Fighting for Equity in Education

The struggle is long but hope is longer

Media Release: Advantaged Schools Get First Call on the Best Teachers

Tuesday October 23, 2018

A research paper published today by Save Our Schools shows that Australia allocates more and better teacher resources to socio-economically advantaged schools than to disadvantaged schools. SOS National Convenor, Trevor Cobbold, said there is a shocking mis-allocation of teaching resources between disadvantaged and advantaged schools in Australia that ranks alongside the worst in the OECD.

“Advantaged schools in Australia have first call on the best teachers while disadvantaged schools face severe shortages of quality teachers. It represents a major policy failure. Governments are effectively discriminating against disadvantaged schools in terms of their access to quality teaching resources.”

“Disadvantaged schools in Australia have more students per teacher, more teacher shortages, more teacher absenteeism, more poorly qualified teachers, more teachers teaching out-of-field, more inexperienced teachers, more teacher turnover, more novice teachers, and more teachers on short-term contracts than advantaged schools. The gaps in teacher shortages and poorly qualified teachers are particularly large.”

“Teacher resource gaps in Australia are the largest or amongst the largest in the OECD. For example:
• Disadvantaged schools in Australia are worse off than those in any other OECD country on an aggregate of several measures of teacher quantity;
• The gap in the number of students per teacher is the largest in the OECD;
• The gap in the shortage of teachers is the equal 5th largest in the OECD;
• The gap in poorly qualified teachers is the equal 3rd largest in the OECD.”

“The disparity in teaching resources between advantaged and disadvantaged schools impacts most heavily on public schools. Some 95% of disadvantaged schools in Australia are public schools.”

“The difference in teacher resourcing between advantaged and disadvantaged schools contributes significantly to the very large achievement gaps between advantaged and disadvantaged 15-year-old students of about three years of learning.”

“Australian governments must take a much more active role in promoting a more equitable allocation of teacher resources if progress is to be made in reducing the achievement gaps. Governments must increase the number of teachers and the quality of teachers in disadvantaged schools and better support them to remain in these schools. “

Mr. Cobbold said that the SOS analysis is the most comprehensive review of teaching resources in advantaged and disadvantaged schools available in Australia. It is based on a large data set published with a recent OECD report titled Effective Teacher Policies: Insights from PISA.

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