Two major forthcoming studies on social factors affecting reading literacy have been flagged on a blog published by the San Jose Valley Society of Children's Literature. See item published 15 May 2010. Recent research has found a link between extensive access to books in the home and the length of time children stay in school, after controlling for education, fathers’ occupation, and social class. Additional research has indicated that access to books through external sources such as libraries may also help improve retention.
Issues surrounding the recent NAPLAN tests have been covered in numerous media articles again this week. For resistance to participation in the tests see article in The Sydney Morning Herald 20 May and article in The West Australian (yahoo.com) 19 May. On the portrayal of the beef industry in the tests, see report on ABC News 18 May and article in The Sydney Morning Herald 19 May. On alleged breaches of the test requirements see article in The Courier Mail 19 May and article in The West Australian (yahoo.com) 21 May, report on ABC News 20 May, article in The Advertiser (Adelaide Now) 18 May and article in The Herald Sun 19 May 2010.
There has been further discussion in the media in relation to the Australian Government's large-scale program to develop school infrastracture. See article in The Australian and report on ABC News, both 21 May 2010.
The Australian Government's Early Childhood Education Minister Kate Ellis has announced funding of $2.6 million to be allocated to very young children considered to be developmentally vulnerable. See article in ABC News 18 May 2010.
The Australian Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, has announced that a national forum for school science laboratory technicians will be held at the University of Technology, Sydney, in July 2010. The Australian Science Teaching Association (ASTA) will invite up to 30 participants to the forum, including representatives from Science Education Technicians Australia (SETA) and the Catholic and independent education sectors. See Minister's statement 17 May 2010. See also SETA homepage at groups.edna.edu.au.
Newsweek science editor Sharon Begley argues that much educational research suffers from problematic design or lack of academic rigour. See opinion piece in Newsweek 29 April 2010.
A WA proposal to relocate Year 7 students to secondary schools has been met with concerns about resource allocations and the mental well-being of students. Currently, WA students complete Year 7 in a primary school environment. See article in the Esperance Express 21 May 2010.
Concerns have been raised about the efficacy of WA's new three-stage secondary curriculum, which was redesigned to improve students' chances of being accepted into tertiary education. See article and related article in The West, both 19 May 2010.
Western Australia's Minister for Education Liz Constable has outlined the recent State budget's impact on school education in a series of statements 20 May 2010. See also commentary in The West Australian (yahoo.com), also 20 May 2010.
ACT Education Minister Andrew Barr has announced that principals in the Territory will be given increased authority over hiring and dismissal of teachers, as well as over staff budgets. See article in ABC News 20 May 2010.
There has been discussion in the USA about abolishing teacher tenure and related seniority rules that protect experienced teachers from dismissal. See article in NPR 29 April 2010.
Education expert Charles Murray argues that standardised testing is an inadequate way of ranking schools and assessing achievement, and fails to highlight the different emphases and strengths of different schools. See opinion piece in The New York Times 4 May 2010.
An article on nola.com 26 April 2010 describes how a school in New Orleans is using the arts to engage students and enhance their academic performance.