Australian school education sucks. Who is surprised?

Thank you Julia Gillard and the teachers’ unions. Just provide more money. What could go wrong?  PISA-Aust-Education-Tanks

Australia has plunged in the global education rankings, with the nation’s 15-year-olds performing at a significantly lower standard in reading, mathematics and science than a decade ago despite government funding for schools rising by more than $20bn over that period.

The 2018 PISA results comparing the academic performance of 79 countries, released on Tuesday, have confirmed Australia’s long-term trend of declining academic achievement, with average scores at record lows across all three tested domains.

Correlates with our national productivity. Is that a coincidence?

More research required, some will say:)

UPDATECommentary in The Economist (a left-wing rag these days). Still, this is to the point.

And, as the data suggest, part of the reason for the lack of overall improvement, despite increased spending, is that above a certain level (around $60,000 per pupil, cumulatively between the ages of six and 15) there is not much of a relationship between expenditure and test scores.

A big problem is that many education ministers still pay too little attention to the evidence. Others are hemmed in by the fact they must listen to the views of teachers and parents, who do not always know best. Andreas Schleicher, head of education at the OECD, bemoans the fact that lots of countries have, for instance, prioritised shrinking classes over hiring and training excellent teachers, despite evidence suggesting this is a bad idea. As he points out, one place that has given the quality of the teacher priority over the size of the class is Shanghai. Another is Singapore. And they are reaping the benefits.

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97 Responses to Australian school education sucks. Who is surprised?

  1. J.H.

    …. More money required, other’s will say.

    The Tax Pool. Where life is great and the money is endless…. apparently.

  2. PB

    Gonski 1 through whatever was only ever intended to be a dead weight dragging the system down.

  3. Roger

    The 2018 PISA results comparing the academic performance of 79 countries, released on Tuesday, have confirmed Australia’s long-term trend of declining academic achievement, with average scores at record lows across all three tested domains.

    No doubt there are a number of issues here which others will address, but…

    I routinely drive past a large state high school during the mornings which evidently has a lot of students who are refugees – African, Middle Eastern & Afghani. Inquiries confirmed that these children are not given much remedial work to get them up to speed with their native born, English speaking fellows. They are simply slotted in at their age level – i.e. a 15 old into grade 10 – regardless of their aptitude and expected to sink or swim (some African refugee children have spent their lives in camps and have little to no formal education). The school lacks the resources to do anything else with them. No doubt some manage to swim; I suspect many don’t.

    What impact does this phenomenon have on these results?

    I note this is a question that has been raised in Swden, which also has a large refugee/migrant cohort in their schools.

    More importantly, what to do about it?

  4. 2dogs

    The government needs to swap its approaches to healthcare and education.

    In healthcare, where simply more funding produces better results, the government constantly mucks around with governance structures and strategy changes.

    In education, where changes to governance and strategy produce better results (e.g. Michaela School), the government just throws more money at the problem.

  5. Infidel Tiger

    Gonski 3.0?

    Has anybody tried to teaching English, Science and Maths? It could work. Possibly.

  6. Infidel Tiger

    What impact does this phenomenon have on these results?

    The third world is definitely destroying our education and economic stats. I wonder when it starts to send our life expectancy starts shooting downwards too?

  7. jupes

    More importantly, what to do about it?

    Step 1. Stop importing them.

  8. Infidel Tiger

    Every parent with means is actively avoiding schools full of foreigners.

    It’s unfortunately the poor in the outer suburbs who bear the brunt.

    Meanwhile Hector and Victoria leave their gated home, to be driven to a private school in mumsie’s Volvo to learn about smoking ceremonies and British caused holocausts.

  9. Tel

    They spend most of their time learning how to be envious and worrying about global warming destroying the world right about the time the UN Agenda 2030 comes due.

    Good enough for government work.

  10. Roger

    Step 1. Stop importing them.

    Well, yes.

    (I’ve argued here before that the UNHCR’s refugee program is about 60 years out of date.)

    But given that’s not going to happen any time soon?

  11. Fisky

    It’s hard to sheet the blame for our education decline onto foreigners alone, because along with the lower performing African refugees, there are also a lot of high-performing Chinese coming in. So it’s probably a wash.

    The real problem with Australian education is we have failed to shake free of constructivist garbage that was popular about 10 years ago in the UK and since fallen out of favour. And while the UK is steadily lifting its performance, we are falling away.

    Also of interest is Finland continuing its long-term decline. I’m not surprised about this at all.

  12. Fisky

    It’s particularly nice to see Finland collapsing down the ratings. Hopefully that will silence all the ideologues who were demanding we copy their education system.

  13. Infidel Tiger

    It’s hard to sheet the blame for our education decline onto foreigners alone, because along with the lower performing African refugees, there are also a lot of high-performing Chinese coming in. So it’s probably a wash.

    Locals are avoiding the Asianised schools too.

    Had friends who wouldn’t send their kids to Chatswood Primary even though they are model lefties.

    Same reason people avoid Nedlands Primary in WA. Completely changes the dynamic of the school when it becomes majority Asian.

    Thankfully after an generation or two the Asians are just as dumb as us, so it’s just a waiting game for them to assimilate.

  14. Foreigners? Probably not relevant outside of scandals like UOW etc.

    Have you met most teachers? IQ this side of a soccer match, not a cricket match, an ego to boot, otherwise unemployable fat females who are sickeningly entitled, overpaid, miseducated, indoctrinated and with no real world skills. (Far) left wing entitled slobs who can’t run a mile and don’t have any idea how the real world works.

    Sorry, this is true.

    Most people on this forum, (teachers included) would have had a “discipline problem” as a child or teenager, whilst otherwise being good kids, because they raised the ire of some low IQ halfwit.

    The problem is lowering of standards, and it starts with entry into teacher’s colleges as well as a lack of parental care as society has embraced learned helplessness and generational poverty.

    You can frame it as a morality problem like the resurgent alt right may, but remember that big government engenders an exponential rate of immorality.

    Bring back failure as an option and make teachers at least have an IQ of 110 and the problem is solved, but it will take time to see the results flow through.

  15. Infidel Tiger

    Best teacher in the world can’t outperform a dud curriculum.

    Most teachers are great people, broken by the system.

  16. JC

    Are the result skewed by new comer’s kids?
    A long time ago I was reading up on concerns with US ed when test results were also disappointing. There it was found that lowish to middle class kids were really doing fine in relative terms. It was the recent arrivals kids that weren’t. I wonder if we have the same problem?

  17. Tel

    It’s particularly nice to see Finland collapsing down the ratings.

    Finland has already done everything that needs doing. They can relax now.

  18. Rob MW

    Australia has plunged in the global education rankings, with the nation’s 15-year-olds performing at a significantly lower standard in reading, mathematics and science than a decade ago despite government funding for schools rising by more than $20bn over that period.

    Unsurprising given the shovel readiness of educated social engineers.

  19. Roger

    It’s hard to sheet the blame for our education decline onto foreigners alone…

    And I wasn’t doing that, but the subject deserves further exploration, not least for the sake of the refugee children themselves, who didn’t ask to come here and deserve a fair go, not to mention the implications for future Australian society of an unintegrated, ill-educated and probably resentful underclass.

  20. Dr Fred Lenin

    Can’t understand it ,jooliar Giliard is the world ejykayshin head trying to gonski the world .
    Australia must be gonski from gonski and get back to teaching the 3 rs or we will r]end up like the illiterate peasant muslims we and africans are importing at a great rate .

  21. feelthebern

    Locals are avoiding the Asianised schools too.

    C’mon.
    Locals are too dumb to get into state selective schools.

  22. Diogenes

    There are many reasons for the poor PISA results, one of which has been identified above.

    Another issue is the methodology of selecting students.Every year our school gets given a list of students that have been selected to sit the test. Somehow, very few of our two top classes are selected, but most of our 4 special education classes are. I would be interested at looking at a breakdown of the german numbers to see how many ‘gymnasium’ vs ‘fachschule’ vs realschule students are tested

    The timing of PISA in the southern hemisphere means that students are being tested half way through the year, instead of at the end of the school year like in most other jurisdictions.

    We have so much content to get through that we are obliged by law to teach (contrary to popular belief the unions have little to no input into the syllabus writing – that most of the time we can only skim through the content and neither deep learning nor deep understanding can take place. If you are in NSW ask any science teacher what they think of their new stage 6 ( year 11& 12) syllabus. In NSW I get 50 hours to teach what other states allow 80-100 hours, and I have twice as much content as NSW have ‘improved’ the National Curriculum. I saw some feedback on my draft new syllabuses that said their was 500 hours of content to be taught in 240

    Much of the content in the syllabus is not aligned with the PISA testsand may use different terminology that confuses the students

    I don’t know how much disruption is caused by sports and swimming carnivals, i dont remember doing any in Germany 50 years ago. Today we hosted our incoming year 7 students , and our current year 7 and 8 students were off their collective ‘trees’ all day**. Very little learning will have been done

    None of these issues can be addressed by more money, except in the case of throwing money into remedial programs for ou NESBs.

    *** the reason for me having indulged in a few more drinks than normal, apologies for alcohol induced typos

  23. Fisky

    Best teacher in the world can’t outperform a dud curriculum.

    Most teachers are great people, broken by the system.

    There is a huge problem with Initial Teacher Education, and the absolute refusal of universities to incorporate phonics teaching into core units. Our PISA reading scores are diabolical; once kids start trying to access a more academic curriculum in upper primary, those lists of memorised sight words they were fed in years 1-3 become useless. By the time they enter high school they are disengaged learners, and eventually put onto a vocational track.

    We really need to find ways around the ITE stranglehold on teacher accreditation, like they have been doing in England.

  24. feelthebern

    I think it comes down to the vast majority of teachers being shit at their jobs.

  25. Fisky

    Anyway, the short of it is, Michael Gove did a tremendous job as Education Secretary and can take much of the credit for reversing England’s long-term decline in PISA.

    Unfortunately, we still haven’t figured out what the problem is yet. The (mostly negative) reaction to Gonski 2.0 was promising, but we’ve got so far to go.

  26. Infidel Tiger

    The libertarians always want to blame the low paid workers.

    Absolute scum.

  27. Fisky

    I think it comes down to the vast majority of teachers being shit at their jobs.

    But all they are doing is delivering the Australian curriculum to the best of their ability. It is the curriculum that is the problem, and the ideology informing it. There’s no real evidence that Australian teachers are any more or less competent than past generations.

  28. I think you’re right bern but I wouldn’t be a teacher – the curriculum is overloaded with political brain farts and the regulation & paperwork is mind boggingly wasteful and stupid.

    Not to mention the bizarre hatred of phonics the teachers unions or educationalists have, which Fisky continually reminds us of.

    Combined with a the majority of low energy, lazy and stupid people with fall back jobs, it is a shit show.

  29. low paid workers

    LOL

    Better paid than a lot of engineers, sparkys and even lawtradespersons.

  30. JC

    Infidel Tiger
    #3251185, posted on December 3, 2019 at 9:35 pm

    The libertarians always want to blame the low paid workers.

    Dude, just stop.

  31. feelthebern

    Teachers being low paid is a myth.

  32. Fisky

    Since the end of the mining boom, a lot of qualified STEM people have been moving into teaching, especially as the pay scales are pretty good now, from $70-105K a year for non-leadership positions. That compares very well with other graduate jobs, so you can’t really say there is a problem with personnel anymore. Also, public schools have almost complete control over hiring now.

  33. feelthebern

    a lot of qualified STEM people have been moving into teaching,

    Great news!
    We should expect better results in about 10 years.

  34. Fisky

    Pretty hard to improve in Science and Maths if you can’t read. That’s why no amount of money or pay rises will make a difference. We are not teaching students to read.

  35. Tel

    I think it comes down to the vast majority of teachers being shit at their jobs.

    I’d say about half half but the problem is you can’t get rid of the bad ones because no one gets fired in that line of work, even when they are complete no hopers.

    Then they get forced to teach a crappy national curriculum that gets decided by politicians and the parents have been largely locked out of the process. If you come in as a parent and complain about the crap that gets taught you are putting your family in the cross hairs of the do gooders branding you phobi phobi phobic about whatever their most recent victim group happens to be.

    Put it this way: in the Lefty dominated industries you can’t get ahead by hard work, you get ahead by playing the game better than the others. That’s a bad selection mechanism and over the generations it has become entrenched. I’m surprised the students come out knowing anything useful.

  36. feelthebern

    IT is offended as he works in administration for the Department of Education.

  37. Infidel Tiger

    Those fools are overpaid.

    Frontline teachers earn a mediocre income for the importance of their job.

  38. Fisky

    Oh dear. Terrible response from Minister Tehan. We still don’t get it.

    Mr Tehan called on fellow ministers to back the implementation of reforms, including the Gonski review’s learning progressions that would be designed to ensure every student was able to achieve at least a year’s worth of learning for every school year, when the Education Council meets next week.

  39. ensure every student was able to achieve at least a year’s worth of learning for every school year

    What a meaningless load of nonsense. Billions of dollars of meaningless nonsense.

    Just keep on pissing money away and wonder why productivity and education are shot.

  40. Diogenes

    Fisky,
    Most english speaking countries results in reading are crap, because English is hard, compared with say German, French or even Finnish. In German, ALL the rules of the language , including definitions and a dictionary and a thesaursus are contained in the 12 volume Duden, that was when I last looked still smaller than the full OED set the library has, and which contain not one single grammatical rule.
    In German the rules are quite strict, and you could never get ‘fish’ out of ‘ghoti’ as you could in English , or have absurd rules like i before e except after c ,or except when sounded as an a (eg neighbour) , or is seize(or variant) or weird, or geisha or (insert 8 other named exceptions)

  41. Cynic of Ayr

    Roger, there’s plenty of money available to do remedial teaching to these kids you mention.
    But, do they want to learn?
    Do their parents want them to learn.
    Assuming they do, IF there was a lot less money spent on social ideas by socialist teachers, then the money is available.
    Note that it’s the STEM that is suffering, not their knowledge of LBQRST stuff, or a hundred genders, or which toilet to use, or how to walk on eggshells in case they offend someone. All this shit is taught adequately – too adequately.
    The Teachers Union has got the system totally under their leftist control, and UNTIL that is fixed, nothing will improve.
    The men have been almost totally pushed out. Girl teachers are running classes of sixteen year old boys, who, at that age, want only to get a look up her skirt. I know that from experience.
    Teaching is no longer a vocation. It’s a way to get paid handsomely to brain wash kids towards the lefty ideology.
    I do not see a fix coming. It has to be done politically, and like everything else in the Country that needs fixing politically, it won’t be done.
    Also, what’s the break up between Public Schools and Private Schools?
    I’d hazard a guess that the Private School kids are doing quite well. Which really only shows how utterly poorly the Public School Kids are doing, to drag the average down so far.

  42. feelthebern

    If you have children, send them to a school in somewhere like Shenzhen.
    When they’re billionaires, just sit back & wait for them to thank you.

  43. Fisky

    Fisky,
    Most english speaking countries results in reading are crap, because English is hard, compared with say German, French or even Finnish.

    Yes, but English was also a phonetically irregular language 20 years ago when Australia was in the top 10 of PISA. So that doesn’t explain why we’ve declined.

    In German the rules are quite strict, and you could never get ‘fish’ out of ‘ghoti’ as you could in English

    But you could not get “fish” out of “ghoti” in English, because “gh” never makes the “f” sound at the beginning of a word.

    The issue is that English does have rules (or patterns), but because of its complex history these are much more nuanced than other languages. It takes about 2 years for a child to become independent decoders in English (assuming they are taught properly). In most European languages it’s about 6 months.

    But this has always been the case and does not explain our relative decline.

  44. Fisky

    I’d hazard a guess that the Private School kids are doing quite well. Which really only shows how utterly poorly the Public School Kids are doing, to drag the average down so far.

    There is no evidence that public schools have a lower marginal impact on student attainment than private schools.

  45. Dr Fred Lenin

    I try to get my grandchildren to read books , any books , my own children are great readers even in these days of modern technology they go to the library and also buy books . Reading is the basis p]of all learning

  46. Candy

    A simplifed curriculum, discipline, proper testing and kids held back a year if they fail.

    Thing is, parents will complain. There’s your problem.

  47. Infidel Tiger

    Parents are the worst.

    We have a group at our primary who want to introduce dance instead of PE among other craziness. Some crazy got up at the P&C meeting last week and declared the school sexist because father’s had a breakfast for Father’s Day and mother’s had an afternoon tea for Mother’s Day.

  48. JC

    Artie

    Was that a lesbian “mother”?

  49. Infidel Tiger

    She was an empowered “corporate mother”.

    Luckily everyone ignored her.

  50. JC

    Oh yea, the empowered Australian corporate mum. They’re just below:
    1. Wall street mothers
    2. NYC female lawyers mums.

    as the most despicable sub-species of the human race.

  51. Diogenes

    My suggestions for system reform…

    There are 3 no cost reforms that should help.

    1. Only have syllabus for, and assess literacy and numeracy in years 1 and 2, still do music, art etc, but focus on literacy and numeracy.
    2. Go through every other syllabus for every subject in every year and delete every second or third outcome, and every second dot or dash point
    3. Sack (preferably hang, or even more preferably force teach for a year in a low SES area) any educational academic that uses any variation of ‘you will not have classroom management problems if you design and present engaging lessons’ which totally ignores the fact that in a normally good class, Mary and John broke up during recess, and John is now ‘going out’ with Jane, and Marys friends are upset as well, and calling Jane a slut and Janes friends are getting upset and are accusing Marys friends of …

  52. JC

    I just received Saxo bank’s outrageous predictions for 2020.

    1. Australia’s nominal GDP to 8% on MMTELEANOR CREAGH / AUSTRALIAN MARKET STRATEGISTThe trade-weighted AUD rallies, with AUDUSD roaring back to 0.8000. In 2020, economic red flags point to more downside ahead for the Australian economy. In Q1 of 2020, retail sales and cash register activity plunge to their lowest level since the 1991 recession and houses become more unaffordable, with Sydney and Melbourne being ranked among the world’s most expensive cities for housing. In Australia’s five biggest cities, more than 30% of average earnings are absorbed by mortgage repayments, leading to lower consumption and higher consumer stress. The Australian economy could get a lift from the improving China credit impulse next year, but it is unlikely to be a game-changer as China’s credit transmission is still too slow. On the top of that, domestic monetary policy is also constrained as the effective zero-bound approaches and has limited positive effects on the real economy. RBA governor Philip Lowe was very vocal in 2019 on the limits of monetary policy and repeatedly explained that further rate cuts have only a marginal effect on GDP growth — arguing that fiscal stimulus is the only way to bring relief if the economy continues to weaken. As consumer confidence and employment begin to plunge in early 2020, the government decides to embark on a MMT-inspired economic policy aimed at restoring confidence, stimulating GDP growth and attracting investment. This is the largest fiscal stimulus programme in Australia for at least 30 years. It leads to a massive increase in public spending in infrastructure, the health system and education, as well as the implementation of ambitious programmes to reduce the cost of living, provide affordable housing, reduce taxation and address environmental issues. The strong rise in fiscal spending contributes to a jump in consumption and investment, almost doubling Australia’s nominal GDP rate to 8% in 2020. The business community applauds this bold new economic policy stance. Confidence and risk appetite are back. After being hit by a perfect storm that drove the Australian dollar down nearly 20% versus the greenback since early 2018, the AUD is among the best performing currencies in 2020.

    This one scares the living life out or me.

    OP 2020: Democrats win a clean sweep in the US 2020 election, driven by women and millennials

    The polls going into 2020 don’t look promising for Trump, nor does the electorate: 2018 mid-term elections and limited 2019 elections in the US showed that voters living in suburbs across the US are turning in droves against the Republican party of Donald J. Trump. Plus, the marginal Trump voter in 2016 and in 2020 is old and white, a demographic that is fading in relative terms as the largest generation in the US now is the maturing millennial generation of 20-40-year-olds, a far more liberal and less white demographic.

    Talking to investors around the world, we’re staggered by the consensus that Trump is a shoo-in for a second term. They and the markets are in for quite a shock: voter turnout in the 2018 midterms point to heavy turnout in 2020 as well, as the younger generation is in a rebellious mood. Millennials and even the oldest of “generation Z” in the US have become intensely motivated by the injustices and inequality driven by central bank asset market pumping and fears of climate change, where President Trump is the ultimate lightning rod for rebellion as a climate change denier.

    We believe that elections are lost far more than they are won. In 2016, the uninspiring, unpopular avatar of the Democratic elite establishment, Hillary Clinton, failed to motivate many on the left to even show up at the polls and lost the election to a fired-up mass of Trump voters who wanted to overturn the system. This time around, the vote on the left is thoroughly rocked by dislike of Trump – with suburban women and millennials showing up to express their revulsion for Trump. The Democrats win the popular vote by over 20 million, grow their control of the House, and even narrowly take the Senate. Healthcare is the single sector that is in for a strong headwind from a Democratic clean sweep in the election, as Medicare for all and negotiations for drug pricing bring a massive haircut to the industry’s profitability.

    I Like this one. It may occur.

    In energy, green is not the new blackPETER GARNRY / HEAD OF EQUITY STRATEGYThe ratio of the VDE fossil fuel energy ETF to ICLN, a renewable energy ETF, jumps from 7 to 12.The oil and gas industry came roaring out of the financial crisis after 2009, returning some 131% from 2008 until the peak in June 2014 as China pulled the world economy out of its historic credit-led recession. Since then, the industry has been hurt by two powerful forces. The first was the advent of US shale gas and rapid strides in globalising natural gas supply chains via LNG. Then came the US shale oil revolution, which saw the US become the world’s largest oil and petroleum liquids producer, dramatically pushing down prices and return on capital. The second force impacting the investment outlook for the traditional fossil fuel energy sector, particularly in the long term, has been the increasing political and popular capital behind fighting climate change, causing a massive surge in demand for renewable energy. The “Greta Thunberg” movement has recently increased global awareness, to a level where investors are desperately looking for green energy investment opportunities and large sovereign wealth funds are even reducing their oil and gas holdings to defend against the change of sentiment on all CO2-emitting energy sources. The combined forces of lower prices and investors avoiding the black energy sector has pushed the equity valuation on traditional energy companies to a 23% discount to clean energy companies. In 2020, we see the tables turning for the investment outlook as OPEC extends production cuts, unprofitable US shale outfits slow output growth and demand rises from Asia once again.And not only will the oil and gas industry be a surprising winner in 2020 — the clean energy industry will simultaneously suffer a wake-up call. Investors must realise that for clean energy companies, the average return on invested capital versus the weight-adjusted cost of that capital is a terrible 0.5, meaning that the industry is actually destroying capital. The VDE (Vanguard Energy ETF) / ICLN (iShares Global Clean Energy ETF) ratio jumps from 7 to 12 in 2020 as clean energy investment doesn’t pay while dirty energy does.

    This would be fun.

    OP 2020: Hungary leaves the EU

    Hungary has been an impressive economic success since it joined the EU in 2004. But the 15-year marriage now seems in trouble after the EU initiated an Article 7 procedure against the country, citing Hungary’s – or really PM Orbán’s — ever-tighter restrictions on free media, judges, academics, minorities and rights groups, which in the opinion of the EU does not conform with the rule of law, weakens democracy and does not conform with EU values. A divorce is increasingly likely and we could see Hungary take steps to follow the UK out of the EU by end of 2020.

    There is endless irony here: a major portion of Hungary’s economic success since 2004 comes from EU capital transfers. One estimate from KPMG estimates that EU membership’s net effect on Hungarian growth was at some +3.0% of GDP per year, but despite this high correlation the government in Budapest is seeking confrontation with Brussels whenever possible.

    The pushback from Hungary’s leadership is that the country is only protecting itself: mainly protecting its culture from mass immigration. Plus, they maintain that it has a right to decide for itself. But an open economy with insular governance, immigration and press rules? It’s an unsustainable status quo, and the two sides will find it tough to reconcile in 2020 as the Article 7 procedure moves slowly through the EU system.

    PM Orbán is even openly talking about how Hungary is a ‘blood brother’ with the renegade Turkey as opposed to a part of the rest of Europe, a big shift in rhetoric that has not gone unnoticed in Hungary — as well as among bureaucrats and politicians in Brussels.

    That this change of tone coincides with EU transfers all but disappearing over the next two years is hardly surprising. But it will leave Hungary’s currency, the forint (HUF) on the back foot and take it to a new, much weaker level of 375 in EURHUF terms as the markets fear the disengagement or reversal of capital flows as EU companies reconsider their investment in Hungary.

  53. Publius

    And what abt that loser who ran that enquiry? Surely he deserves a place in the headline!

  54. Diogenes

    Fisky,
    If we are solely looking at rankings, I have seen an analysis of a previous PISA which only compared us with the countries who were doing it with us during the ‘glory years’. In that analysis our ‘decline’ is nowhere near as marked, and other countries have declined further and faster .

    If we are looking at absolute results ( eg average score of x 10 years ago vs average score of x-y now), that would imply to 2 factors…
    1. Syllabus changes ie what is taught,
    2. Changes to composition of the teaching work force*, as in a lot of very very experienced teachers retired , and were replaced by graduates. At our placc, the entire executiive , ie HeadcTeachers and up, turned over in my first 2 years (9 years ago), of the 60 or so teachers on staff when I started, 5 got promotions and moved to new schools and 42, who were at the school for at least 15 years, and were old scheme, retired, and 2 resigned and are now corporate trainers. The institutional memory that has beenn lost has had an impact on every aspect of school life, and you can see the correlation between our HSC results and retirements, as more of the older retired (we loose our last old scheme teacher, ie teacher who started before 1985, at the end of this year) the number of band 5 and 6s has declined as has average ATAR

    * This could be seen as a proxy for the different way teachers were/are being trained ie phonics/whole word, explict instruction/constructivism

  55. Leigh Lowe

    All it takes is dropping a couple of words or phrases from the lexicon.
    Some examples:-
    “Wrong”
    “Fail”
    “Try harder”
    “Well done. Top of the class”

  56. Crossie

    PB
    #3251107, posted on December 3, 2019 at 8:33 pm
    Gonski 1 through whatever was only ever intended to be a dead weight dragging the system down.

    Gonski was only ever meant to be a money transfer scheme, from taxpayers to teachers unions’ members.

  57. Crossie

    I routinely drive past a large state high school during the mornings which evidently has a lot of students who are refugees – African, Middle Eastern & Afghani. Inquiries confirmed that these children are not given much remedial work to get them up to speed with their native born, English speaking fellows. They are simply slotted in at their age level – i.e. a 15 old into grade 10 – regardless of their aptitude and expected to sink or swim

    Far less effort was spent on previous waves of migrants and they all got up to speed in no time but then they wanted to.

  58. Crossie

    Fisky
    #3251153, posted on December 3, 2019 at 9:11 pm
    It’s hard to sheet the blame for our education decline onto foreigners alone, because along with the lower performing African refugees, there are also a lot of high-performing Chinese coming in. So it’s probably a wash.

    The Chinese are mainly university students so the comparison does not apply.

  59. Mitch M.

    Australia ranked 16th in reading, 29th in maths and 17th in science, while the grouped Chinese provinces of Beijing-Shanghai-Jiangsu-Zhejiang topped each category.

    I won’t comment on the education issues because I know next to nothing about that. In Australia we don’t respect learning and scholarship, it is well down the list of cultural priorities. Not so in China and some other countries. The one thing I do know is that the home environment is a key determinant of scholastic success.

    Are Australian parents making the mistake of thinking the answers are to be found in government rather than the home? Since the Gillard initiatives has this been very much accentuated? One measure of this might be to look at P & C associations’ membership as a marker for parental involvement in their children’s educations. Have those associations declined in numbers over recent years? Are parents more often noticed by teachers because they are whingeing about something that happened to their child rather than communicating with teachers in a positive sense, to seek from teachers guidance in how to help the child do better?

  60. Mater

    What is the problem?
    Let me just repost something from last year:

    Mater
    #2746430, posted on June 25, 2018 at 8:34 am

    Diogenes,
    They can’t help it by the time they get to Year 7.

    From my kids reports, that I receive several days ago. This is the entire comment on STEM.

    Grade 3:

    “During Term One children learnt that clean water is essential for life and we need to save water for the future. They planned and created a model for saving water. XXXXXXXXXXXXX visited and gave a talk to the students on saving water. During Term Two they learnt about the importance of environments, including natural vegetation, to animals and people. They used scaled instruments to measure and compare lengths, masses, capacities and temperatures. They investigated creatin an aboriginal garden using native plants where they planned, designed and created a model of their garden.”

    Grade 6:

    “During the first semester, XXXXXXXXX identified sustainability initiatives already being used at XXXXXX Primary School, measured the amount of waste we create and reflected on this data. He created a visual or electronic presentation about composting. XXXXXX built on his understanding of the design process by completing a ‘Boat Challenge’ design brief. In this project, he needed to formalise his steps and thinking during each phase of the design process by recording these in an electronic presentation.”

    Seriously? Are we still wondering?

  61. Mater

    And as for History, the only thing my Year 8 son knows about Australian military history (apart from what I’ve taught him), is that Simpson had a fucking donkey, and used to save wounded people during an evil war, in a far away country.

  62. Up The Workers!

    There is no surprise that the Australian “education system” as currently constituted is producing plummeting standards in academic achievement.

    The whole thing is designed specifically to churn out an army of illiterate, innumerate robotic Leftard clones who vote for the world’s only political Party too dumb to spell its own name properly.

    In another 20 years, they will all be either on the arse-end of the dole queue, in prison or worse, in Parliament as many are now, with I.Q.’s well and truly exceeded by their shoe-size.

    Labor(sic) – They have no place for “U”!

  63. Rebel with cause

    For a site usually full of skeptics, people are showing a lot of faith in the accuracy of results in a standardised international test. As Diogenese points out above, the test is flawed.

    Chances are your kids will end up around the same level of ability as you. Genetics does all the heavy lifting.

  64. struth

    I wouldn’t be a teacher in Australia’s education system.
    Anyone with any integrity couldn’t do it.
    It’s why Arky could not continue to be part of it.
    Any teacher participating in this sickening socialist indoctrination and cultural Marxist abuse of children without protest to their superiors, is part of the problem.
    Yet the fat feminine fascists have long since purged the education system of decency and integrity leaving only a few who may not agree but are too worthless as human beings to rock the boat.

  65. Tel

    During Term One children learnt that clean water is essential for life and we need to save water for the future. They planned and created a model for saving water.

    They built a dam?

    Great idea, should be more of it.

  66. Mundi

    social scientists have ruined education

    my kids at public school spend more time doing touchy feely nonsense like “making a boomerang” than on reading writing and math. The curriculum to day is a joke. The absolute worst output of committee design you will ever see.

    Education could be improved by simply going back to how it was done 20 years ago – with text books and a black board.

  67. Shy Ted

    Only TooBob can save us!

  68. iamok

    I got invited to attend a gender equity poster launch for preschoolers on this Thursday. I am not attending, but this is where the decline starts – right there. Teachers who sign up for this crap, students who are fed it, and PS bureaucrats who fund it.

  69. Mark A

    Rebel with cause
    #3251364, posted on December 4, 2019 at 6:46 am

    For a site usually full of skeptics, people are showing a lot of faith in the accuracy of results in a standardised international test. As Diogenese points out above, the test is flawed.

    Chances are your kids will end up around the same level of ability as you. Genetics does all the heavy lifting.

    If I take that at face value, we can stop schooling altogether and the kids still turn up knowing what their parent do?

    Or did you perchance had intelligence, not knowledge in mind?

  70. Rebel with cause

    If I take that at face value, we can stop schooling altogether and the kids still turn up knowing what their parent do?

    Is that what I said?

    The best thing an education minister could do is ban schools from participating in PISA and NAPLAN and then we can stop statists hyperventilating that the Government “needs to do something”.

  71. Mark A

    Rebel with cause
    #3251387, posted on December 4, 2019 at 7:44 am

    Is that what I said?

    Read it again, that’s how I understood the relevant part of your post.
    That is, Genetics does all the heavy lifting.

    Genetics don’t teach you how to read or write, may make it easier to learn

  72. Mother Lode

    This is a wonderful elucidation of the ‘G’ part of the GDP equations.

    The private sector spending is value based – people invest and consume (and import and export) based on value. Someone spends $100 it is because what they get in return is worth more than $100 to them. Each dollar of consumption or investment in the equation glosses over the fact that more value has changed hands than dollars.

    Government spending is just…spending – even if the money surrendered is greater than the value of the return ever would be (hello BER!) it is still counted at the full dollar value, glossing over the loss.

    Is there anything in government, be it in the realm of politics or bureaucracy, that compels them to spend money wisely, and not spend it if does not solve a problem?

    I suppose announcing spending is a shedload easier than taking on the Teachers Federation, or entrenched bureaucratic fiefdoms, or admitting that your own party got it wrong last time, or anything else that would deliver better outcomes.

  73. Mother Lode

    The Tax Pool

    A bottomless ever replenishing spring. And just like space existing wherever matter is, the pool extends to the furthermost taxpayer. Each time a person is born into Australia, no matter where, the tax pool edges out to encompass them through their very existence.

    And why do so many people accept this? Because it is what they are taught at school.

  74. Rebel with cause

     

    Genetics does all the heavy lifting

    OK, let me elaborate a bit more.

    Because you have inherited good genes from your parents that make you want the best for your kids, you will do all the right things to make sure your kids are prepared for the first day of school.

    You will read to them, teach them about numbers, teach them good manners and to try to sit still and be ready to learn. Your kid will turn up on the first day ready to go.

    And because you are programmed to care, you will want to make sure they go to a good school, or at least not one noticeably worse than the one you attended as a child, and you will be prepared to pay fees or move postcodes to achieve this.

    Barring a series of terrible teachers that teach your child badly, they will probably turn out with a level of knowledge similar to your own.

    I am not saying that schooling is not important. It is. Decidedly so. But your entire educational experience, including what school you attend, how good your teachers are, and what subjects you study, is shaped by genetics.

    If you want to make the argument that nurture rules over nature, fine, but you will be going against all the evidence.

  75. MACK

    The answers were clearly explained in the ABC TV series Education Revolution, where education experts from the University of Melbourne went into Kambrya College in Berwick and turned everything around, using best practice teaching techniques. The issue is political and bureaucratic incompetence – the solutions at a professional teaching level are quite clear.
    https://www.abc.net.au/tv/programs/revolution-school/

  76. Tel

    You will read to them, teach them about numbers, teach them good manners and to try to sit still and be ready to learn. Your kid will turn up on the first day ready to go.

    That’s mostly culture.

    I was learning science at a young age, while other kids were learning sports or else learning religion. Every parent teaches their kids something … whether that boosts test scores depends very much on the test, doesn’t it?

  77. If you want to make the argument that nurture rules over nature, fine, but you will be going against all the evidence

    Rebel, I don’t think anyone here would disagree with you on that – the work of biological evolutionists & those like Richard Haier who research intelligence – have proved that one many times over.

    But the quality of education – for all – is affected by teaching methodology & curriculum design & content. It is the disastrous experiments in both methodology & curriculum by Leftist pedagogues over the past generation that has led to a collapse in educational standards.

  78. Mother Lode

    People are still thinking in terms of the Old White Male idea of education.

    Take maths for example. The idea that there is one answer to an arithmetic problem when we should embrace many answers.

    Sums are a political act! They require submission to a set of rules that the privileged have access to. Encouragement and acceptance is contingent upon internalising these arbitrary rules. If a child says ‘five plus five is twelve’ we say the child (xir/xe/xit/she) is wrong, with all the moral implications that carries.

    And what of the feelings of the numbers? Even numbers possess an internal binary symmetry odd numbers lack. Composite numbers have multiple symmetries while prime numbers are rigid and irreducible. One is solitary. And zero? What hell is this. The difference between ‘two apples’ and ‘three apples’ is merely degree of apples. You can draw the difference.

    But zero apples does not really possess any apple-ness. Zero apples is identical to zero elephants. How do you illustrate that distinction?

    And some numbers still have flashbacks to ‘Nam.

  79. struth

    That school numbers was in charge of was a school full of retards.
    However, they were all high achievers before he took it over.

    And so it is all over Australia once the anti western commos get control.

  80. Mark M

    These are the same kids we must listen to who truant school because they have been taught it is the end of the world because of CO2?

    One upon a time, the 3 r’s were reading, writing, arithmetic.
    Now it is reduce, recycle, re-use.

    What did you expect?

  81. Mother Lode

    That school numbers was in charge of was a school full of retards.

    There is a saying, I believe, that a shepherd becomes like a sheep.

  82. Bruce

    Language is important.

    If the little darlings are not LITERATE, there is NO HOPE. And THAT seems to be the plan.

    As for the “difficulties” of English:

    English is one of, if not the greatest syncretic languages in history. It has gleefully absorbed words and concepts from all around the globe. Furthermore, when something “new” appears, it either uses the original “foreign” name, or gets a name that is almost a “nickname” or a catchy acronym, unlike German which seems to delight in long, descriptive polysyllabic words.

    Just for a twist, in Viet Nam, they have an academic committee that reviews the use of “foreign ” words creeping into their language. Their task is not to “purify” their language by repelling the verbal boarders, French style, but to standardize the spelling and dictionary definition. “Oto” for “car”, “Moto” for “motorcycle, “Tivi”, for…well, you get it. The language is replete with words from various “foreign” influences; Chinese, Portuguese, French, Russian, English, even Japanese.

    That country also has to have the highest density of bookshops of any place I have visited, despite the inroads cut by Ti vi and Máy tính, (essentially “Machine, calculate (ing)) .

    Some may get all bitter and twisted about the next bit.

    The GLOBAL language of aviation is ENGLISH. This is fairly important. Ignore the requirement at your peril. See the example of the pilot who put a large “western-built” airliner into a forest. The cockpit voice recorder revealed the (female) spoken-vice “stall warning” repeatedly going off. The other voice was the crew-member screaming, in a language not English, “Shut-up, you American bitch”, or words to that effect, until a loud BANG indicated impact. Regarding other languages, see “Russian”. Soil scientists around the world use a blizzard of Russian terminology, because almost ALL of the seminal work on identifying and classification of soils was done by….

    See also the global use of Italian terminology in music and French in ballet. Go to Russia, China or Israel, the rules prevail.

    Then, there is ancient GREEK and LATIN as used in medical terminology. Being “dead” languages means that the meanings and spellings do not change over time.

    In the petroleum exploration biz, “English’ is the standard especially in the field, where your rig boss may be an American of Polish extraction and the rest of the crew from almost every country and language group in the world. They speak an argot , “Manglish”? which is “industry standard” and updated and modified on the run, as new technologies and equipment are introduced. Thus, a Nigerian drill master can communicate with his Mongolian and Brazilian “rig-pigs”.

  83. stackja

    Bruce – I have been reading several books about PNG administration and how pidgin was used by patrol officers.

  84. JB of Sydney/Shanghai

    BEIJING: Chinese students far out-stripped peers in every other country in survey of reading, math and science ability, underscoring a reserve of future economic strength and the struggle of advanced economies to keep up.

    The OECD’s triennial study of 15 year-old students across the world found that the four Chinese provinces tested — Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang — outperformed in science and mathematics, even if household income is well below members’ average. In reading, the 10% most disadvantaged Chinese students tested had better skills than the OECD average.

    “The quality of their schools today will feed into the strength of their economies tomorrow,” OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria said.

    Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/news/regional/2019/12/03/china039s-schoolchildren-are-now-the-smartest-in-the-world#XvtQpf4SErJzrX3m.99

  85. flyingduk

    Could it be that national IQ is falling, rather than ‘education’ standards? We know IQ is largely genetic, and that our immigration programme includes a lot of low IQ source countries now.

  86. Old School Conservative

    Meanwhile, NSW Education Minister fiddles as standards burn:
    EDUCATION Minister Sarah Mitchell spent $90,000 on an eight day research trip to the US and Canada to learn from their “very similar education systems” and visit a school every day. (Tele)

  87. classical_hero

    Reposting this from the main thread. Sums up the education system as it stands.

    classical_hero
    #3251073, posted on December 3, 2019 at 7:44 pm
    Considering that schooling is no longer about education but indoctrination, no wonder core skills are being pushed aside. At least children know how to penis tuck or chest binding.

  88. Colonel Crispin Berka

    >> Correlates with our national productivity

    It’s not just education. Education especially doesn’t explain the varying fortunes of people who’ve been out of tertiary for more than 10 years.

    Higher costs of inputs, higher technical standards expected by the market, lower discretionary spending available to your potential customers, lower trust in the market generally for whatever you’re trying to sell, less belief that anything is better than anything else, lower chance of continuous uninterrupted income stream, and higher probability of your earnings being spent on others before you ever spend it on your own visible trappings of success.
    Which all makes it much harder to be detected by any productivity survey as being an achiever.

    In summary, I stayed the same while everyone else’s standards went up and their budgets went down.
    In summary of summary, I blame everyone except myself. Obviously, I approve this message.

  89. Fencesitter

    Commy teachers. Immigration from the third world. All those are a big part.

    But none of you guys have touched on the massive component.

    The declining health – mental and physical – of our children.

    From my observations the average child today must miss nearly a month of school every year because of illness.

    In short, the biggest culprit are the doctors and health bureaucrats who make our children sicker and sicker. Of course, they do that in other countries too so it doesn’t necessarily affect relative results, but it does explain why IQs are actually dropping in the developed world.

  90. Gowest

    “The quality of their schools today will feed into the strength of their economies tomorrow. ”
    At least we know why our economy is stuffed.
    The students will work to fill the availability of jobs in the economy! – lets see a stellar career in the public service. Oh golly gosh our students have no reason to excel.

  91. struth

    IQs are actually dropping in the developed world.

    You think with a language.

    When You think in English, being by far the best language to do so with, the more you have the language under your belt the better thinker you will be.

  92. Cynic of Ayr

    Fisky:
    I’d hazard a guess that the Private School kids are doing quite well. Which really only shows how utterly poorly the Public School Kids are doing, to drag the average down so far.

    There is no evidence that public schools have a lower marginal impact on student attainment than private schools.

    And the lack of evidence comes from???

    To garner evidence, you have to have an investigation. If there is no investigation, there is no evidence.
    All I’m saying is, show me the evidence – real evidence based on real investigation – that Public and Private Schools yield the same result.
    No offense, but if that comparison has not been made, then your statement that there is no evidence, is nonsense.
    There is no evidence that I killed someone, but that does not prove I did not.
    To say there is no evidence, because none has been sought, is also nonsense.
    So, call me out. Point me to the investigation that you state does not provide any evidence.
    I’ll wait here.

  93. Kurt

    Diogenes
    #3251231, posted on December 3, 2019 at 9:58 pm
    Fisky,
    Most english speaking countries results in reading are crap, because English is hard, compared with say German, French or even Finnish. In German, ALL the rules of the language , including definitions and a dictionary and a thesaursus are contained in the 12 volume Duden, that was when I last looked still smaller than the full OED set the library has, and which contain not one single grammatical rule.
    In German the rules are quite strict, and you could never get ‘fish’ out of ‘ghoti’ as you could in English , or have absurd rules like i before e except after c ,or except when sounded as an a (eg neighbour) , or is seize(or variant) or weird, or geisha or (insert 8 other named exceptions

    You do know that no less than Noam Chomsky has described English spelling as ‘optimal for meaning‘?

  94. Tel

    You think with a language.

    Speak for yourself, I much prefer a diagram, but even better is to go through the entire process … build the thing, or process the data, or at least make a model.

    Until you have tried doing something yourself you have no real appreciation, regardless of eloquence with language … ultimately hollow symbols that can be repeated and juggled.

  95. Bec

    The following is taken from my daughter’s grade 5 homework at a $40,000 per annum international school teaching an “inquiry based learning” IB primary years syllabus: “Central Idea: the consumption of Earth’s resources requires innovative solutions for sustainability”. “Lines of inquiry: an inquiry into the consumption of earth’s resources (form); an inquiry into the inequitable distribution and consumption of the Earth’s natural resources (causation); write your own LOI here (responsibility)” “Key concepts: form, causation, responsibility”. “Related concepts: sustainability, resources, consumption”. The homework sheet had this jargon written in boxes all over the page, and the homework required my daughter to fill in some blank boxes saying “I used to think…” and “now I think”, to write an explanation of the connection of the central idea to the Lines of Inquiry; to propose another “Line of Inquiry” that she could investigate in class and to fill in a blank box called “action” where she was supposed to propose her banal ideological solutions like use reusable drinking straws and refuse plastic bags. The problem is the education idealogy (both in terms of the “student led learning” approach and the leftist slant of the content), and the teachers who support it. (I estimate probably something around 25% of primary teachers – the excellent ones – find a way of paying lip service to this garbage and get on with the job of teaching children basic numeracy and literacy. The other 75% are either ideologically committed or are completely disengaged). If you think you get away from this garbage at private schools, think again. In most ways it is worse at this eye-wateringly expensive school than it was for my older children at the local catholic primary.

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