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Charter schools and vouchers not a solution for Australian schooling

Stewart Riddle writes in The Conversation (2.5.17) that there is no evidence to suggest that schooling vouchers are simpler, fairer and more transparent than current funding models.

‘A new report from the Centre for Independent Studies described Gonski funding for schools as a “fantasy” and made three proposals for school funding: hand over full control for school policy and funding to the states; establish a school voucher system, which provides funding directly to students rather than schools; and create charter schools – these are publicly-funded but privately-run schools.

‘The report argues that: “Australia’s school results have been declining in international standardised tests while public debt continues to grow. For the sake of reversing the decline in both the country’s education standards and its fiscal responsibility, getting school funding right is more imperative than ever.”

‘The rationale for introducing charter schools and vouchers to Australia is often made in the context of declining international test scores. It is ironic that the two systems that we look to for our policy borrowing, the US and UK, consistently perform worse than Australia on these same tests.

‘However, evidence from the US on charter schools suggests that they are neither cheaper to run, nor more effective in improving student outcomes. Similarly, vouchers are touted as part of a push for greater choice in the school market, but have had unflattering results, including insignificant impact on student achievement.’

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