Tag Archives: education

Why I don’t like government subsidy of private education

Because, as shown in the Gonski report (and reported on the excellent Global Mail), it’s not effective.

Private schools perform better than state schools because they cherry-pick students – by and large, they reject problem students or students with higher educational needs. This gives them a more capable student base – so naturally they will receive higher scores on average. But that’s not a good measure – the correct measure is how well do those students improve, compared to similar students in the state system. Thanks to longitudinal studies such as the NAPLAN tests, we have an answer – students in the private system, on average, demonstrate no significant difference in performance. All that money – both public funding and the fees levied on parents – tossed away for no benefit over state schools.

(Yes, there are some schools that do cater to students who are educationally difficult – Montessori schools in particular are known for this. But they aren’t the rule in private schools – most private schools pride themselves on strict discipline and regimen – the opposite of a Montessori school)

I showed in an earlier post that the Catholic school system costs three times as much per student (by their own figures, taken from the website for the NSW Catholic Schools association). But it doesn’t deliver any additional value, let alone three times as much. While, as a nation, we should allow private education for those who insist on it, there isn’t any reason to toss public money on an inefficient system.

We, as a country, are literally pissing away the future by underinvesting and incorrectly investing in the education of our children. Instead of subsidising private education, how about we ensure that the public system provides good education for all students?

My heart bleeds for Karen Gee…

School maths causes pain – Sydney Morning Herald

The woman featured in this story is complaining about high education costs, and wishes that the government could contribute more. My heart bleeds for her – at about 5.25 litres/minute. Seriously, hasn’t she got better things to whinge about?

Let’s actually put some numbers on this, and see what exactly she’s complaining about.

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Ah, so that’s the problem with the American education system.

The NY Times has an article on .”>problems with the US education system

The author, Diane Ravitch, points out the following:

It is hardly fair to blame high schools for the poor skills of their entering students. If students start high school without the basic skills needed to read, write and solve mathematics problems, then the governors should focus on strengthening the standards of their states’ junior high schools.

So that’s the problem: the US expects senior high schools to teach grammar school subjects. And Ms Ravitch thinks the solution is to get junior high schools to do it instead…

If a student can not adequately read, write, and perform arithmetic by the end of grammar school (primary school here in Oz), then either keep them there or flag them as a special needs student. Heck, if they can’t do it by grade 4 there’s an issue.

Earlier in the article:

Only a minority of students – whether in 4th, 8th or 12th grade – reach proficiency as measured by the Education Department’s National Assessment of Educational Progress.

Big surprise: if they’re not proficient at grade 4, a student is unlikely to become so in grade 8. This is really simple: if a student starts to slip behind, they need to be caught fast – the longer you leave it, the less likely they’ll ever become proficient.