Category Archives: Education

LYNDSAY CONNORS. Tempora mutantur…

Times change, but the Australian system of planning and funding schools is in a time warp, being held back by vested interests from keeping pace with the demands upon it.

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MICHAEL McKINLEY. Whither Political Science?: Not dead but on life support – a response to Roger Scott.

In a recent post Roger Scott asks an appropriate question but it’s anachronistic – like asking why doesn’t Elvis do live concert anymore? Political Science was always a bastard, left-handed, red-haired child of the turn to scientism by the social … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Politics | 5 Comments

LYNDSAY CONNORS. The schools funding saga wends on its way and everything changes while everything stays the same.

The recent by-elections suggest that when it comes to the politics of schools funding, everything stays the same while everything changes.  

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CHRIS BONNOR. Catholic schools’ funding: here we go again.

I have a great idea to fix the drought. Give farmers drought relief, extend it to better-endowed areas with access to water – and continue it long after the rain returns. The farmers I know would be horrified if this … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Religion and Faith | 6 Comments

SUSAN RYAN. The Irish teaching orders in Australia.

For over a century many children, particularly from poorer families, in cities and country areas, and indeed a good number of indigenous children, got a sound basic education in schools established throughout Australia by the Irish orders. As well, students … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Religion and Faith | 8 Comments

CHRISTINA HO AND CHRIS BONNOR. ‘Hubs of concentrated advantage’: selective schools need a rethink

In the debate about selective schools personal stories and beliefs can drown out evidence, especially when that evidence challenges the status quo. So we hear plenty of anecdotes about the successes of selective school students, but relatively few about the … Continue reading

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ROBYN MOLONEY. Learning languages early is key to making Australia more multilingual (The Conversation 3/7/2018)

Simon Birmingham recently announced the government will invest an additional A$11.8 million in a successful preschool language learning program. Some 300 languages are spoken in Australia. In the Greater Sydney area alone, nearly 40% of households speak a language other than English and many children of … Continue reading

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JULIE SONNERMANN. Kids of migrant families do better at school – and we should think about why

 Children of migrant families in Australia consistently outperform their more established peers at school. And new analysis using NAPLAN data shows schools with lots of migrant-background students not only achieve at higher levels, but they have higher growth over time … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Refugees, Immigration | 1 Comment

LINDA SIMON. Falling enrolments in TAFE! How can this be?

The latest NCVER report shows that TAFE enrolments 2016-17 have fallen by 6.5% and government-funded VET programs by 5.9%, with the greatest fall in NSW of 6.8%.  This blog is a commentary on some of the reasons why this has … Continue reading

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CLIVE KESSLER. “Western Civilization” in our universities: Killed off by its latter-day champions.

Who killed off the “Western Tradition” in our Universities? Its current neo-liberal champions and those who share their crocodile tears.

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ROGER SCOTT. “Paying the piper but hating the tune”

The ANU has touched off a debate which has ramifications across the whole university system, or at least that section of it with prestige high enough to attract philanthropists with deep pockets.

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PETER DAY. Beware the Push-Me-Pull-You Syndrome in our Universities.

Thanks to Isaac Newton we know that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. And while Newton’s 3rd Law specifically relates to objects and motion; it can equally apply to the spheres of culture and politics.

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ALLAN PATIENCE: The serious under-development of Papua New Guinea’s university system

There is a crisis in Papua New Guinea’s university system. Universities are devastatingly under-resourced and under-performing. The bizarre persecution of PNG University of Technology’s Vice-Chancellor, Dr Albert Schram, also points to a disastrous governance breakdown at university council level. Can … Continue reading

Posted in Education, International Affairs | 5 Comments

TREVOR COBBOLD. New figures show States have cut funding to public schools.

New figures show that government funding increases have massively favoured private schools over public schools across Australia since 2009. Total government funding per student in public schools was cut between 2009 and 2016 while large funding increases were provided to … Continue reading

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VIC ROWLANDS. Gonski and better learning.

The Holy Grail of teaching is not how children learn so much as when and why they learn, why they learn differently with the same teacher, or differently within the same class. The Age (26/5) reported:  “Schools have largely ignored data … Continue reading

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VIC ROWLANDS. Education, which way forward.

Gonski’s “Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools” is timely but one would hope it will be supplemented by a closer look at the needs of lower achieving students for whom prospects in the next age, with the gap … Continue reading

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STEPHANIE DOWRICK. What is education for?

That quite distinctly beautiful word “education” has its origins in the Latin educare – to draw out or bring forth. But we’re entitled to ask: bring forth and draw towards what? It is well established that the happiest (least discontented, … Continue reading

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MICHELLE SOWEY. The NAPLAN persuasive writing test subverts critical thinking

The capacity to persuade is a vital currency: it fosters active civic participation and affords access to power in a democracy. Developing persuasiveness therefore has an important place in education. Yet not all forms of persuasion are equally commendable. Reasoned … Continue reading

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JIM KABLE. Learning from a Mid-19th Century Japanese Warrior – Lessons for 21st Century Australian Education.

Australia seems to have spiralled over the past 20 or so years into some kind of nightmarish US-like exam-driven educational hell. Directed by those well-known educational experts – politicians. Overseen by test-creator so-called Think Tanks of Expertise aka “Institutes” – unrelated … Continue reading

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CHRIS BONNOR. Gonski’s second coming

When they update the history of Australian school education the name Gonski, and the names of those he has worked with, deserve to be up there in lights. He’s done it again: an exhaustive investigation into what we need to … Continue reading

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JOHN MENADUE. The banking royal commission confirms our worst fears about many business executives and crony capitalism

There was a revealing heading in an article a while back by Ross Gittins, the economics editor of the SMH, ‘Faster growth demands better chief executives’. He concluded his article by pointing to the need for business leadership to seize … Continue reading

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TIM SOUTPHOMMASANE. Australian business and other organisations persistently fall short on cultural diversity.

Australia is widely celebrated as a multicultural triumph, but any such success remains incomplete. There remains significant under-representation of cultural diversity in the senior leadership of Australian organisations. Our society does not yet appear to be making the most of … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Education, Human Rights | 3 Comments

LYNDSAY CONNORS. Where did the money come from for the recent Robocalling in Batman?

In the recent Batman by-election, the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria (CECV) headed by Executive Director, Stephen Elder, contacted voters directly through so-called  Robocalling to urge them to vote Labor. Since then, I have been asking myself two questions.  Why … Continue reading

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CHRIS BONNOR. Is it time to shut Goulburn’s Catholic School doors … again?

For those who don’t have a life and follow the school funding saga, the recent spat over Catholic school funding won’t come as any great surprise. Labor’s proposed extra $250 million commitment has attracted criticism, most recently from The Australian … Continue reading

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CHRIS BONNOR and LYNDSAY CONNORS A school funding horror story: special deals are back

Almost a year ago we thought that peace had been declared in the school funding wars. True, the Turnbull government’s ‘Gonski’ school funding changes fall well short on many fronts but the government did try to bury the special deals … Continue reading

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TREVOR COBBOLD. The Arms Race Between Elite Sydney Private Schools is Fuelled by Govt Over-Funding.

New figures show that the arms race in ostentatious facilities between elite private schools in Sydney is being fuelled by more than $170 million a year in government over-funding. Over-funding frees up private income from hefty fees and donations to … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Politics | 2 Comments

DAVID ZYNGIER. Spending more on private schools doesn’t guarantee success!

It is often claimed as fact that private schools outperform public schools. New analysis of MySchool data and 2017 Victorian Certificate of Education year 12 results shows that public schools with similar Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage (ICSEA) rankings or … Continue reading

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TREVOR COBBOLD. NSW Public Schools Benefit Under Gonski 1.0

New school funding figures show that public schools were the main beneficiaries of the Gonski 1.0 funding plan in NSW. Public schools received a funding increase nearly double that for private schools and it reversed the previous trend of large … Continue reading

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CHRIS BONOR. 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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COLIN STEELE. Who Owns Australian Research?

Who owns the results of Australian research? Certainly, not Australian researchers, as they, and their institutions, continue to give away publicly funded research to multinational publishers. As a result, Australian research is largely locked up behind expensive multinational publishing firewalls, constituting a form of … Continue reading

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