Education – The Centre for Independent Studies


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


Beating lockdown blues: Students pass the Covid test
Glenn Fahey
25 October 2021 | RR42

Students have suffered educational disruption in combatting the spread of covid-19. Education policy and practice during the pandemic has faced uncertainty, with some a priori assumptions proven true, while others not. The research tests the following a priori assumptions of home-based learning against the evidence…

Why Inquiry-based Approaches Harm Students’ Learning
John Sweller
11 August 2021 | AP24

Australia’s rankings on international tests such as PISA have been falling for many years in most curriculum areas. Those falls have been concurrent with an increased emphasis on inquiry learning over explicit instruction. Inquiry learning involves students discovering new information for themselves rather than having…

Writing matters: reversing a legacy of policy failure in Australian education
Deidre Clary, Fiona Mueller
28 July 2021 | AP23

Since the middle of last century, Australian education has seen the adoption, variable implementation and occasional jettisoning of a parade of methodologies including learning styles, multiple intelligences, critical literacy, constructivism, whole language, process writing, genre theory and text types, balanced literacy and learning progressions. Most…

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…

Confronting Indigenous educational disadvantage: A Kimberley perspective
Lorraine Hammond
24 March 2021 | AP20

The challenges of education in Australia’s remote majority indigenous communities are complex and persistent. The best intentions and considerable resourcing over decades haven’t translated into consistently higher quality instruction and unfortunately, not a significant improvement in broader education outcomes. This paper documents the challenges faced…

Media & Commentary

High marks for classroom mediocrity
Glenn Fahey
08 December 2021 | Financial Review

This week’s Teachers Federation strike in NSW — despite being ruled illegal by the state’s Industrial Relations Commission — saw up to 60,000 public school teachers off the job in…

Learning loss of past two decades should be focus of policymakers
Glenn Fahey
28 November 2021 | Canberra Times

School students around the country are finally in exam mode, despite several bids to abandon final year exams due to expectations of pandemic learning losses. However, recent CIS research shows…

Education establishment fails the curriculum reform test
Glenn Fahey
01 November 2021 | Financial Review

Speaking at the Centre for Independent Studies last month, federal Education Minister Alan Tudge outlined the priorities required to see Australian education “roar back” to be among the world’s best and to…

Policymakers must ensure maths curriculum is evidence based
Glenn Fahey
24 October 2021 | Canberra Times

With Australian mathematics in crisis, the test is on for policymakers to ensure evidence wins the day in our national maths curriculum. Speaking at the CIS last week, Australian Education…

Pandemic is yet to teach us its true lessons
Glenn Fahey
12 September 2021 | Australian Financial Review

Reassuring NAPLAN results offer hope that Australian students may escape serious educational harm from the pandemic. However, it would be premature to put the concerns to bed just yet. The…