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Charter schools not the panacea for Australia’s education system

Media Release
Penny Wright 31 Aug 2015

The implementation of charter schools, based on an ideological push for "autonomy", will not provide better education outcomes for students, warns Australian Greens spokesperson for schools Senator Penny Wright.

The new report from the Centre for Independent Studies (CIS) today called for charter schools to be introduced in Australia.

But this is a model that has already failed overseas and researchers in Australia have found no evidence to indicate changes in enrolments or student achievement.

"The introduction of charter schools has been an absolute disaster for Sweden, where education standards have tanked since their introduction," Senator Wright said.

"An evaluation of the WA model of independent public schools, which CIS are championing, and on which the Abbott Government policy is based, found 'no evidence to indicate changes in enrolments or student achievement'.

"In the UK, an evaluation of foundation and academy schools found either no increase in student achievement or mixed results, and a major review of academies concluded ‘it is increasingly clear that academy status alone is not a panacea for improvement.'

"All the evidence - from Gonski and other sources - shows the most effective thing the Australian Government can do to raise educational performance is to address the huge inequality between the most and least privileged kids by fixing the funding model.
"We don't need the introduction of new flashy sounding schools. This Government has totally undermined what would have really helped our public schools - the Gonski model.

"Chronic underfunding is the elephant in the room when talking about Australia's public schools, and diverting money to independent charter schools will only lead to a further decline in the standard of education students receive.

"Encouraging community engagement in schools is a great thing, but making sure schools are properly funded must come first. What parents care about most is that their child gets the best education possible.
"If the Federal Government was serious about helping all Australian students reach their potential - they would ensure adequate funding for the most disadvantaged students and schools and stop chasing red herrings like the curriculum and independent public schools as a way of pushing their own ideology."


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