* A very welcome update of Commonwealth funding by Trevor Cobbold: 'Funding gap between public and private schools will accelerate over the next decade'.
* Trevor Cobbold takes a closer look at the direct income measure of each (non-gov school) family's capacity to pay fees etc....something which determines public funding. But it is seriously flawed! * Watch this series: Part 1 'Education policies over the decades have intensified socio-economic segregation' Lyndsay Connors in P&I. And Part 2, Society bears costs of education policy ‘crimes’ * 'How the Catholic school system takes from the poor to give to the rich' ABC News, Sept 2.This is a substantial and significant piece of investigative journalism. It has been going on for ages, but this report contains everything, including the smoking gun! More from Trevor Cobbold and from Alex Mitchell, plus my own take, all in Pearls and Irritations. Catholic school authorities have responded, but haven't fully addressed the matters raised in the ABC report. And another response, this time a fact check rebuttal from Catholic Schools NSW. * 'The NAPLAN is trying to do too much. It needs urgent reform to be a ‘diagnostic’ test only' Venesser Fernandes in The Conversation. * 'Thousands of NSW students never returned to school after lockdown'SMH. A disturbing report.

  • MAY 2020

  • APRIL 2020

  • MARCH 2020

* 'Private schools brace for dropouts' and 'Catholic school fees to be waived for struggling families' Two recent stories in the SMH. More of this about Victorian schools in The Age. With day care being fully-funded is the non-gov school sector lobbying for a bail-out? * 'Independent schools may ask for money to survive COVID-19 crisis' SMH. By any standards this is quite breathtaking! See Edu-fact check (left) * 'Private schools 'not saving' the public purse' The SMH reports on some of the findings of The school money-go-round. Also, a cut-down version of The school money-go-round has just been published at Inside Story and an even shorter version in P&I. Not related, I'm sure is this story in the SMH: 'Private school funding under threat if schools close against government advice on coronavirus' But it isn't often that any Australian government threatens the non-gov sector. * Now I'm not an expert but....with 'schools and the virus: it’s not just an open-or-shut case' SMH March 20. And I'm kicking myself for not mentioning that schools with substantial personalised learning in place are perfectly placed. *   Watch the young public school girls on Q & A articulating the unfairness of school funding: https://twitter.com/QandA/status/1237157881138405376. How about this for double standards: NSW public schools get beaten up for not spending all their funding but the '$1.2 billion private school 'choice fund' can be used as investment nest egg' (SMH). Meanwhile 'An arms race for prestige': The billion-dollar private school building boom' Hmmm. * More unfolding on the looming end of the 'Prague Spring' in NSW schools. Following the NSW Premier's announcements the Minister (Sarah Mitchell) has waded in with more detail. The reaction from principals and others soon followed. Then the Minister backtracked a tad, saying it wasn't about punishing schools. Then back to the Premier who says schools need to earn their 'independence'. My contribution is in P&I. One thing is sure: meaningless, unproven and counter-productive measures of school quality are back! Meanwhile, non-government schools who manage to avoid such unproductive accountability are set for a multibillion-dollar funding boost. And to spend as they wish. Who is really watching the elites? * In the Conversation Helen Proctor and Jessica Gerrard show how More money for private schools won’t make Australia’s education fairer, no matter how you split it . This article comes at the same time as Trevor Cobbold's latest analysis: 'Private schools continue to have a massive resource advantage over public schools'. * The problems around school funding just don't go away, and also in public schools, it seems: 'Sydney schools sitting on up to $5000 in unspent money per student'. This little beat-up has emerged every few years for over two decades....read the full article.


 'Tanya Plibersek cites 'visible inequality' at schools in call for fair education funding' The Guardian. Mostly soothing, but what has really changed? * If you want a headline or two put on a summit. That's worked for the SMH today Feb 20. Sydney University's Rachel Wilson has deservedly stolen the show with her op ed ''Your country needs you!' It's high time for a drive to recruit better teachers' as well as the SMH report on this topic. The SMH also reports on the NSW Premier's keynote: 'Premier says status quo 'no longer tenable' in schools, flags reforms' but SMH editor Lisa Davies gently pours a bit of cold water over hasty ideas. Mark Latham, take note! Fun and games. Chris Bonner's longer response is in P&I.     The Australian February 12, reports on former Macquarie Group chief executive, Nicholas Moore as the new chair of the National Catholic Education Commission. He replaces former South Australian Labor eduction minister and lobbyist, Greg Crafter .   Again from Trevor Cobbold and well-reported in the media, a new research paper (based on OECD) on the poor allocation of teacher and other resources to low SES schools.

             JANUARY 2020
            It's January: the awful fires running through the school vacation have seen most other stories take a back seat, but here are a few:* Trevor Cobbold has issued a short paper following a recent call to end exemptions     for private schools in paying local government rates....untouched business arising from clear misuse of charitable status.* Also, another top read from Tom Greenwell 'Less choice, less affordability, the private school subsidy paradox' - in Inside Story.

* Goodness how time flies, it's NAPLAN reporting season again. And apparently results progressively decline from Year 3 to Year 9. What a surprise! Once again: serious hand-wringing, without any attempt to join all the dots. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Edu-comment A nice quote: "the more diverse we are when we gather, the more we stimulate, challenge and goad one another to greater heights of imagination and creativity". Professor Ian Harper quoted by Ross Gittins. So what happens when our schools become even less inclusive and diverse? On the same note, this reflection from Bruce Elder is worth reading.


And * Lyndsay Connors lays out an exquisite yet troubling analysis of the abandoned role of government in educating our children. A must-read! Also she shows how we are now reaping the whirlwind created by consumers and providers in school education.

* August is quiet on the school front but two articles in The Age on August 5 tell a story. The first shows that the barriers some kids face in finding a school ('The students with disabilities excluded from our schools' Melissa Raine in The Age). The second 'Competition fierce for places at private Melbourne girls' schools' is the flipside. Maybe the families in the first article could tell the families in the second about a real problem?

JULY 2019

JUNE 2019


Edu-comment New selective school in SW Sydney? An unbelievably stupid decision! Our Institutionalised Separation paper shows the likely impact. For most local students, this new school will turn disadvantage into disaster. It is hard to find a decision that so obviously flies in the face of evidence! Read more of my response in Pearls and Irritations.


Edu-comment: After the early work done by Bernie Shepherd and Chris Bonner on these matters it is so rewarding to see our findings confirmed, improved and expanded by the Grattan Institute, amongst others. Good work from Peter Goss and Julie Sonnemann. More comments in Pearls and Irritations.

MARCH 2019
* Trevor Cobbold shows how under new agreements public schools will only be ever funded at 91% of the national resource standard at best, while private schools are guaranteed to be funded at 100% of the standard or more by 2023.Most state governments have walked away from their funding obligations. It threatens huge costs to individuals, society and the national economy. * Following the corruption aound uni entry in the US, Kellie Bousfield shows how 'Aussie parents are under pressure to buy their kids academic advantage too'The Convo * Conflict of interest: The AEU has raised concerns that the previous head of ACARA is now working with Pearson * 'Funding Increases for Private Schools Continue to Outstrip Increases for Public Schools' A very significant contribution: Trevor Cobbold creates a 'level playing field' comparison of school funding to come up with alarming figures and trends. * SMH reports on some submissions to the current review of NAPLAN. Funny how the private school peak group seems at odds with principals! On the matter of testing, the SMH reports that PISA is set to change. * 'The ups and downs of school fees' We are going to hear more about school fees. Here is my wider perspective in Policy Forum.




Edu-comment: The investigation by the ABC takes up where Bernie Shepherd and I left off. Our first report on this was over two years ago and since then given oxygen by the Centre for Policy Development. More mainstream media and researchers should be doing this work - but then again, they don't all have the talents of people like Inga Ting !


Edu-comment: The Anglican schools say the discrimination is needed so the schools can maintain their  ethos and values. I did asked whether this means that chaplains in secular schools should be given the axe. Another reality is that if we are going to battle discrimination we have a long fight ahead! 





Edu-comment: Two comments on the Ruddock review:

1. Current discrimination is now, after the plebiscite, way out of step with public opinion.

2. The freedom of private schools to discriminate is unconscionable, given their level of public funding.     But...this could be a debate we had to have...triggered by those who probably didn't want any debate at all. More in Pearls and Irritations. 



Funding Wars:

The headings of the following articles tell their own story. The Fairfax media journalists and editorials are consistently critical:

The Murdoch Press, not unsurprisingly, gives columns to Catholic system lobbyist from the Victorian Catholic Education Commission, former liberal MP, Stephen Elder and his attempt to answer critics. The Australian which is behind a pay wall, had these articles on the Funding Wars:

Edu-comment:  I'm starting to research the public cost of school choice and duplication of schools. So far I've found that competing small gov and non-gov schools in 100 NSW towns cost governments (state and federal) $30m extra each year. Watch this space!