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Ideas@TheCentre brings you ammunition for conversations around the table.  3 short articles from CIS researchers emailed every Friday on the issues of the week.

  • Options for over-crowding in schools

    10 Jul 2015

    Enrolments in inner city Sydney public primary schools have doubled in the last five years. Most of these schools have reached capacity, and it is likely that the demand for schools in the inner city will... Read More

  • Inequality is inevitable in a free society

    08 May 2015

    Is it more important (and fairer) to maximise the quality of life and opportunity for all children, or to try to ensure no child is better off than any other? Read More

  • Poor evaluation leads to poor policy

    17 Apr 2015

    Policy development and implementation in Australia has long been plagued by poor evaluation. As a result, there is very little information about what works well, what doesn’t -- and why. Read More

  • A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

    17 Apr 2015

    Policy development and implementation in Australia has long been plagued by poor evaluation. As a result, there is very little information about what works well, what doesn’t -- and why. Read More

  • Does NSW have anything to learn about school entry policy?

    30 Jan 2015

    According to the Australian Primary Principals' Association (APPA) school entry policies need reform and should be consistent across all States and Territories. According to their President "...five-and-a-half... Read More

  • School funding mess no surprise

    23 Jan 2015

    The OECD report finding that school funding in Australia is a mess, and school performance is stagnant or declining, will be surprising to precisely no-one. Read More

  • What to give a child who can't read?

    05 Dec 2014

    Many of the programs dreamt up by the two major political parties would be difficult to justify for inclusion in a school education budget. Read More

  • Courage is needed right now to fix childcare

    07 Nov 2014

    What cannot be categorically denied is that the burden of the National Quality Framework on providers’ operating costs comes mostly from the increases in mandatory minimum standards. Read More

  • No organised and synchronised cabal of anti-public education ‘neo-liberal’ ideologues

    31 Oct 2014

    Educators are a diverse set of individuals who for the most part have the best interests of Australia’s children at heart. Read More

  • Value of economic education

    17 Oct 2014

    Rather than simplifying advanced subjects for small kids, we’d be better off teaching small kids to read and count properly so that in high school they are equipped to study any advanced course effectively. Read More

  • Let them divest, but not with taxpayers cake

    17 Oct 2014

    Unless the ANU’s new strategy mentions an exciting new investment in magic beans, if it’s not imposing greater costs on the taxpayers then it really shouldn’t be the business of government. Read More

  • A balancing act: home schooling regulation

    26 Sep 2014

    Currently, home schooling families are doing all the work in their relationship with the state and getting little in return, receiving no educational or financial support. Nevertheless, home schooling... Read More

  • Using school data wisely

    05 Sep 2014

    This week in education policy the spotlight has been on the appropriate use of performance data. Two new reports questioned the validity of looking to East Asian school systems for guidance on Australian... Read More

  • Evidence on childcare twisted by special interests

    22 Aug 2014

    There is no reason why the new minimum standards and quality regulations for Child Care and Early Learning should be considered a sacred cow. Read More

  • NSW government gets it right on reading instruction

    15 Aug 2014

    The best way to improve the quality of school education is to ensure that there is a good, if not great, teacher in every classroom every day. Read More

  • Australian teachers face significant classroom challenges

    25 Jul 2014

    Teachers in Australia need to be well-prepared for challenges with rigorous and comprehensive teacher education. Read More

  • Will defunding school chaplains mean smaller government?

    20 Jun 2014

    Why should taxpayers fund the general provision of religious services anywhere? Read More

  • Teaching to the tests

    13 Jun 2014

    A large proportion of pre-service teachers lack strong literacy skills, which are necessary to teach children well. Read More

  • Finding savings in education

    02 May 2014

    Government funding for schools has been rising consistently for decades, with no improvement in student outcomes. Read More

  • Curriculum and teacher education review: a necessary evil

    28 Feb 2014

    Ideally, we would be to have no national curriculum since such a beast will always be politicised and biased, but at the least, it needs to be scrutinised. Read More

  • Does PISA mean we should give a Gonski?

    06 Dec 2013

    The latest PISA report showed Australia’s international ranking had dropped, which was widely interpreted as a sign of a dire decline in student performance. Read More

  • Gonski funding model lost in translation

    29 Nov 2013

    The Gonksi model’s simple features and its neutral approach to funding schools in different sectors were lost in the translation to Better Schools. Read More

  • Why Jaydon can't read

    04 Oct 2013

    Literacy policy has been routinely undermined by policy makers ignoring evidence of what works when teaching kids to read. Read More

  • Voluntary student unionism

    27 Sep 2013

    The fight for VSU and against compulsory up-front fees at universities is justified to reduce costs and give students more freedom about their education. Read More

  • Coalition education policy takes an epicurean turn

    13 Sep 2013

    Australian taxpayers are the often unacknowledged patrons of ARC research and should receive value for their money. Read More

  • Rudd's after school care cash splash

    09 Aug 2013

    Rudd’s $450 million new funding for before- and after-school care is a worrying leap away from how child care has traditionally been perceived. Read More

  • Education is key for Aboriginal Australia

    24 May 2013

    This budget is further evidence that governments remain addicted to spending, and that is why it is time for TARGET30. Read More

  • Fair go fear-mongering flies in the face of facts

    10 May 2013

    Swan’s fair go fear-mongering is unfounded. Australians from even the poorest and least educated families are entering the ranks of the nation’s wealthiest and best educated. Read More

  • Time to make a deal

    19 Apr 2013

    In rejecting a pretty good funding school model because it is not perfect, we may end up with something much worse. Read More

  • Don’t blame corporate sector for low Indigenous employment

    22 Mar 2013

    Look to education rather than blaming the corporate sector for low Indigenous employment. Read More

  • Victorian revival highlights lost ground on child welfare

    15 Feb 2013

    Failure to regularly send children to school symbolises the breakdown of behavioural standards. Read More

  • Language policy gone loco

    01 Feb 2013

    A target of 40 per cent of Year 12 students studying LOTE is loco. Read More

  • Overrated PISA envy

    14 Dec 2012

    Are international assessments appropriate benchmarks for educational quality? Read More

  • Adoption: Proof think tanks CAN DO

    02 Nov 2012

    There is still a long way to go to lift the official ‘taboo’ on adoption. Read More

  • The dangerous idea of abolishing private schools

    12 Oct 2012

    Abolishing private schools is a dangerous idea. Read More

  • Literacy gaps exist and socio-economic status

    14 Sep 2012

    It is well known that literacy gaps exist between students of differing socio-economic status when they begin school. Read More

  • Importing Australia’s Asia literacy

    07 Sep 2012

    Extra spending to improve Asia literacy is unnecessary because Australia is already well-positioned to prosper as power moves to Asia. Read More

  • Productivity Commission misleads on Indigenous expenditure

    07 Sep 2012

    The Productivity Commission’s second Indigenous Expenditure Report, released earlier this week, shows that Commonwealth, state and territory taxpayer spending on Indigenous Australians has risen by 16%... Read More

  • Government responsible for poor Indigenous outcomes, not culture

    31 Aug 2012

    Aboriginal people, like all other Australians, should have the opportunity to become private home and business owners on their own land if they choose. Read More

  • Unempirical Asian languages alarmism

    16 Aug 2012

    Asian languages alarmism should not scare us into expanding current language education programs. Read More

  • Indigenous education – a poor performer

    29 Jun 2012

    Government needs to respond to poor NAPLAN results for Indigenous students by bringing non-performing and under-performing schools up to speed within the decade. Read More

  • ‘F’ for flawed literacy report

    18 May 2012

    Advisory group’s report on early reading instruction fails to deliver. Read More

  • Nudge, nudge, here come the Germans

    20 Jan 2012

    Germans can teach us a lot when it comes to family and social policy. Read More

  • Individualism does not mean being self-centred

    04 Nov 2011

    Individualism is not about being self-centred but about recognising that you are responsible for your own actions and how your life turns out. Read More

  • Focus on the children

    28 Oct 2011

    School funding should centre on the child, not on the school and should come from both government and non-government sources. Read More

  • Ditch the national curriculum

    21 Oct 2011

    A national curriculum is not the answer to improved education results. Read More

  • Thirst for knowledge

    21 Oct 2011

    The choice of subjects of the record number of students sitting this year’s HSC reflects increasing interest in ancient history and religion. Read More

  • Fees disorientation

    14 Oct 2011

    Students will be made to a pay a compulsory union fee to fund activities they may or may not use. Read More

  • Report card for schools

    09 Sep 2011

    In a paradigm shift, four reports on education reform commissioned by the federal government agree on decentralisation, school choice, non-government schools, and private investment. Read More

  • Preparing for NAPLAN

    29 Apr 2011

    Performing well in NAPLAN numeracy requires competency in reading and comprehending written language. Read More

  • WikiSchool

    25 Mar 2011

    My School, like Wikileaks, is founded on the principle that although information might be abused, this is not sufficient reason to withhold it from the public. Unfortunately, My School has not enjoyed... Read More

  • HELPing themselves to a free education

    Andrew Norton | 21 Jan 2011

    Perpetual students living off the taxpayer is a great tabloid story. But the real HELP story is a perhaps one for the Australian Financial Review rather than the Herald Sun. Read More

  • Rioting UK students are misguided

    Peter Saunders | 17 Dec 2010

    UK students should direct their ire towards pampered lecturers and demand longer terms rather than rioting against the government. Read More

  • Religion and education

    Jennifer Buckingham | 17 Sep 2010

    Religious schools have been a major feature of the educational landscape in Australia since British settlement. The first schools in colonial New South Wales were Anglican schools. Despite fluctuating... Read More

  • Overcoming poverty of ambition

    Jessica Brown | 16 Jul 2010

    Study shows that children of the poorest parents – both in terms of income and education – can go on to become tomorrow’s doctors and lawyers. Read More

  • Moving targets are failing Indigenous students

    Helen Hughes AO 1928 - 2013 | 30 Apr 2010

    Forty percent (60,000) of Australia’s Indigenous students fail to meet the national literacy and numeracy standards. The fact that 60% pass proves that the failures aren’t due to ethnicity. Read More

  • Charter schools gain traction in 2009

    Jennifer Buckingham | 11 Dec 2009

    This has been the year of the charter school (public schools run by private operators) in education policy in the United States. Federal education secretary Arne Duncan made charter schools one of the... Read More

  • Overcoming socio-economic disadvantage in education

    Jennifer Buckingham | 02 Oct 2009

    Literacy and numeracy are not everything, but they are almost everything. Somewhere between one in five and one in six students are barely literate and numerate, according to recent national literacy and... Read More

  • OECD study holds lessons for Australian education policy

    Jennifer Buckingham | 11 Sep 2009

    This week, the OECD released its annual Education At A Glance report which provides country comparisons of spending, participation, completion, performance and various other aspects of education. Read More

  • WA schools are independent in name only

    Jennifer Buckingham | 28 Aug 2009

    The WA government recently announced that it would be allowing up to 30 government schools (out of 768) to become ‘Independent Public Schools.’ These schools will have full management of their recurrent... Read More

  • The enduring gender gap in education

    Jennifer Buckingham | 24 Jul 2009

    In 2000, the Howard government initiated a parliamentary inquiry into the education of boys in response to widespread concerns that boys were seriously underachieving academically. In 2002, the committee... Read More

  • In a league of their own: the case against league tables and legislative bans

    Jennifer Buckingham | 10 Jul 2009

    In a surprising and badly judged move, the NSW Coalition has supported a legislative ban on the publication of school league tables. Read More

  • Education and politics: Like oil and water

    Jennifer Buckingham | 19 Jun 2009

    If ever there was evidence that politics and education don’t mix, the fiasco of the Building the Education Revolution program is it. How did this policy, which should have been a political slam-dunk,... Read More

  • Indigenous university students are quietly making the grade

    | 22 May 2009

    Contrary to popular myths, Indigenous students in mainstream society, representing the majority of Indigenous children and youngsters, are doing well at school, staying to Year 12, and doing professional... Read More

  • What this week’s NAPLAN tests mean for Indigenous Education

    Helen Hughes AO 1928 - 2013 | 08 May 2009

    This week all Australian children in school years 3, 5, 7 and  9 sat numeracy and literacy tests for the second time. Read More

  • RIP Private Education?

    Jennifer Buckingham | 13 Mar 2009

    Over the last few months there has been a lot of speculation about whether the global financial crisis has affected enrolments in private schools. Read More

  • Publications

    1. Regulating for Quality in Childcare: The Evidence Base

      Trisha Jha | 05 Nov 2014 | Policy Monographs

      The report explores the evidence base for the recent National Quality Agenda reforms to childcare that mandate lower staff-to-child... Read More...

    2. Helen Hughes: A Tribute

      Glenys Byrne, Greg Lindsay, Noel Pearson, Ron Duncan, Tony Abbott | 27 Aug 2014 | Policy Forum

      CIS Senior Fellow Professor Helen Hughes AO passed away on 15 June 2013 after a lifetime dedicated to working passionately... Read More...

    3. School Funding on a Budget

      Jennifer Buckingham | 30 Apr 2014 | TARGET30 Papers

      Government expenditure on schools has more than doubled in real terms in the last 25 years, while student numbers have only... Read More...

    4. Submission to the National Commission of Audit

      Alexander Philipatos, Jennifer Buckingham, Jeremy Sammut, Robert Carling, Simon Cowan, Stephen Kirchner, Trisha Jha | 01 Apr 2014 | TARGET30 Papers

      The federal government’s Commission of Audit (CoA) was established in 2013 to review the performance and role of government.... Read More...

    5. Why Jaydon Can’t Read: A Forum on Fixing Literacy

      Jennifer Buckingham, Justine Ferrari, Tom Alegounarias | 18 Feb 2014 | Issue Analysis

      This Issue Analysis compiles the three speeches given at the CIS event ‘Why Jaydon Can’t Read: A Forum on Fixing Literacy’... Read More...

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    Opinion & Commentary

    1. Ignore the doubters. NAPLAN is important and it's working

      Jennifer Buckingham | 05 Aug 2015

      The National Assessment Plan for Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) is doing what it was designed to do — provide a report ... Read More

    2. School funding report makes flawed case for full Gonski reforms

      Jennifer Buckingham | 04 Jul 2015 | The Australian

      As we pass the halfway mark of the four year federal education budget cycle, attention is turning once again to the issue ... Read More

    3. Fees for state schools: don't jump to conclusions

      Jennifer Buckingham | 22 Jun 2015 | ABC The Drum

      There are few things more likely to ignite passionate opinions than school funding. Even a hint of any change that does not ... Read More

    4. Public primary schools are holding their own

      Jennifer Buckingham | 18 Apr 2015 | The Australian

      Public schools have risen to the challenge of school choice... Read More

    5. Poor students likely to make poor teachers

      Jennifer Buckingham | 13 Feb 2015 | The Australian

      The Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group (TEMAG) report released today unfortunately dismissed the opportunity to ... Read More

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    1. Options for over-crowding in schools

      Jennifer Buckingham | 10 Jul 2015

      Enrolments in inner city Sydney public primary schools have doubled in the last five years. Most of these schools have reached ...

    2. Inequality is inevitable in a free society

      Jennifer Buckingham | 08 May 2015

      Is it more important (and fairer) to maximise the quality of life and opportunity for all children, or to try to ensure no ...

    3. Poor evaluation leads to poor policy

      Jennifer Buckingham | 17 Apr 2015

      Policy development and implementation in Australia has long been plagued by poor evaluation. As a result, there is very little ...

    4. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

      Patrick Carvalho | 17 Apr 2015

      Policy development and implementation in Australia has long been plagued by poor evaluation. As a result, there is very little ...

    5. Does NSW have anything to learn about school entry policy?

      Matthew Taylor | 30 Jan 2015

      According to the Australian Primary Principals' Association (APPA) school entry policies need reform and should be consistent ...

    View All