A quality school education is vital for individual well-being and for a healthy society. All children should have access to an education that is responsive to their needs as well as upholding high standards of academic rigour. CIS’s focus is on policies that restore the role of parents in education and devolve greater authority and responsibility to schools to meet these goals.



Featured Publication


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…

Submission to NAPLAN Reporting Review 2019
Blaise Joseph, Jennifer Buckingham
18 March 2019

NAPLAN is a key element of government transparency and accountability There is very little evidence of widespread misuse or misinterpretation of data on the MySchool website. NAPLAN and My School are valued by parents and the public, and should be retained. While there may be…

Reading Recovery: A Failed Investment
Jennifer Buckingham
07 February 2019 | PP15

Reading Recovery is an early intervention program for students in Year 1 who are having difficulty learning to read. It is widely used in Australia, the USA, Canada, England, Ireland, France and Denmark. It is endorsed by many leading educators and teacher professional organisations. Yet…

Have We All Gone Mad? The Snowflake Epidemic
Steven Schwartz, Lindsay Shepherd, Claire Lehmann, Tiffany Jenkins
22 November 2018 | OP168

University campuses throughout the West are in the grip of a troubling social phenomenon, now in danger of spreading beyond the ivy walls. Once bastions of intellectual rigour and freedom of thought, universities have become closed-minded and self-censoring, pandering to what appear from the outside…

Conflict vs Mistake: Academic cultures and explanatory conflict
Claire Lehmann
11 September 2018 | OP167

The 2018 Helen Hughes Lecture explains why and how universities are fuelling the corrosive identity politics phenomena that is sweeping western countries. With a mix of erudition and common sense, Claire Lehmann — the founder and editor-in-chief of renowned online magazine Quillette — unpacks complicated…

Media & Commentary

Choice means more than a public-private pick
Glenn Fahey
16 August 2019 | Ideas@TheCentre

The Australian Scholarships Group (ASG)’s flagship annual publication — the Parents Report Card — dishes up some choice findings about school choice in Australia. It provides a sober account of…

Memo to the ABC: class warfare doesn’t improve schools
Glenn Fahey
14 August 2019 | Spectator

An ABC News investigation has lifted the lid on the claimed ‘great education divide’ in Australian schools. This time, rather the well-trodden tale of ‘giving a Gonski’, it takes aim at so-called…

Cash is no answer to failing schools
Tom Switzer, Blaise Joseph
09 August 2019 | Australian Financial Review

Conventional wisdom holds that student disadvantage is attributed to too little public spending – with Canberra’s entire political spectrum keen to throw more of our dollars at it – or…

Yes, Ministers – collaboration is the answer
Fiona Mueller
09 August 2019 | Ideas@TheCentre

Public confidence in Australian school education may be low, but no one could complain about a shortage of official reviews and reports. High-powered panels and prominent figures continue to produce…

Overcoming the odds in high school
Blaise Joseph
02 August 2019 | Ideas@TheCentre

Parents often focus more on the choice of a secondary school, but it turns out primary school is probably more important for a child’s academic success. Many parents send their…