Well Schooled

Interesting interview on Friday with Tim Petterson, a journalist who writes for the newsletter of the Australian Education Union, which represents Victorian school teachers. We write about schools in the Rethinking Australian Social Policy chapter (pages 198-202), and are fairly critical of some of the ideas that teacher unions in Australia have favoured. Our reading of the research leads us to question whether further class size cuts are really the best way of spending scarce educational dollars. Instead, we suggest that a carefully designed system of teacher performance pay might be a more effective way of improving educational outcomes. In addition, while we argue that private school funding should be better targeted to the neediest pupils, we also note that a healthy private school sector promotes competition, and improves overall student performance. And we propose raising the school leaving age to 17. We don’t expect all teachers to agree with our recommendations, but we do hope to broaden the education policy debate, and to ensure that debate is driven by research, not rhetoric.

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