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.