Sunday, November 28, 2010

AUSTRALIA: PRIVATE SCHOOLS FIND FAULT WITH MY SCHOOL RESEARCH

Cath News report: Private schools are threatening court action to prevent the publication of information about their finances on the My School website, after previews that indicated the website is riddled with errors, said The Australian.

The schools fear that if the updated website goes live next month as planned, incorrect data could smash their reputations and lead parents to false conclusions about the value they are getting for their school fees.

And the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority - the government body responsible for the website - has conceded that data on about 300 schools is in dispute and that some could be excluded from the updated site when it goes live.

The opposition accused the Gillard government of attempting to engineer data to justify its "secret agenda" to slash funding to private schools, while the Australian Education Union accused private schools of attempting to avoid scrutiny after already having been given generous concessions on what data would be made public.

Independent Schools Victoria revealed yesterday that many of its 220 member schools had used the government's preview portal and discovered My School's assessment of their financial resources was wrong.

Chief executive Michelle Green told The Australian ACARA was using a formula to crunch figures to iron out differences in data between independent, Catholic and public schools.

But Ms Green said that one independent school had found the site overstated its income by $11 million, while another found three different assessments of its income on three consecutive days it checked the site.

Others using the portal, which closes on Tuesday, found the site had no data on their finances.

An ACARA spokesman said data from about 300 of the nation's 10,000 schools was in dispute and that the body was working with schools to adjust errors. The spokesman said the site was expected to go live next month but that if officials were not certain of the accuracy of data, some schools might be excluded and "asterixed" until the data was verified.

http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=24328

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