Friday, July 21, 2006


The British Left hates Grammar schools but they were the best highroad to better things for poor kids with brains

The proportion of state school pupils and those from low- income families at university has dropped to its lowest level in three years, despite government pressure to increase their numbers. And, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency figures released today, the worst performer is Oxford. The agency said that 320 fewer state-educated pupils went to university in 2004-05, down 0.1 of a percentage point from 86.8 per cent the previous year. The percentage of students from low-income families dropped from 28.6 per cent to 28.2 per cent.

Bill Rammell, the Higher Education Minister, told The Times that he was disappointed by the figures and that he had asked the Higher Education Funding Council to audit university programmes aimed at admitting more state pupils. “I’m reasonably confident these [programmes] will work but to be 300 per cent sure, I have asked [the council] to do a widening participation audit and report back to me by October,” he said. The Government wants half of young people to go to university by 2010.

The proportion of students from state schools was down in 14 of the country’s 19 leading universities, with Oxford still the most elite — 53.4 per cent of it students in 2004-05 were from state schools, a drop of 0.4 percentage points on the previous year, and the second fall in two years. Cambridge’s state admissions dropped by 0.1 percentage points to 56.8 per cent.

While many top universities complained of being set impossibly high intake targets, admissions of state pupils rose at UCL and Liverpool, Newcastle and Edinburgh universities. Malcolm Grant, chairman of the Russell Group of universities, said that he wanted to see more state pupils at university, but that it was important to maintain standards. “We’re not saying that children from working-class backgrounds are less able, just less well prepared,” he said. The figures also showed a rise in drop-out rates.


Leftists attack school choice in Australia too

A school voucher system would cost at least $5 billion more than present Federal Government funding, widen inequality among students and potentially lower average results, a study has found. Its discussion paper, which evaluated school vouchers overseas, concluded that introducing the system here would give parents a greater choice of schools. But this benefit would be largely confined to those on middle and high incomes and outweighed by negative effects on educational achievement, equality of opportunity, social cohesion and social capital.

Andrew Macintosh and Deb Wilkinson, of the left-wing think tank the Australia Institute, argue in the paper that a voucher system for all students could lower average results and widen social inequality. "The positives of greater choice must be weighed against the financial costs and risks associated with voucher schemes," their report said. "Universal voucher schemes would direct more resources to wealthy private schools at the expense of public schools and poor private schools, thereby reducing the opportunities available to children from low socio-economic backgrounds. "The redistribution of students and resources under a voucher scheme could result in sink schools that offer services that are vastly inferior to those available in the rest of the school sector. Public schools could ultimately become nothing more than a safety net for those who cannot afford to send their children to private schools."

The report concluded that a system that would provide a voucher of $8675.80 for each primary school student and $11,072.50 for a secondary student would cost the Federal Government about $32 billion - $5 billion more than it spends now (based on 2002-03 figures).

Yesterday, the federal Education Minister, Julie Bishop, reinforced her support for a broader voucher system, which would give parents government funding for each child so the money could be spent on a public or private school of choice. She has commissioned a study of a possible voucher system for students with disabilities, which would enable those in public schools to attend private schools and take their government funding with them. Ms Bishop has given a favourable assessment of a national pilot program which offered $700 vouchers to parents of children who failed to meet year 3 reading benchmarks. "I am supportive of the principle of funding following students: for example, the reading tuition vouchers for students who have not met year 3 literacy benchmarks, which will be continued this year," she said. A spokesman for Ms Bishop said the minister was keen to look at the broader application of a voucher system for all children.

The Australia Institute's report said that a voucher system would increase subsidies to wealthy non-government schools and disadvantage or provide little benefit to poor private schools. Schools in rural and remote areas with special needs would be particularly at risk of losing a substantial proportion of their government funding. Vouchers could also cause greater segregation on the basis of race, religion, academic ability and socio-economic status.



For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

The NEA and similar unions worldwide believe that children should be thoroughly indoctrinated with Green/Left, feminist/homosexual ideology but the "3 R's" are something that kids should just be allowed to "discover"

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