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In the face of serious decline in Australia’s education performance, the Melbourne Graduate School of Education is leading the way with a forward looking guide that proposes new evidence-based directions for change in school-age education.

The new book, Educating Australia: Challenges for the Decade Ahead, published by Melbourne University Press, draws directly on the world-class research, innovation and policy analysis of Australia’s highest-ranked faculty of education. 

The book’s editors, Tom Bentley and Dr Glenn Savage, were driven by a determination to see education shaped by evidence rather than by dogma, brute force or narrow self-interest. 

“Despite unprecedented investment and reform in Australian schooling over the past decade, key indicators of success are stagnating and going backwards,” Dr Glenn Savage said. 

 “Schooling policy is dangerously hamstrung by party politics and distractions. Too often it is a toxic battlefield, animated by ineffective ‘magic bullet’ solutions. 

“While there is an expanding body of quality evidence about what works, this isn’t being translated into widespread practice. The pace of change is remarkably slow.” 

Being launched tonight by Professor Glyn Davis, University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor, and Gill Callister, Victorian Secretary of Education, the book shows how the knowledge and tools to tackle challenges in education have proliferated. 

It includes 22 chapters from emerging scholars and leading Australian and international experts including Laureate Professor John Hattie, and Professors Patrick Griffin, Geoff Masters, Field Rickards, Fazal Rizvi, Collette Tayler and Lyn Yates. 

Lead editor Tom Bentley says the book advocates interventions that are proven to make a difference, like investing in early childhood education and getting teachers working together to tackle complex issues and share specialist skills. 

“It proposes new approaches and solutions in a range of areas, from how to recruit teachers to ‘hard to staff’ schools, to assessment, ‘school readiness,’ increasing government collaboration and improving senior secondary pathways,” he said.