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What price the gap? Education and inequality in Australia

Analysis & Policy Observatory carries a link (2.4.18) to a Public Education Foundation report on the growing inequalities present in Australia’s education systems, mirroring similar ‘gaps’ evident in other areas of society.

‘The question of inequality has permeated recent public debate in Australia. From stagnating wages to CEO salaries, from retiring boomers to renting millennials, the widening gaps in our society have come under intense scrutiny. A less scrutinised gap is widening in our education system.

‘This issues paper sheds light on this educational inequality and its cost to Australia. It analyses the costs of students at the bottom falling further below those at the top and estimates that over the six years from 2009-15 alone, this growing inequality has cost Australia around $20.3 billion, equivalent to 1.2% of GDP. The longer-term cost to Australia is even bigger, because the gap was widening well prior to 2009.’

Australian schools are becoming more segregated. This threatens student outcomes

Rachel Wilson and Paul Kidson write in The Conversation (18.2.21) about growing segregation among Australian schools between those favouring advantaged over disadvantaged students.

‘The Australian school system is concentrating more disadvantaged students in disadvantaged schools, with serious implications for student achievement. A report released today by the Gonski Institute says schools in Australia are more regressive, divided and socially segregated than in most other rich countries.

‘Our report examines how well Australian education meets our agreed national educational goals. These were most recently articulated in the Alice Springs (Mparntwe) declaration as “improving educational outcomes for all young Australians” through “excellence and equity”.

‘When governments provide funding to schools, obligations and expectations rightly flow from this. If one of those is promoting “excellence and equity”, it’s time for a serious revision.’

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