Fighting for Equity in Education

The struggle is long but hope is longer

The Hidden Cost of East Asian Test Results

Posted on Wednesday April 26, 2017

High education success in East Asia has its costs and Australia must be careful to avoid taking this route. The challenge is to combine good learning outcomes for all students, irrespective of family background, with highly satisfied, healthy students. >> Read on...

Student Absenteeism is High in Australia

Posted on Wednesday February 22, 2017

Data from PISA 2015 show that student absenteeism is very high in Australia. It is likely to be a factor behind the high proportion of students who do not achieve expected standards of achievement. >> Read on...

What's Behind Australia's Tottering PISA Results?

Posted on Thursday February 16, 2017

A review of Australia’s results from PISA 2015 and an analysis of factors contributing to the declining results, the high proportion of disadvantaged students not achieving expected standards and the high inequity in school outcomes. >> Read on...

Public School Enrolments Increase

Posted on Sunday February 5, 2017

New school enrolment data show a reversal of the steady drift of students from public to private schools over the past 40 years. >> Read on...

Oxfam Says that Global Tax Avoidance is Starving Funding for Vital Public Services

Posted on Wednesday January 20, 2016

A new Oxfam report says that the global tax avoidance network is depriving governments of resources needed to fund vital public services such as education and health. < >> Read on...

Technology is No Game-Changer in the Classroom

Posted on Monday December 21, 2015

A teacher explains that new technology is having little impact in the classroom because most educational applications of technology ignore what we know about basic learning theory. >> Read on...

The Price of Privilege

Posted on Monday November 9, 2015

When parents pay premium fees for their children to attend elite private schools, there is little wonder that some have a sense of entitlement as revealed by slurs against public school students by Xavier student. >> Read on...

School Size Matters

Posted on Sunday October 18, 2015

Recent research on school size suggests that student results tend to be lower in large primary schools than in small schools, but at the secondary level the results are mixed. There are other costs and benefits associated with large schools. >> Read on...

Australia’s Heavy Investment in Computers in Schools Has Not Paid Off

Posted on Tuesday September 22, 2015

Australia’s heavy investment in computer-based technology in schools has failed to improve student performance in reading, mathematics and science according to the OECD. >> Read on...

Victorian Education Corruption Scandal: Our Children Deserve Much Better

Posted on Sunday June 21, 2015

A Victorian school principal speaks out on the school corruption scandal. Despite Victoria have a highly devolved school system, principals and school business managers receive little training in school financial management. >> Read on...

Lessons That Matter From East Asian Education

Posted on Saturday June 6, 2015

US educator shows that East Asian countries are abandoning the education policies and practices that Western observers have praised. >> Read on...

More Education Reduces Income Inequality

Posted on Thursday April 23, 2015

A review of academic studies on the effects of education on income inequality shows that education is effective in reducing inequality. It suggests that full implementation of the Gonski funding plan would help reduce income inequality by improving secondary school outcomes. >> Read on...

The Success of East Asian Students is Explained More by Family Attitudes Than Differences in Teaching

Posted on Wednesday December 3, 2014

A new study shows that differences in teaching between East Asian countries and Australia are not a critical factor in the differences in student results. Instead, it shows that differences in family attitudes to education are the key factor. >> Read on...

NAPLAN Results Provide Little Joy and Much Concern

Posted on Tuesday October 7, 2014

The preliminary NAPLAN results for 2014 show that reading and numeracy have stagnated across Year levels while writing has continued to decline. >> Read on...

Worth a Read: Week Ending 28 September

Posted on Sunday September 28, 2014

Some articles from last week worth reading. >> Read on...

Worth a Read: Week Ending 20 September

Posted on Sunday September 21, 2014

Some articles from last week worth a read. >> Read on...

Australia Still Lags Badly in Pre-School Education

Posted on Monday September 15, 2014

OECD figures show that Australia lags well behind most other OECD countries in enrolment in pre-school education. >> Read on...

Australia’s Chinese Students do as well as Shanghai Students

Posted on Friday August 29, 2014

New research shows that Australia’s Chinese students do just as well as Shanghai students in the PISA tests. It suggests that the large difference in average results between Shanghai and Australia is due to cultural factors rather than education policies. >> Read on...

Are Gifted and Talented Classes a Bright Idea?

Posted on Monday August 25, 2014

Despite the increasing expansion and popularity of gifted and talented programs, there is little evidence that they are effective. A new research study shows that they do not improve the results of students. >> Read on...

South Korea’s Education System is a Form of Child Abuse

Posted on Thursday August 7, 2014

The South Korean education system has a dark underside. Its cram schools and authoritarian teachers produce ranks of overachieving students who pay a high price in health and happiness. >> Read on...

Review of Class Size Research

Posted on Friday May 2, 2014

A new review of research on the impact of smaller class sizes finds that smaller class sizes in the first four years of school can have an important and lasting impact on student achievement, especially for children from culturally, linguistically and economically disenfranchised communities. >> Read on...

The Culture Wars of Kevin Donnelly

Posted on Monday April 28, 2014

Appointed by Christopher Pyne to review Australia’s national curriculum, Kevin Donnelly is engaged in his own private culture war against public education. It means that the review will have no credibility. >> Read on...

OECD Report Says High Participation in Private Tutoring in Korea is Pernicious

Posted on Saturday March 22, 2014

Korea has the highest participation rate in after-school tutoring in the world. A new OECD report says its impact is pernicious. It is exacerbating social inequality, narrowing education and harming the all round development of children. >> Read on...

Australia Fails to Achieve Universal Pre-school Target

Posted on Tuesday March 18, 2014

New figures show that Australia has dramatically failed to achieve its target of universal pre-school education by 2013. >> Read on...

Northern Territory Review of Indigenous Education

Posted on Saturday February 15, 2014

Margaret Clark reviews the Draft Report of the Independent Review of Indigenous Education in the Northern Territory. >> Read on...

Comparing East Asia and Australia

Posted on Monday February 10, 2014

East Asian success in education shows that it is possible to lift results for disadvantaged students but Australia should avoid emulating the East Asian obsession with cramming and the social cost it incurs. >> Read on...

Australia's 2012 PISA Results

Posted on Thursday December 5, 2013

The PISA 2012 study shows that Australia’s reading and mathematics results have declined and that the declines have been larger in private schools than government schools. It also shows continuing large achievement gaps between rich and poor. >> Read on...

South Korea's Education Success Has a Dark Side

Posted on Monday November 25, 2013

South Korea’s highly successful education system has a dark side that Australia would do well not to emulate. >> Read on...

Study Shows Catholic Schools Have Lost any Academic Advantage over Government Schools

Posted on Friday November 15, 2013

A new study shows that Catholic school results have fallen relative to government schools over the past 20 years and that Catholic school results are similar to government schools. >> Read on...

Australia’s Declining School Results are Due to Ineffective Private Schools

Posted on Tuesday November 12, 2013

A Melbourne University study shows that the decline in Australia’s performance in international tests over the last decade is primarily due to falling results in both Independent and Catholic schools. >> Read on...

Australia is in the Top League of All-rounders

Posted on Monday September 2, 2013

Australia is ranked equal fourth in the world in terms of the proportion of students who are top performers in reading, mathematics and science. This puts paid to criticisms that Australia ignores top students. >> Read on...

Test Scores Have Declined for Low Achieving as well as High Achieving Students

Posted on Thursday August 29, 2013

PISA test scores have declined for high and low achieving students since 2000, but those for high achieving students recovered somewhat after 2006 while those of the lowest achieving students have continued to decline. >> Read on...

South Korean Students Go to School Twice – Once in the Day and Again at Night

Posted on Saturday August 17, 2013

Cram schools are big business in South Korea. They are a factor in the country’s education success, but they are also a factor behind increasing education inequality. >> Read on...

Follow SOS on Twitter

Posted on Tuesday July 30, 2013

You can now follow SOS on twitter >> Read on...

No Evidence of “Rich Genes”

Posted on Friday July 26, 2013

A recent report by the Productivity Commission claims that genetic factors contribute significantly to the achievement gap between rich and poor. The claim is based on flimsy evidence. There is no evidence to show that genetic differences contribute to the educational gaps between high and low SES students or different ethnic groups. >> Read on...

Australia Still Lags in Pre-school Education

Posted on Monday July 1, 2013

New figures released by the OECD show that Australia has one of the lowest levels of enrolment in pre-school education in the OECD and spends less on pre-school education as a proportion of GDP than any other OECD country. < >> Read on...

MOOCs Will Come and Mostly Go Like Other EduTech Fads

Posted on Sunday June 30, 2013

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) promise a future of students learning online, but things won’t be all that different from today: students from underprivileged backgrounds will continue to lose the educational race; parents with means will ensure the best (non-MOOC) education for their kids; and most students won’t learn that much more or less than they learn today. >> Read on...

Hyperbole about Online Learning is Not Supported by Research

Posted on Monday June 24, 2013

Renowed US educator says that hyperbole about the potential of the internet to transform education is not supported by research. >> Read on...

High Myopia Prevalence in East Asia Linked to After-School Tutoring

Posted on Wednesday June 5, 2013

A new academic study has linked the high prevalence of myopia in East Asian countries with extensive use of after-school tutoring. >> Read on...

High Proportions of Asian Children Participate in Extra Tuition

Posted on Monday April 15, 2013

A new survey shows that much higher proportions of Asian children participate in extra tuition outside school compared to Australian children. >> Read on...

The Parlous State of Pre-School Education

Posted on Monday March 25, 2013

Nearly one in three children in Australia miss out on pre-school education. In NSW, nearly one in two miss out. A new report has called for a doubling of funding for pre-school education in NSW. The NSW Government has passed the buck to the Commonwealth. >> Read on...

Australia’s Maths Performance Relative to East Asia Improves in Secondary School

Posted on Tuesday March 12, 2013

While the gap in mathematics results between Australia and East Asian countries is quite large in primary school much of it has been eliminated by age 16. Australia’s mathematics results are more strongly associated with socio-economic background at age 16 than in many other countries.< >> Read on...

Australia is Well Behind Other OECD Countries in Pre-School Education

Posted on Friday March 8, 2013

A new brief published by the OECD shows that Australia has one of the lowest levels of enrolment in pre-school education in the OECD and spends less on pre-school education as a proportion of GDP than any other OECD country. >> Read on...

Worth a Read

Posted on Saturday December 8, 2012

A selection of articles worth a read. >> Read on...

East Asian Education Problems Ignored

Posted on Thursday November 29, 2012

The price paid for East Asian education success is long hours doing homework and in after-school coaching classes. The long hours indoors on education has led to an epidemic of myopia amongst the young. This is not something Australia should copy. >> Read on...

Downsides to East Asian Education Success

Posted on Saturday August 11, 2012

A new report by the Asian Development Bank shows that 70-80% of East Asian students attend private tutoring lessons. It suggests that high participation in tutoring is a factor behind the education success of these countries and warns that it is encouraging poor education practices and fuelling education and social inequality. >> Read on...

Chaplaincy Program Pushes Against Secular Public Education

Posted on Thursday March 15, 2012

Hugh Wilson of the Australian Secular Lobby argues that the National Chaplaincy Program is undermining the secular nature of the public education system. >> Read on...

Imitating East Asian Schools is a Short-Sighted Solution

Posted on Wednesday March 7, 2012

The recent report by the Grattan Institute attributing the success of East Asian schools solely to better teacher training and renumeration is simplistic. It ignores other factors such as long hours of homework and coaching which have contributed to an epidemic of myopia in these countries. >> Read on...

The View from Shanghai

Posted on Sunday February 19, 2012

A Shanghai view of Shanghai’s education results. >> Read on...

The Real Face of China's Education System

Posted on Sunday February 19, 2012

China’s education success is not all as made out in the recent Grattan Institute report. Chinese sources acknowledge that creativity and imagination in learning is poor in China and students have to spend many more hours on homework and after school lessons. >> Read on...

NAPLAN Results Highlight the Failure of Governments to Address Education Disadvantage

Posted on Wednesday January 25, 2012

The latest NAPLAN results show virtually no change in overall average results, in the results of disadvantaged students and in the large gaps between the results of disadvantaged and advantaged students. Governments are failing disadvantaged students and their families.< >> Read on...

Teacher Librarians are Fast Disappearing

Posted on Thursday November 24, 2011

Australian students continue to lose teacher librarians and school libraries. A divide is developing between the schools which can afford one or more teacher librarians, and those where students have to rely on Google. >> Read on...

Completing Year 12 Offers the Best Employment Prospects

Posted on Wednesday June 15, 2011

Students who complete Year 12 have better full-time employment rates, lower incidence of unemployment, higher wages and higher-status jobs.< >> Read on...

Gifted and Talented Programs are not a Bright Idea

Posted on Monday June 6, 2011

The first detailed statistical study of the impact of gifted and talented programs in schools finds that they have no effect on student achievement. >> Read on...

The Crime Reducing Effect of Education

Posted on Wednesday June 1, 2011

A new study shows that increased years at school lead to a reduction in property crime. The reduction in crime generates large social benefits. >> Read on...

Tilting at Windmills on Foreign Languages

Posted on Wednesday June 1, 2011

The Bailleau Government’s plan for more time on foreign languages in schools may be over-ambitious. >> Read on...

More Education Leads to Less Crime, Better Health and Greater Political Participation

Posted on Thursday February 3, 2011

A new review of research studies shows that completion of secondary school has significant social benefits by reducing crime, improving health, lowering mortality, and increasing political participation. This points to the need for a strong public education system providing for all students. >> Read on...

Education Quality and Inequity Are Worsening in Australia

Posted on Wednesday December 8, 2010

The latest international test results show that Australian education is still a high quality, low equity system, but that quality is declining and inequity is increasing. >> Read on...

Schools Off-Load Low Achieving Students to Boost League Table Ranking

Posted on Monday December 6, 2010

Low achieving students are being off-loaded by schools in England in order to boost their league table rankings according to a report published last month. >> Read on...

Grattan Institute Report Ignores Disadvantage in Education

Posted on Tuesday November 16, 2010

The recently published report by the Grattan Institutue on class sizes and teacher effectiveness is overly simplistic, fails to address the central issue of overcoming the effects of disadvantage in education and ignores research evidence that lower class sizes can significantly improve achievement by low income and minority students. >> Read on...

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