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Students' expectations can determine their future. www.shutterstock.com.au

Students' own low expectations can reinforce their disadvantage

The Conversation is running a series, Class in Australia, to identify, illuminate and debate its many manifestations. Here, Nicholas Biddle outlines how students' low aspirations can lead to poor outcomes…
A report has found 34% of young people serving a community-based order and 66% in custody have a substance abuse problem. Image from shutterstock.com

Better health services needed to break cycle of juvenile offending

Improving health services in the juvenile justice system and the community could reduce the risk of youth offenders repeating…
An innovative approach to mobility in Uganda. The Advocacy Project

Disabled people in Africa have been marginalised for too long

Disabled people are severely marginalised and among the poorest in developing countries. Having a disability increases the risk of poverty, and being poor also increases the risk of getting a disability…
What matters more when it comes to intelligence: nature or nurture? Brain image from www.shutterstock.com

Are genes really the reason more poor kids do badly at school?

A news report recently informed readers that the reason children from poorer backgrounds struggle is due to genetic “inherited abilities”. According to the article, a new Productivity Commission report…
Children who are engaged at school are more likely to go on to a professional, semi-professional or managerial career. Image from shutterstock.com

School engagement predicts success later in life

Children’s interest and engagement in school influences their prospects of educational and occupational success 20 years…
There are many reasons a child could be held back from reaching their learning potential – will extra money help? Children image from www.shutterstock.com

Battling disadvantage through Gonski: will it work?

As the Gonski school funding debate heats up again, the political focus so far has been on the big billion dollar figures. In this crowded debate about who’s right or wrong on the numbers, there’s little…
Hugging and making up: Samoan Moe Fonoti (right) embraces Logan Aboriginal elder Wayne Saunders, after talks to defuse local tensions. AAP/Dave Hunt

Bogans from the ‘burbs: confronting our hidden biases

Every city has them - the neighbourhoods that everyone else looks down on. In Australia, Sydney has “Westies”. Brisbane has “Logan bogans”. And in Melbourne, the western suburb of Sunshine is colloquially…
The number of Australians sleeping rough decreased but overall rates of homelessness rose by 8%. sk8geek

Sharp rise in youth homelessness shatters stereotypes

The number of Australians who were homeless on census night increased by 17% to 105,237 in the five years to August 2011. When adjusted for population growth, the increase the increase is still worryingly…
Australians from higher socioeconomic backgrounds are less likely to struggle with excess weight. Ed Yourdon

Education, wealth and the place you live can affect your weight

OBESE NATION: It’s time to admit it – Australia is becoming an obese nation. This series looks at how this has happened and, more importantly, what we can do to stop the obesity epidemic. Here, Kathryn…
There’s a clear need to move away from medical and behavioural approaches, Chaotic Good01/Flickr

Men’s health report highlights what’s missing from policy

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) report on men’s health focuses the spotlight on widely unrecognised aspects of male health. This could mean that policy can now address men’s health…
People without basic financial services may approach loan sharks when emergency strikes. Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ciscel.

Cut off from banks, 15% of Australians vulnerable to loan sharks

Around 15.6% of Australian adults have limited or no access to basic financial services like a transaction account, a credit card or insurance, putting them at risk of predatory lending, a new study has…

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