Wednesday, December 7, 2016

It is the system!!

The way Australia's school system works is the problem!!

Most claims about the problem with Australia's school system are wrong, at least in part. The fundamental problem is not "poor performing" schools, funding, the quality of teachers, curriculum, lack of aspiration...  It is the way the system works.

Similar per capita funding for all schools together with different rules for different schools is driving our school system backwards while increasing costs and producing poorer outcomes.

The present Australian system works like this...
  1. Government funding for schools increases each year
  2. Increases and indexation favour non-state schools (1) resulting in
  3. Per capita govt funding is now similar for all schools (2) which means
  4. Per capita govt funding is similar for state and non-state schools (3) but...
  5. Some schools select which students to enrol - no mutual obligation for government funding received
  6. Advantaged schools attract students, eg, reputation, scholarships... (2, 3, 4)
  7. Some schools select capable, low needs (low cost) students (5,6)
  8. Advantage becomes more concentrated particularly in non-state schools (7)
  9. Students in advantaged schools do well - teachers have a small range of needs to meet  (8)
  10. Higher SES schools "out-perform" lower SES schools (9)
  11. Non-state schools "out-perform" state schools (9, 10)
  12. Disadvantage becomes more concentrated in lower SES (state) schools (5 -11)
  13. Students in disadvantaged schools do worse - teachers to meet have a wider range of needs (12) 
  14. Overall outcomes decline (9 - 13)
  15. Costs continue to increase as a result of indexation
  16. Demands for additional funding for disadvantage increase, eg, Gonski (12 - 14)
  17. Costs rise to "fix" the system and improve outcomes (12 -16)
  18.  Go to 1. above
  • The system separates and entrenches advantage and disadvantage
  • The system is undermining itself by generating "two speeds" of schooling
  • The cost of the system will continue to rise
  • Results will continue to decline
  • Effective counter-measures (interventions) will become un-affordable
    How to fix the system
        Change the rules* connecting government funding and student enrolment so that schools can no longer advantage themselves at the expense of other schools.

    *  See Australia's Two Speed School System

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