Australian Education – draw your own conclusion

Here are 2 charts for Cats to consider.  First one is a post-budget tweet from the Liberal Party.  The second is a chart demonstrating Australia’s educational achievement according PISA testing.

But citizens should not fret.  Gonski is on the way and both the majors want to spend more.

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67 Responses to Australian Education – draw your own conclusion

  1. stackja

    Education has gone ski!

  2. Confused Old Misfit

    Angels and Ministers of Grace, defend Us!
    Jesus Wept!
    A decade of disaster.
    What can be done?

  3. Therefore we conclude that education results are negative and causally linked to funding levels.

  4. Bruce of Newcastle

    Do they provide free hormonal sex change drugs in primary schools yet?

    At least when Safe Schools is taught you can be confident that the kids can count all the way up to 57. Gender theory is so important to navigating your way in the Centrelink queues after all.

  5. Bear Necessities

    As long as the kids can fill in CentreLink forms they will be fine!

  6. Matt

    The first graph is meaningless without reference to the growth in number of children accessing education. What is the per capita growth in education spending?

  7. Wil

    Mathematics has been dragged down by your ABC setting the standard.

  8. lotocoti

    Went to a State High School reunion last year.
    According to the Deputy Principal, there were 1200 students and 120 staff.
    I suspect the staff roster wasn’t 117 blackboard jockeys, the Principal, the Deputy and a nice lady who came in on Wednesdays to do the typing.

  9. Mother Lode

    It seems they have realised that it takes more and more money to make kids more and more stupid.

    But it remains as vital as ever that kids grow up ignorant so they can be reliably duped at election time.

  10. Matt
    #2980092, posted on April 5, 2019 at 12:30 pm

    The first graph is meaningless without reference to the growth in number of children accessing education. What is the per capita growth in education spending?

    Err Matt do you think per capita spending (in nominal terms) will double from 2014 to 2019 or if it was from a small population boom?

    Therefore we conclude that education results are negative and causally linked to funding levels.

  11. Confused Old Misfit

    https://read.oecd-ilibrary.org/education/education-at-a-glance-2018/australia_eag-2018-37-en#page1
    Expenditure has increased faster than enrollment at all levels of education.

  12. Dr Faustus

    Probably doesn’t matter too much in the greater scheme of things.

    Australia’s growth employment prospects are in the public service, NDIS, ‘education’, and various Green energy lurks. Productivity and creativity are low priorities when you think coding apps and 3D printing are the skills of the future and government can simply legislate well-paying jobs.

    Very little need for literacy and numeracy.
    Only unquestioning faith that someone else will provide.

  13. Mother Lode

    https://theconversation.com/factcheck-is-australia-below-the-international-average-when-it-comes-to-school-funding-72189

    No amount of extra money lavished upon the ill-tempered slovenly retarded hacks at the front of the classrooms will make them able to impart knowledge.

    The fact that most teachers are opposed to merit based pay and promotion tells you that most of them, deep down, realise they are not worth much. The overcompensating theatrics fools no one.

  14. No amount of extra money lavished upon the ill-tempered slovenly retarded hacks at the front of the classrooms will make them able to impart knowledge.

    Dear Lode. TAFKAS thinks this is wrong an unhelpful.

    Dare the dirty word culture be spoken, but the one cannot hold teachers responsible for the performance of children whose parents could not care less about the education of their children. It is not the role of the teachers to educate children. It is the role of the parents with teachers there to facilitate.

    Also don’t forget the role of the educational head office industrial complex which sets the curriculum and the systems.

    Wars are not lost by the foot soldiers. They are lost by the generals and the political leadership (or lack of leadership).

    The next time the politicians say they are “funding schools” ask them to instead fund the students. But sadly students don’t vote.

  15. Rafe Champion

    Re per capita growth on funding, this is a bit rough and ready but I find between 2011 and 2016 (census figures) the school age population increased about 5%.
    The gross funding from 2014 to 2019 (a five year period to the present) increased 43%.
    Don’t know how they project the spending to 2029, looks like it should be capped about now:)

  16. Confused Old Misfit

    The fact that most teachers are opposed to merit based pay and promotion tells you that most of them, deep down, realise they are not worth much.

    Amen brother!

  17. Confused Old Misfit

    It is not the role of the teachers to educate children. It is the role of the parents with teachers there to facilitate.

    Seriously?

  18. The fact that most teachers are opposed to merit based pay and promotion tells you that most of them, deep down, realise they are not worth much.

    How do you measure the performance of a teacher for the purpose of reward? Take a high performing teacher and drop two knuckle head boof head children of greens voters into a class in a public school (from where it is next to impossible to expel them) and then see what happens to performance.

  19. Rafe Champion

    The serious point is that education requires a partnership between parents and children so if either party opts out then the result is what we have got now.

    The OECD figures are interesting in many ways, starting with the leading dot point about the gender gap in remuneration, one of the great red herrings of our times.
    As to the enrolment rates, the figures for the older pupils is obscene, so many kept in school to learn nothing to satisfy the demand for more teachers and the myth that retention will improve outcomes. Maybe so if remedial reading features on the year 11 and 12 curriculum but at present that has to be done at uni.

  20. Confused Old Misfit

    How do you measure the performance of a teacher for the purpose of reward? Take a high performing teacher …

    What criteria did you use to initially determine that the individual was “a high performing teacher”?
    There are statistical methods that can smooth out the outliers, the extremes at both ends of the curve.
    And an increase in classroom behavioral standards and discipline would be a necessary part of improving teacher/student performance metric.

  21. Roger

    It is not the role of the teachers to educate children.

    Quite so; it’s the role of teachers to indoctrinate children.

  22. Farmer Gez

    You’ll notice the 2003 drop in reading (literacy) and then the fall in numeracy.
    If you can’t read the question you can’t answer it. Basic education.
    This all starts in the primary system and by the time the kids get to secondary the game is over.
    Most likely the poorest performers are the boys. Primary schools are dominated by women and the boys are losing out continually as the curriculum is slanted to female interests.

  23. Confused Old Misfit

    TAFKAS is right when he cites the role of the parent in education.
    Parents have abrogated their role to direct the and guide the curriculum to which they wish their children to be exposed.
    They have conceded this role to the professional education administrators.
    Hence Roger’s comment.

  24. Farmer Gez

    I remember attending a primary school P&T interview and having a not so bright teacher start talking about rubrics when teaching kids who couldn’t spell cat yet. FFS!

  25. MPH

    Showing the average performance only is not the full story. Need to see the frequency distribution of various results to understand. It could be driven by tens of thousands of immigrant children who don’t speak English and have no previous schooling to the expected standard, while Australian children perform as they always have. But of course it is convenient for Labor and unions to blame it on funding…

  26. TBH

    The serious point is that education requires a partnership between parents and children so if either party opts out then the result is what we have got now.

    Dead right. That is specifically what we looked for when considering secondary schools for our kids. In both cases we’ve been pretty happy, particularly with my son’s school. My daughter’s school is particularly focused on academic performance, which suits her as she’s a willing student.

  27. 132andBush

    A lot more extra curricular stuff going on now than I remember as a kid.
    Harmony day
    Naidoc week
    A bazillion sporting events.
    etc.

    Agree with TAFKAS re parents.

  28. Percy Popinjay

    The definition of insanity – repeating the same action and expecting a different outcome.

  29. Farmer Gez

    Migrant parents are often the best.
    Their kids are told to listen and obey the teacher. This is not true for all the migrant groups but the parental attitude is reflected in the results for year 12. Migrant kids perform well in some of the worst government schools.

  30. rickw

    What’s going on:

    Education Spend – Actual Performance = Indoctrination Spend

  31. Buccaneer

    Migrant kids perform well in some of the worst government schools.

    Are you sure that’s not just paying for tutoring outside of class?

  32. Fisky

    The fact that most teachers are opposed to merit based pay and promotion tells you that most of them, deep down, realise they are not worth much.

    The reason teachers are opposed to merit-based pay and promotion is because no one has discovered a reliable and scaleable assessment tool that measures the impact of individual teachers on student learning.

    “Merit-based pay” is a chimera that gets thrown up every now and then, but it is not going to happen. Anyone familiar with organisational politics will predict that pay increases on merit will mostly go to the principal’s favourites, rather than the best teachers.

  33. Fisky

    The single biggest improvement to education that could be made is the introduction of a Year 1 phonics check for all students. It would probably cost tens of millions of dollars at most.

  34. Farmer Gez

    I’ve been through a school review process where you see ranking of students from all over the State.
    My wife taught in Broadmeadows High when she first graduated and said some of the best teachers she has seen were at the school and some of the worst in private colleges.

  35. JB of Sydney/Shanghai

    I can’t help but notice that in Sydney, the Chinese students seem to do very well indeed. Maybe because the parents keep their children disciplined, focused, and hardworking.

    Showing respect to teachers doesn’t do much harm to the classroom environment either.

    This is what I noticed in my family.

  36. Fisky

    I remember a study from a few years ago claiming that Australian students lose up to a term of learning each year due to poor behaviour. Will try to dig it up.

  37. Tel

    The reason teachers are opposed to merit-based pay and promotion is because no one has discovered a reliable and scaleable assessment tool that measures the impact of individual teachers on student learning.

    And yet the parents have a surprisingly clear idea of which schools are good and which ones are crap.

    There’s really no possible way to measure the mysterious thing that almost everyone just knows already.

  38. Fisky

    But the preferences of parents do not necessarily reflect which schools have the greatest marginal impact on student learning, so much as which schools already have the highest current attainment, which is not the same thing. Then we need to factor in that the choice of school is as much about status signalling to other parents as it is to do with a child’s education.

  39. Percy Popinjay

    pay increases on merit will mostly go to the principal’s favourites, rather than the best teachers

    Given the latter will invariably have to buck the system, the observation is entirely unsurprising.

  40. Fibro

    TAFKAS HELP ME! Any chance you could have corresponding years on both charts? My friend in Education of course debates that how irrelevant this is because of different data years. PLease help me shut it down.

  41. Tator

    for those wondering, per capita funding per student from government is labeled AGSRC Average Government School Recurrent Costs and had increased in real terms by 1.9% per annum between 1999 and 2012. LINK HERE

    Please notice that the years where the decline started occurring were when Australia had wall to wall ALP State Governments.

  42. Vicki

    The reason teachers are opposed to merit-based pay and promotion is because no one has discovered a reliable and scaleable assessment tool that measures the impact of individual teachers on student learning.
    Actually – no. The NSW Teachers Federation has always been vehemently opposed to merit-based pay and promotion because it is seen as elitist. Federation has never been interested in rewarding outstanding teachers who achieve above average results amongst their students.

    Indeed, if you want to understand what has happened to education in the last 25 years look no further than the curriculum changes pushed by Federation. Early Australian settlement history & achievements of colonists (especially in agricultural inventions) has been virtually erased, whilst favoured themes (such as the role of women, indigenous history, environmental degradation etc) have been inserted and featured as major issues. “Themes” are favoured rather than chronological development. Little wonder, then, that the current generation has a jaundiced and disjointed understanding of history. Good teachers do what they can with these changes – but curriculum changes (mostly ideologically inspired) are at the foundation of contemporary decline in standards.

  43. struth

    It is not the role of the teachers to educate children.

    FMD.

    just
    FMD

    It is the role of the parents with teachers there to facilitate.

    So no point sending orphans to school, then ???

    FMD

    Good lord.

    Speechless.

  44. struth

    The reason teachers are opposed to merit-based pay and promotion is because no one has discovered a reliable and scaleable assessment tool that measures the impact of individual teachers on student learning.
    Oh yes they have.
    It’s called percentage passing set exams.
    Easy.
    So some schools have different kids, so the principle gets to decide officially, on recorded statistics, for that school.
    I’m so fucking sick of teachers throwing the blame on everybody else.

    If you guys are only there to facilitate and parents should be teaching children, what the fuck are you getting involved in the one subject where that is true, the sex talk parents should be having with their kids

  45. herodotus

    The big con job is that Labor are the party of education and health. This shows that they are the party of growth in spending for no good result in either area.

  46. struth

    Teachers are gutless arseholes, and should be out on strike until the curriculum is not decided on by the global socialist UN, and until they are allowed to enforce some discipline.
    God knows their union is strong enough.
    It’s that the union is an indoctrinating load of commies.
    The only thing it’s short of is integrity and ethics.
    Going along with the flow in such an important role is pathetic to say the least.

  47. vicki

    BTW – while we’re on this topic – the methodological nature of teaching in primary schools is also flawed, in my opinion.

    Teacher focussed instruction was ditched years ago in favour of student focussed “learning groups”. So teachers now rarely front junior classes for any length of time developing structured learning. Individual desks were long ago replaced by large square tables where children “share their learning experiences”, while the “teacher” roams the room advising from time to time. Worse, I have witnessed “learning experiences” compartmentalised into 10-15 minute segments, as children move from table to table. What understanding these “teachers” have regarding the ability of small children to learn anything in such short periods I don’t know … clearly little. No wonder so many kids proceed to high school with inadequate levels of numeracy & literacy.

    But they know a lot about the destruction of our planet by the human species. If you doubt that – walk into any classroom in a primary school & look at the student “tasks” displayed around the rooms – all about environmental issues.

  48. Tel

    The NSW Teachers Federation has always been vehemently opposed to merit-based pay and promotion because it is seen as elitist. Federation has never been interested in rewarding outstanding teachers who achieve above average results amongst their students.

    And they have opposed merit based high schools (with selective intake, only accepting the brighter kids) on the same basis that good results are not really the objective … lowest common denominator and obedient little socialists has always been higher priority.

  49. Tel

    But the preferences of parents do not necessarily reflect which schools have the greatest marginal impact on student learning …

    Pretty darn close … there’s a league table of standardized exam results published every year and you can predictably go from one year to the next and see the same schools at the top. Maybe there’s more to the world than exam results, but I reckon if you were shown two different videos showing a half hour of the typical classroom at a top of the league school, and a bottom of the league school … everyone on this blog could figure out which was which without being told. Even Monty and Numbers would spot it.

  50. Fisky

    It’s called percentage passing set exams.
    Easy.

    But that doesn’t actually measure a teacher’s impact on student attainment, which is supposed to be the point of merit-based pay.

  51. Fisky

    Pretty darn close … there’s a league table of standardized exam results published every year and you can predictably go from one year to the next and see the same schools at the top.

    But league tables are not evidence of the quality of teaching, a the impact on learning. Prior attainment is a huge effect size on future academic success, and this is not measured by league tables at all.

  52. Fisky

    i.e. the impact on learning

  53. Fisky

    Teacher focussed instruction was ditched years ago in favour of student focussed “learning groups”.

    Sadly this is often the case. There is a lot of ideological pressure on teachers to adopt ineffective student-centred practices, mostly from academia and consultants.

  54. Terry

    “And yet the parents have a surprisingly clear idea of which schools are good and which ones are crap.”

    Which makes the solution quite simple.

    Fund the student directly (not the school/teacher/education bureaucracy).

    The parents will direct that funding to the “best” school/s, which will invariably attract the “best” teachers.

  55. struth

    But that doesn’t actually measure a teacher’s impact on student attainment, which is supposed to be the point of merit-based pay.

    Yes it does.
    Weasel words.

  56. Tel

    Terry #2980948,
    That’s the voucher system. Not exactly libertarian utopia but better than what we have and the unions hate it with a vengeance so you have to presume there’s something good about it.

    The point about a system that enables parents to make a choice, is that bad schools can and will fail at some point and thus poor management and/or poor work ethic get removed from the industry. Under the current system, schools have a guaranteed clientele and guaranteed payments, and if they do badly they get paid extra!

  57. Fisky

    Yes it does.
    Weasel words.

    Ok, seeing as you know all of this stuff, let’s answer the following question – what is the teacher effect on standardised testing results? According to which study? Go!

  58. Fisky

    That’s the voucher system.

    But the effect size from school vouchers is non-existent. Even the CIS had to admit that in a recent paper, which is why they have wisely stopped wasting their time on libertarian dogma and focussed their research efforts on instructional effect.

  59. Rabid Koala

    It’s funny how that trend in educational outcomes tracks the increase in third world immigration. It’s almost as if letting third world people into your country leads to third world outcomes.

  60. John A

    Confused Old Misfit #2980068, posted on April 5, 2019, at 12:04 pm

    Angels and Ministers of Grace, defend Us!
    Jesus Wept!
    A decade of disaster.
    What can be done?

    You have only looked back ONE decade? The rot had set in at least from the 1960s.

    The main proponent of child-focused “experiential” learning (aka psychological manipulation) as against content in the curriculum and teacher focused classroom techniques: John Dewey of Columbia U.

  61. I have an interest in this and one thing I have learnt by the pieces not fitting together is that primary and high school really ought not to be run, regulated or proctored/supervised in the same manner.

    Education specialists might already know this, but how do you say interventions with a kindy kid and someone almost finished Year 12 can hold constant across that range?

  62. Fisky

    If you really want an eye-opener into what is going wrong with education in Australia, look at the AITSL Illustrations of Practice series. Keep in mind that these are the professional standards that teachers are required to meet for initial and ongoing registration. And the lesson clips illustrating the standards are overwhelmingly constructivist, group-work, and inquiry-based. So teachers are virtually required to adopt practices that slow down learning.

  63. Hang on. Saying experiential learning is not a “thing” at all, is certainly going too far. We wouldn’t value experience for job applications otherwise, would we?

  64. Fisk,

    Please enlighten us all on the truth or not that people leaving school now are dumber/know less/lower IQ or not than people in 1960, 1890 or 1850 etc.

  65. Fisky

    I don’t know about that but we have definitely been in decline since the 1990s.

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