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

90 Days to Freedom? Why Australia can learn from Canada’s vaccination success
Robert Carling
18 August 2021 | PP43

Predictions have been made by the Doherty Institute and others that Australia will achieve full vaccination of 70% of the eligible population by the end of October and 80% by mid-November, thereby meeting the thresholds for liberalisation of restrictions set by national cabinet. Doubts that have been expressed about these predicted vaccination levels are unwarranted. Basic modelling and comparisons with…

READ MORE
Crucial Collaboration: The Case for Closer Australia-UK Defence and Security Ties in Light of a Rising China
Tom Tugendhat
23 June 2021 | PP42

China’s rise is perhaps the single most significant geopolitical question of the next decade – indeed, the next century. The sheer scale of its economy and military, combined with an increasingly authoritarian regime under Xi Jinping, means that the Indo-Pacific lies at the heart of the China challenge. Growing militarisation and Chinese aggression are destabilising the region, whilst Beijing’s willingness…

READ MORE
The MMT Hoax
Tony Makin, Gene Tunny
27 May 2021 | PP41

Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) is a supposedly new macroeconomic paradigm, but it is essentially a reprise of 1930s Keynesian economics. Its central premise — that countries which can borrow in their own currencies should not worry about government deficits and can finance as much government spending as they want — is deeply flawed, yet it has political appeal and has…

READ MORE
Does high-rise development damage neighbourhood character?
Peter Tulip, Zachary Lanigan
29 April 2021 | PP40

Local residents often oppose new apartment buildings on the grounds that they would harm neighbourhood character. This paper suggests these concerns are overstated. The paper examines several examples of high-rise development in Sydney: Chatswood, Forest Lodge, Green Square, Liverpool and Turrella. If these developments harmed neighbourhood character, as local residents often claim, nearby house prices should fall. But that does…

READ MORE
Make every drop count, and count every drop: Vanishing groundwater needs proper monitoring and management
Grahame Campbell
22 April 2021 | PP39

Aquifer groundwater is a crucial and valuable resource for Australia, but is poorly managed and monitored to the point of being neglected in some areas. This neglect is a risk for the future of Australia’s $60 billion agriculture production and industry that relies on the resource in an arid country. About 30% of Australia’s total water consumption comes from groundwater,…

READ MORE