From John Ray's shorter notes
February 09, 2015
Does a private school education justify the extra money that it costs in Australia?
This is pretty hokey data below -- of the sort we expect from Leftists. Not mentioned below is the sample in which State schools did better than private schools. If we dig, however, we find that "out of the 60 most advantaged schools in the state, public schools scored above 90 in 38 per cent of their exams, on average, while the rate was 26 per cent in private schools". So the figures do not derive from an overall public/private comparison at all but rather from a very limited comparison of a small and select number of schools. And it is highly likely that the "advantaged" State schools had similar amenities and offerings to the private schools. The parent and citizen committees would be very active in such schools. So the comparison tells us very little.
And note that the unmentionable is a factor. The second highest performing school, James Ruse state school, is overwhelmingly Chinese and we all know what a difference that makes. See here, for instance. So once again, the study is shallow.
The one thing the figures do tell us is the key role of the students rather than the school. It's who your fellow students are that matters most. Children from successful families are probably going to be more advantageous classmates in many ways -- less disruptive etc. So getting your kid into a "good" (affluent) school (private or public) is important if only because of the fellow students there. And "good" state schools are few in many parts of Australia. So there is good reason not to gamble on a State education.
The authors below in fact acknowledge that. They say: "The substantial contribution to their success is the capacity and background of the kids they enrol. Almost 90 per cent of the schools which topped the HSC last year were also the most advantaged schools in NSW, showing social class is a far stronger indicator of how a school will rank than the quality of teaching."
And, as I wrote a couple of weeks ago: "In choosing your son's school, you are choosing his friends for life. Except for the army, men rarely make new friends far into adulthood, and even if they do, their old school friends will still usually predominate in their friendship circle. So choosing a school is choosing a lot for a son. What sort of friends do you want your son to have? He will tend to have smarter and more socially competent friends if you send him to a private school. And if you send him to a sink school ...."
The state's expensive private schools are spending $3.3 billion more on their students each year than equally advantaged public schools, despite achieving the same academic results, a new report has found.
This excess cash is more than the total amount spent annually in the 600 most disadvantaged schools in the state, where critics argue the money would be better spent.
The analysis is the latest in a series by researchers Chris Bonnor and Bernie Shepherd that examines data from the My School website.
They found private and Catholic schools are investing significantly more money per student than public schools. Yet, when comparing schools with similar students, they are achieving similar or worse results.
Among moderately advantaged schools, for example, public schools spent $10,932 per student on average in 2012, the most recent data available.
Yet, to achieve similar results, Catholic schools spent an extra $588 per student and independent schools spent $1389 per student more, much of which comes from school fees.
Among the most advantaged schools, the average spend per student was up to $22,000 in private schools, more than double that spent on similar public school students.
When looking at all schools across the state, the excess money spent on students who achieve the same results as their cheaper public school equivalents was $520 million in the Catholic system and $2.77 billion among independents.
The executive director of the Association of Independent Schools of NSW, Geoff Newcombe, would not respond to Fairfax Media's questions except to say "analysis of this type is ideologically driven and has no useful educational purpose".
A spokesman for the federal education minister, Christopher Pyne, said increased money was allocated to disadvantaged schools under the needs-based model introduced in 2014.
Tim Hawkes, the headmaster of The King's School, published an article on his website last week in defence of spending money on a private education.
"Most parents I speak to are looking for a great exam performance in year 12. But, this is only part of what they are looking for," he said. "They are also wanting a school that pays a lot of attention to values, that advances a faith position, that has a strong co-curricular offering, that offers boarding, that has strong accountability."
Go to John Ray's Main academic menu
Go to Menu of longer writings
Go to John Ray's basic home page
Go to John Ray's pictorial Home Page
Go to Selected pictures from John Ray's blogs