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Issue Analysis


Issue Analysis (IA) are shorter publications that deal with controversial and current issues.

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

    18 Feb 2014 | IA144

    This Issue Analysis compiles the three speeches given at the CIS event ‘Why Jaydon Can’t Read: A Forum on Fixing Literacy’ on the enduring problem of low literacy levels among Australian students. Read More

  • Australia and the Asian Ascendancy: Why Upskilling is Not Necessary to Reap the Rewards

    19 Feb 2013 | IA137

    Government programs to upskill the Australian workforce for the Asian Century are a solution to a non-problem. With more than a million Asian-born Australians, millions of speakers of Asian languages,... Read More

  • Keeping PISA in Perspective: Why Australian Education Policy Should Not Be Driven by International Test Results

    18 Dec 2012 | IA136

    International student assessments such as the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the Trends in International Maths and Science Study (TIMSS) provide useful information for individual... Read More

  • Australia's Asia Literacy Non-Problem

    05 Sep 2012 | IA133

    New large-scale Asia literacy programs are not necessary for Australia to prosper in the Asian Century. There are approximately 2 billion English speakers globally, while English is spoken by about 800... Read More

  • Overcoming a Culture of Low Expectations

    28 Mar 2012 | IA131

    The most important thing we can do to encourage disadvantaged Australians into work – including people with disabilities, children in jobless families, and Indigenous people living in remote communities... Read More

  • School Funding, Choice and Equity

    26 Oct 2011 | IA126

    CIS Research Fellow Jennifer Buckingham says the three main goals of school funding – equity, efficiency and excellence – are not being met in the current system. Instead, we need a new school funding... Read More

  • Educating The Disadvantaged

    Jennifer Buckingham | 01 Oct 2009 | IA116

    Every child can succeed at school if education providers take the right approach. Educating the Disadvantaged, a collection of four essays, reveals the diverse stories of why some schools are failing... Read More

  • In Defence of Non-Government Schools

    Jennifer Buckingham | 02 Jul 2009 | IA112

    Non-government schools are providers of public education and deserve adequate public funding. The purposes and functions of public education – academic, social and civic – are carried out in independent... Read More

  • Indigenous Participation in University Education

    Joe Lane | 27 May 2009 | IA110

    The government’s use of race-based ‘average’ educational performance measures denigrates Indigenous achievement, ignoring the achievements of the 24,000 Indigenous university graduates in Australia. In... Read More

  • Fixing Prices: Why Vouchers Won't Work While Governments Set Fees

    Andrew Norton | 11 Feb 2009 | IA105

    The Bradley report is another chapter in the long story of pricing neglect in higher education. The report should have gone further to solve the financial problems of underfunded universities by deregulating... Read More

  • Making the Grade: School Report Cards and League Tables

    Jennifer Buckingham | 20 Nov 2008 | IA103

    International research shows that students in schools that publish their results publicly perform better than students in schools that do not. It is time for Australian schools to be accountable too. Read More

  • Child Care and the Labour Supply

    Jennifer Buckingham | 23 Jul 2008 | IA97

    This report investigates whether child care is unaffordable and if government funding is contributing to its affordability or making it more expensive. Read More

  • What are Low Ability Workers To Do When Unskilled Jobs Disappear? Part 2

    Peter Saunders | 14 Feb 2008 | IA93

    Despite low unemployment, working-age welfare dependency remains high, partly because demand for unskilled labour is in decline. Instead of more government spending on education and training, we need to... Read More

  • What Is Working in Good Schools in Remote Indigenous Communities?

    Kirsten Storry | 04 Apr 2007 | IA86

    School‑side and community‑side interventions with which good schools are trying to break the cycle of low attendance, achievement and retention show that we need a new focus on school performance... Read More

  • Mismatch: Australia’s Graduates and the Job Market

    Andrew Norton | 23 Mar 2007 | IA84

    The Commonwealth-directed higher education system has produced a mismatch between available graduates and jobs. Australia’s centrally controlled system of allocating university places has failed to... Read More

  • Teachers and the Waiting Game: Why Decentralisation is Vital for Public Schools

    Jennifer Buckingham | 05 Feb 2007 | IA80

    Centralised staffing systems, which fiercely protect regulations that shelter poor teachers and privilege longevity over performance, are in need of change so that teachers and principals are able to make... Read More

  • Tackling Literacy in Remote Aboriginal Communities

    Kirsten Storry | 31 Aug 2006 | IA73

    Literacy rates among children and adults in remote Aboriginal communities are appallingly low, and cannot be reversed without genuine and innovative education reform. Read More

  • School Autonomy: A Key Reform for Improving Indigenous Education

    Julie Novak | 21 Jun 2006 | IA72

    The government school model is failing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and urgently needs reform. School autonomy should be part of a comprehensive policy package to improve the long-term... Read More

  • HELPless: How the FEE-HELP Loans System Lets Students Down and How to Fix it

    Andrew Norton | 27 Feb 2006 | IA68

    Three new loans schemes were introduced in 2005 to fix omissions in the HECS system, but a more realistic FEE-HELP loan cap needs to be implemented so FEE-HELP can achieve its stated objectives of reducing... Read More

  • Education and Learning in an Aboriginal Community

    Veronica Cleary | 06 Dec 2005 | IA65

    The principal reason why so many Aboriginal people are unable to find jobs is that children in remote areas, such as the Tiwi Islands, leave primary school without the skills that would enable them to... Read More

  • Good Teachers Where They Are Needed

    Jennifer Buckingham | 19 Oct 2005 | IA64

    Allowing qualified professionals to become teachers through school-based education has the potential to reduce Australia’s ever-increasing shortage of teachers. Read More

  • The Free Market Case Against Voluntary Student Unionism (But for Voluntary Student Representation)

    Andrew Norton | 31 Aug 2005 | IA62

    The federal government plans to introduce ‘voluntary student unionism’ (VSU) into Australia’s universities by banning the current compulsory fee for non-academic services. However, market-based policies... Read More

  • Universities in a State: The Federal Case Against Commonwealth Control of Universities

    Andrew Norton | 24 Mar 2005 | IA56

    The Commonwealth Education Minister, Brendan Nelson, has suggested that the federal government assume full legal responsibility for universities. However, tranferring power over universities from the... Read More

  • Valuing Education: A Response to the Australia Institute Report 'Buying an Education'

    Jennifer Buckingham | 21 Jan 2004 | IA43

    The Australia Institute, in publishing this report, has done nothing to advance serious and constructive debate on education in Australia. Its underlying argument, that paying for one’s education is... Read More

  • Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: Dr Nelson Mixes Price Flexibility and Rigid Quotas

    Andrew Norton | 18 Jun 2003 | IA37

    Education Minister Dr Brendan Nelson’s proposed reforms of higher education will improve the quality of Australian higher education through increased investment and competition for fee-paying students.... Read More

  • Student Debt: A HECS on Fertility?

    Andrew Norton | 02 Apr 2003 | IA32

    Opponents of university fees are tapping into concern about declining fertility levels by arguing that there may be a link between student debt and fewer births. Read More

  • Reflections on Class Size and Teacher Quality

    Jennifer Buckingham | 21 Mar 2003 | IA29a

    The statistical evidence showing that boys have lower literacy levels and lower average performance than girls in almost all school subjects is overwhelming. Boys in New Zealand’s schools are disadvantaged... Read More

  • The Missing Links: Class Size, Discipline, Inclusion and Teacher Quality

    Jennifer Buckingham | 19 Feb 2003 | IA29

    The Vinson Report is let down by a lack of rigour and an apparent partiality in its analysis of reforms that have important implications, such as class size. Read More

  • Getting it Right Some of the Time: An Appraisal of the Report on the Inquiry into the Education of Boys

    Jennifer Buckingham | 14 Nov 2002 | IA27

    The 2002 parliamentary inquiry and report into the education of boys has failed to recognise that boys from single parent families are more at risk of underperforming at school. Read More

  • The Importance of Teacher Quality

    Ken Rowe | 28 Feb 2002 | IA22

    When all other sources of variation in performance are taken into account – including socioeconomic background and differences between schools – the most important sources of variation in student achievement... Read More

  • Public Education in New South Wales: Submission to the ‘Vinson’ Inquiry

    Ross Harold | 28 Nov 2001 | IA20

    The most effective way of improving school performance without increasing recurrent funding is to enable schools to respond to the needs of their students, using their own experience and expertise, and... Read More

  • School Funding for All: Making Sense of the Debate over Dollars

    Jennifer Buckingham | 12 Oct 2000 | IA17

    Public debate over school funding is characterised by misinformation and misunderstanding, making any agreement or compromise unlikely. Jennifer Buckingham explains the current funding system (who gets... Read More

  • Code of Silence: Public Reporting of School Performance

    Alison Rich | 04 Oct 2000 | IA16

    The refusal of state governments to release any comparative school data means the public and parents are powerless to combat bad schools and bad teachers. Read More

  • The Truth about Private Schools in Australia

    Jennifer Buckingham | 01 Aug 2000 | IA13

    The evidence strongly suggests that private schools offer their students something that goes beyond financial resources and family background. Contributing factors could be the quality and dedication... Read More

  • Degrees of Difficulty: The Labour Market Problems of Arts and Social Science Graduates

    Andrew Norton | 19 Jul 2000 | IA12

    That the Australian higher education system is comprehensively rigged against students is evident from the current oversupply of graduates in the humanities and social sciences and its impact on their... Read More

  • Trailing the Class: Sole Parent Families and Educational Disadvantage

    Alison Rich | 26 Jun 2000 | IA11

    The association between family structure and educational performance has been the focus of much research in recent years. It seems that a child’s education is often one of the casualties of family instability... Read More

  • The Puzzle of Boys’ Educational Decline: A Review of the Evidence

    Jennifer Buckingham | 18 Nov 1999 | IA9

    Although research has attempted to explain the decline in boy's performance at school, lack of empirical evidence has precluded conclusions to date and tends to raise more questions than it answers. Read More