Eagles may soar, but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines.

So said Steven Wright.

Earlier today or possibly yesterday, the Hon Bill Shorten MP, leader of the opposition came out against the idea of the federal/state income tax switch.

Why?  Not because it may lead to higher taxes or a larger bureaucracy, all reasonable arguments.  But because the states can’t be trusted to get primary and secondary education right and only the wisdom, insight and judgement of the Commonwealth government can ensure educational out comes.

So, given Australia’s PISA scores have been steadily declining since at least 2000, can someone please advise how the Commonwealth Government is currently helping.  What with them not teaching 1 student or employing 1 teacher.

Perhaps the problem with education in Australia is not about resources.  Perhaps it is about governance and approach.

In NSW, the annual report of the Department of Education and Training shows some interesting information.

  • The Department receives approximately $12b in funding from the NSW Treasury.  As others may say, that’s 12,000 million or $33 million every single day (weekends, public and school holidays included).
  • There are approximately 765,000 enrollments in NSW public schools.  If the entire system were closed down and the current $12b budget appropriation was distributed evenly per student, every single one of these students could get a $15,700 voucher to spend on education – per annum.
  • The Department has approximately 99,000 staff of which approximately 27,000 are not teachers.  That’s over one quarter or 1 in 4.  It could be more because I suspect head masters and other senior non-teaching teachers are probably counted as teachers.

Draw your own conclusions about how well the Commonwealth is helping now and how well the system is working.

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28 Responses to Eagles may soar, but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines.

  1. teddy bear says:

    This is essentially the problem, these kinds of things do not get reported, instead we have this infantile political debate which provides the same solution for every problem just throw more money and bureacrats at it, any attempt to provide facts that don’t support the narrative get howled down by the usual suspects.

  2. . says:

    Why? Not because it may lead to higher taxes or a larger bureaucracy, all reasonable arguments. But because the states can’t be trusted to get primary and secondary education right and only the wisdom, insight and judgement of the Commonwealth government can ensure educational out comes.

    Where is the Federal legislative head of power for this?

  3. JohnA says:

    Perhaps the problem with education in Australia is not about resources. Perhaps it is about governance and approach.

    It’s about the values and assumptions being built into the curriculum.

    The Gramsci-ites have thoroughly infiltrated the educational establishment so that the leftist-Marxist-totalitarian (BIRM) worldview dominates to such an extent that our students do not learn to read, write or calculate – consequently they cannot even think, and they do not even know that.

  4. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    Why? Not because it may lead to higher taxes or a larger bureaucracy, all reasonable arguments. But because the states can’t be trusted to get primary and secondary education right and only the wisdom, insight and judgement of the Commonwealth government can ensure educational out comes.

    Actually I suspect Napoleon has something to say about the real reason:

    Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.

    Shorten has made a point of loudly opposing all the silly tax ideas Turnbull has eructed, but has said absolutely nuffin for months about their own tax proposals, like on da ebil CO2 and on cigarettes. He knows what plays with the electorate and what doesn’t.

  5. I am Spartacus says:

    All valid comments and observations. But until the free range eggs issue was resolved, all the Feds could do was throw money.

  6. Empire says:

    There isn’t one Dot. The feds just supply the funding. No strings attached of course. ACARA was just a spontaneous coincidence of state ingenuity.

    Notably, NSW was most resistive to dumbing down their curriculum to reach a national consensus, so I’m not sure why IAS used them as an example, the superiority of a voucher system notwithstanding.

  7. . says:

    The feds just supply the funding. No strings attached of course. ACARA was just a spontaneous coincidence of state ingenuity.

    Hmm, more abuse of the nationhood power, to be struck down post Pape.

    Notably, NSW was most resistive to dumbing down their curriculum to reach a national consensus, so I’m not sure why IAS used them as an example, the superiority of a voucher system notwithstanding.

    Ironically the only reason that really didn’t happen was because of the empire builders of the NSW Board of Studies, a usually insidious institution.

  8. Aussiepundit says:

    That’s astonishing. Public schooling in NSW costs fifteen thousand dollars per student, every year! Which comes to roughly $300k per child for the total schooling experience.

    The pity of it is that many Australian children hate school and don’t learn much in the 13 years they spend in the system, despite the vast amounts of money spent on each and every one of them.

    If I was given 15k per child, per year, to educate my kids, and a completely free hand to spend it, I’m confident I could provide them a far better education experience than the public schools provide.

  9. Aussiepundit says:

    correction: roughly 200k per child for the total schooling experience. (not 300 as I mistakenly typed)

  10. boy on a bike says:

    And if you look at any departmental publications, they will tell you that they are spending about $10k per pupil per year. Which has always made me wonder – where is the other $5k+ going?

  11. correction: roughly 200k per child for the total schooling experience..

  12. rickw says:

    $15,700

    That pretty much pays for a place at MLC btw.

  13. Jo Smyth says:

    As the education system is now ingrained with left wing ideologists and the purpose of education is not to inform or encourage debate but to indoctrinate, no amount of money will make any difference.

  14. Old School Conservative says:

    The Department receives approximately $12b in funding from the NSW Treasury.

    I wonder – is Federal funding of state schools given to the state to distribute, or does it go directly to the schools? If the latter is the case, then the $ numbers given in this post would be even more horrific.

    Thanks for your research Spartacus. No weasel words from you!

  15. Fred Lenin says:

    They shoulda took notice of joolya giliard ,she woz a grate believer in ejykayshun for the people . Her comrades at the untidy nsyshuns reconize her an are helpin her ejykate kids through th soshalist alliansr

  16. Angus Black says:

    Do the same calculation for the university sector and you would be gobsmacked. Be grateful for the parsimony of the school system.

  17. Des Deskperson says:

    “..can someone please advise how the Commonwealth Government is currently helping. What with them not teaching 1 student or employing 1 teacher.”

    The Department of Education and Training org chart:

    https://docs.education.gov.au/system/files/doc/other/master_copy_-_february_2016_-_organisation_chart_-_department_of_educa.pdf

    may not be helpful in this regard.

    As I’ve bored you with before, I worked there a few years back as a consultant. The value that the agency added in terms of the resources it has – 1669 employees at 30 June 2015 – largely escaped me. As the chart indicates, the place is full of all these divisions, branches and sections beavering away in one form or another on pretty much every aspect of education theory and practice at early, primary, secondary, tertiary and vocational levels but without, as far as I could tell, contributing much at all in the way of coordinated and coherent policies and programmes for the classroom.

    The culture was reactive rather the innovative and, basically , the place was little more than a sheltered workshop where failed schoolteachers could nurse their obsessions.

  18. Snoopy says:

    Rick, MLC would also additionally receive some direct Commonwealth funding?

  19. john malpas says:

    But cultural Marxism is coming along rather well =don’t you think.

  20. Just interested says:

    The feds use ‘tied grants’ to the States, permitted under section 96 of the Constitution, to get around the absence of a constitutional head of power to fiddle with education.

  21. John Constantine says:

    With the looming unfunded full gonski years coming, is cutting and running by the feds a masterstroke?.

    If redfilth gillard made gonski and national curriculum her legacy, are we not behooved to take a long lingering piss all over it?.

    While standing?.

  22. Squirrel says:

    Following on from Mr D’s sage observations at 3.25pm about the Canberra Education Dept. bureaucracy, let’s broaden things a little and look at the similarly eye-popping Health Dept. –

    http://health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/health-struct.htm

  23. MAGB says:

    Peter Costello started the privatisation of pensions – how long will it be before someone just as smart and brave does the same thing with health and education? The only way to fund this stuff properly is through a tightly regulated private system. Otherwise we’ll continue with mediocrity.

  24. Simon/other says:

    Couldn’t the government just provide the basics,R,R,R, and offer the other units as private fee paying electives. All the Fed G. has to do is stop funding everything and the whole system will revert to what it is supposed to do, day care with bells and whistles.

  25. mundi says:

    There are 22 to 30 students per class and 765,000 students. Which means there should only be 25,000 to 30,000 teachers.

    How on earth do they have 60,000 teachers?

    One employee per 8 students is absolutely insane.

  26. Dan says:

    They fund universities directly with federal money, a practice that is blatantly unconstitutional.

  27. Diogenes says:

    How on earth do they have 60,000 teachers?

    Does that number include “casuals” ?

    Some buffer is needed to cover maternity leave, LSL, sick days, part time(job share) etc etc.

    Some classes are considerably less than 22. We have teacher librarians (they have a teaching load but not FT) , careers advisers and counsellor(has to be a specialised teacher), itinerant support teachers (to support the severely visually & hearing impaired). Special Ed units have much lower teacher student ratios – an IM 1:11, BD(behaviour) 1:8, MC(autism) 1:6 . IIRC at late son’s special school (physical impairment) it was 1:6. Then there are special units – In NSW School of the Air, Stewart House School, the various Hospital schools.

    Some do not teach “full loads. Head Teachers have reduced (50%) loads so they can deal with administrivia & discipline problems , Assistant Principals (Primary Schools) have a reduced load for the same reason. Principals & deputies are regarded as teachers as one needs the teaching degree to get promoted, they may or may not have a load..

    There are a small group of (we call them “retired”) teachers in District & Head Offices who consult /advocate , ensure we comply with ASQA requirements for Vet courses etc etc. – The number of tehse is surprisingly small.

    At our place we have a smidge over/under (depending on the day) 1100 kids & 110 staff, 4 are senior exec(boss + 3 deputies), 13 head Teachers, 5 special ed teachers, 14 itinerant/support/tutor/AEO/librarian counsellor etc, 8 SLSOs (aides) , 75 teachers and the rest are clerical support including the guy who looks after the 900 odd bits of computer kit

  28. Yon Toad says:

    Lord Lachrymose of House Weasel will find this very reassuring.

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