Report on Australian education

A rather silly report that sets out impossible ideals. One might have hoped for something more realistic but what we got was an ivory tower fantasy.

It ignores a couple of elephants in the room: The fact that the large black population pulls down standards in the USA and UK and that China will always be ahead of Australia because of their higher average IQs -- particularly when it comes to mathematical ability

No wonder even an ALP government is kicking it into the long grass. Below is the klutz behind the report

A DETAILED report today will condemn education funding as illogical and inconsistent but the Government will only offer lots of consultation in its immediate response.

The report by David Gonski will sound the alarm on Australian school performances and urge that education become more competitive internationally.

"Australian schools need to lift the performance of students at all levels of achievement, particularly the lower performers," the report, started 18 months ago, will say.

"Australia must also improve its international standing by arresting the decline that has been witnessed over the past decade."

Mr Gonski is expected to condemn the current funding system by pointing to an absence of a "logical, consistent and publicly transparent approach to funding schools".

"Every child should have access to the best possible education, regardless of where they live, the income of their family or the school they attend," the report will say.

The Gonski review comes with a forecast that jobs for skilled workers will grow at 2.5 times the demand for unskilled labour, underlining the need for students to complete a high level of schooling if they want to be employed.

Official figures will show that while we are ahead of standards in Britain and the United States, our international rating in key education areas has been dropping when compared to our closer neighbours, particularly China.

Over the decade Australia has gone from equal 2nd to equal 7th in reading; the average 15-year-old Australian maths student is two years behind his Shanghai counterpart.

Four of the finest top school systems in the world are nearby – in Hong Kong, Korea, Shanghai and Singapore. The report will say we have to match them.

Meanwhile, there are inequalities within the Australian education system, with the literacy gap between disadvantaged pupils and those from higher income homes growing to the equivalent of three years of schooling.

Some 89 per cent of Year 3 students from disadvantaged backgrounds are below average in reading, compared to 13 per cent of advantaged pupils.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Schools Minister Peter Garrett have vowed there will be no hit-list of wealthy private schools, a policy which helped destroy Mark Latham's attempt to win government for Labor in 2004.

The Government also has pledged no school will lose a dollar in funding per student and that indexation will be included in any new funding scheme.

The Prime Minister and Mr Garrett plan a wide ranging national consultation on the report's findings, a move which could push out any new funding commitments past the May Budget.

The Government will be limited in the fresh funding round, to start next year, by its determination to get a Budget surplus in 2012-13.

Ms Gillard and her minister will "kick start a a grass roots, nation-wide discussion" with visits to schools and discussions with teachers and parents.

"We will discuss the proposals outlined in the report with the community and talk about what we think our education system needs to drive better and better outcomes for every child in every school," said Ms Gillard in a statement.

Mr Garrett said the inquiry, the first into the fundamentals of the education system for 40 years, was vital because "our future prospects as a country literally depend on having a highly-skilled, well-educated workforce".


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