Products – The Centre for Independent Studies

Pain without gain: Why school closures are bad policy

Blaise Joseph, Glenn Fahey
24 May 2020 | PP28
Pain without gain: Why school closures are bad policy

The decision by state and territory governments to strongly advise parents to keep their children at home and essentially close schools went against the health, economic, and educational evidence. There was little health benefit, while there were substantial economic and educational costs.

Victoria, Tasmania, the ACT, New South Wales, and Queensland are in a group with the longest government school closures, ranging from 6 to 9 weeks. South Australia, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory are in a group with much shorter closures, ranging between only 1 and 2 weeks.

The negative educational impact is larger for students from disadvantaged social backgrounds. In Victoria, Tasmania, the ACT, and New South Wales disadvantaged students face between 2 and 3 weeks of lost learning in numeracy and between 1 and 2 weeks of lost learning in reading. In Queensland, disadvantaged students face around 2 weeks of lost learning in numeracy and 1 week of lost learning in reading. In South Australia, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory disadvantaged students are likely to be only marginally affected.

Digital education is beneficial only as a supplement to normal face-to-face teaching, so students learning entirely from home are unlikely to experience the benefits.

The learning lost due to Australian school closures is not irretrievable, but it does require state and territory governments to help students who have fallen behind catch up with their peers.

Latest Publications

Resisting China’s Economic Coercion: Why America should support Australia
Alan Dupont
08 April 2021 | PP38

China’s unprecedented trade campaign against Australia is a case study in economic coercion for geopolitical purposes. Its aim is twofold: to bend Canberra to Beijing’s will and to decouple it from the US alliance system. Australia has withstood such pressure to date, but needs American support. This paper argues that the Biden Administration should lead in helping Australia and other…

READ MORE
Australians’ Attitudes to Social Media: Connection or Curse?
Monica Wilkie
29 March 2021 | PP37

Social media appears in the news cycle, almost daily, and the majority of the coverage is negative. Politicians from all sides, and bureaucratic agencies have been warning about the apparent danger social media pose to journalism, democracy, business, and civil society. But Australians are far more optimistic about social media than the alarmist narrative. The CIS commissioned YouGov to poll…

READ MORE
The Need for U.S.-Australia Leadership to Counter China across the Indo-Pacific
Erik M. Jacobs
25 March 2021 | PP36

China’s recent actions – its trade coercion against Australia, border clash with India, maritime harassment of Japan, and military expansionism in the South China Sea – have compelled the U.S. and Australia to leverage their decades-long defence alliance and intelligence ties to deepen existing relationships and build new partnerships in the face of an aggressive China bent on asserting itself…

READ MORE
The Looming Iceberg: Australia’s post-pandemic debt risk
Robert Carling
28 January 2021 | PP35

After many years with low public debt, Australia is seeing a much higher debt burden as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. In the years ahead, according to recent budget estimates, it will reach close to $2 trillion in aggregate at the Commonwealth and state/territory levels of government. This poses a risk to economic growth in the longer term and…

READ MORE
Worlds Apart: Remote Indigenous disadvantage in the context of wider Australia
Jacinta Nampijinpa Price
25 January 2021 | PP34

Remote and very remote Indigenous communities have become victims of a ‘wicked problem’. A combination of high impact factors that, when pooled together, are having devastating effects on communities. Education and employment rates in remote and very remote Indigenous communities put them on par with countries such Afghanistan, a nation devastated by over 19 years of war. Poor health outcomes…

READ MORE