Products – The Centre for Independent Studies

Free to Choose Charter Schools: How charter and for-profit schools can boost public education

Trisha Jha, Jennifer Buckingham
31 August 2015 | Research Report 6
Free to Choose Charter Schools: How charter and for-profit schools can boost public education

Charter schools and free schools – publicly-funded, privately-managed schools – have been introduced in several countries around the world as a way of extending school choice, particularly for low income families. This report examines the policies and research on charter schools and their equivalents in five countries –USA, Sweden, Chile, England and New Zealand. Research shows that certain types of charter schools have a strong positive impact on the academic achievement of disadvantaged students. For-profit schools have mixed results on average, but some school management companies have been successful. The policy context and governance arrangements are critical. Australian governments should consider introducing charter schools, with careful attention to the policy and regulatory lessons from the experience in other countries.

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Latest Publications

Mind the Gap: Understanding the Indigenous education gap and how to close it
Glenn Fahey
24 June 2021 | RR41

Indigenous educational disadvantage remains among the most pressing and persistent public policy challenges in Australia. Despite bipartisan and intergovernmental commitment to ‘Closing the Gap’, has done little to move the needle in education outcomes. Dispiritingly poor education outcomes persist despite the best of intentions, considerable investment of resources, and countless programmes and initiatives of policymakers. This research examines sources and…

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Dollars and Sense: Time for smart reform of Australian school funding
Glenn Fahey
01 December 2020 | RR40

Australia is among the world’s highest-spending countries on schooling. Yet, the educational return on this investment for parents, taxpayers, employers, and students, has deteriorated — despite the expectation of policymakers that increased funding would inevitably improve educational outcomes. It’s true that money matters when it comes to schooling, but how money is used is what really matters, not how much…

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Overcoming the Odds: A study of Australia’s top-performing disadvantaged schools
Blaise Joseph
18 March 2019 | RR39

Students from disadvantaged social backgrounds perform worse on average academically than more advantaged students. This study investigated Australia’s top-performing disadvantaged schools in terms of literacy and numeracy results, with the aim of finding any common policies and practices which have led to their success. Nine top-performing disadvantaged schools were visited by a researcher for this study, involving interviews with school…

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Dying with Their Rights On: The myths and realities of ending homelessness in Australia
Carlos d'Abrera
12 December 2018 | RR38

The orthodox understanding of the causes of homelessness promoted by the ‘homelessness industry’ over emphasises the role of economic and social structures. Solutions based on structuralist explanations – such as increasing the supply of affordable social housing – are insufficient to reduce rough sleeping. Such approaches minimise the need to address assertively, the individual characteristics, choices, and behaviours of rough…

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Why childcare is not affordable
Eugenie Joseph
29 August 2018 | RR37

Childcare fees and out-of-pocket costs in Australia have been growing above inflation in recent years, at the same time that more parents are using formalised childcare to support their participation in the workforce. Childcare has been subject to growing and evolving regulation for many years, culminating in the introduction of the National Quality Framework in 2012. However, the quality regulations…

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