Carmen Lawrence and Chris Bonnor | Education gap widening between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’


CPD fellows examine the ‘invisible backpack’ phenomenon

School children struggle to carry the weight of disadvantage

Statistics compiled for the Gonski Review of Funding for Schools have revealed stark inequities in the Australian school system, where students from disadvantaged backgrounds are up to three years behind privileged students in their literacy levels.

CPD fellow and Gonski Review panel member Carmen Lawrence said that the figures, which compare the academic performance of disadvantaged and privileged children, “don’t make pretty reading.”

For a long time there has been a wilful denial that there is a problem.

In turning up such inequities in our education system, the Gonski findings challenge what is at the heart of our national ethos: a fair go for all.

Children come to us in our classrooms with what has been called the ‘invisible backpack’ and some come with their backpack full of privilege and others come with a backpack of disadvantage. – David Zyngier, senior lecturer, Monash University

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