LYNDSAY CONNORS – CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER. The Marketing of Private Schools

CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER. The Marketing of Private Schools In its recent newspaper advertisement for a Director of Advancement, a long-established Sydney private school for Catholic boys described itself as “an inclusive, non-selective, school, with students attending from all walks of … Continue reading

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ALLAN PATIENCE. Teaching as a vocation.

Good teachers are equal to good parents in any civilized society. They are infinitely more important than politicians, civil servants, professionals, business people, media commentators, celebrities and sports stars all put together. (Good nurses come a very close second.) Yet … Continue reading

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BRUCE THOM. University research cuts.

The December budget update gave the federal government the opportunity to once again slice into the operating expenses of universities. This time it was to cut funds for research. Cumulative hits to one of the nation’s major sources of export … Continue reading

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GEORGE MONBIOT. Advertising and Academia are controlling our thoughts. Didn’t you know?

By abetting the ad industry, universities are leading us into temptation, when they should be enlightening us.

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STUART REES. Free speech about Israel/Palestine at an American and Australian university.

Anti-Semitism is on the rise across Europe and the United States. So too are accusations of anti-Semitism as a means of stifling any criticism of Israeli policies towards Palestinians. As with any racially motivated prejudice, anti-Semitism is completely unjustifiable.  So too … Continue reading

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BOB BIRRELL AND KATHARINE BETTS. Australian universities’ dependence on overseas students: too much of a good thing.

In November 2018 we published an analysis <http://tapri.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Final-overseas-student-revisited.pdf> of the higher education overseas student industry. It was framed around the remarkable growth in the share of commencing overseas university students to all commencing students over the years 2012 to 2016. … Continue reading

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CHRIS BONOR. The Best of 2018: The elite schools’ arms race goes nuclear

Yes, it was Sunday and the news is usually more sensational than during the week. But the extravagant building plans of some ‘elite’ schools, revealed in the Sun Herald, were certainly eye-opening. According to the report, two of these schools … Continue reading

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