Closing Australia’s education divide will take a generation, landmark study finds
More pretence that all students have equal potential. The "divide" is the poor achievements of Aboriginal and working class children. In the USA the "gap" is between black and white pupils. And huge efforts and many bright-eyed ideas have been used to close that gap -- to no effect. So it would be optimistic indeed to think that things might be different in Australia
They are not. All sorts of efforts have been made to improve Aboriginal education but just getting Aboriginal children to attend school is a major difficulty. School is just not attractive to them and the parents don't care
And the basic thing underlying the gap is the same in the USA and Australia: the difference in Average IQ. IQ is highly correlated with educational success and both Aborigines and American blacks score abysmally on it. There is simply no way out of that situation
One of the most comprehensive studies of Australia's education system has found postcodes and family backgrounds impact the opportunities available to students from pre-school to adulthood, with one in three disadvantaged students falling through the cracks.
Sergio Macklin, the deputy lead of education policy at Victoria University's Michell Institute, released the report Educational Opportunity in Australia, which calls for immediate extra resources to help disadvantaged, Indigenous and remote students.
"Educational success is strongly linked to the wealth of a young person's family and where they grow up," Mr Macklin said.
"I think Australia's really letting down students from low-income families, Aboriginal students and those in remote areas."
The report critiques progress on last December's Alice Springs Education Council meeting where, in the wake of Australia's poor performance against its international counterparts, education ministers pledged to deliver a system that produced excellence and equity.
Last year's poor results on equality of education have now been exacerbated by remote learning, with some students without internet or stability at home falling weeks behind their peers.
"The children and young people that were being worst served by the education system are probably the ones that are being most affected by it," Mr Macklin said.
"So you'll see employment stress in families dramatically increased student vulnerability."
The report followed the progress of more than 300,000 students from school entry through primary school, into high school and onto early adulthood.
Mr Macklin believes the problem will take a generation to fix.
The report found disadvantaged students were more than twice as likely as their peers to not be in study or work by the age of 24.
The national average of students missing out on either work or study is 15 per cent, but this rises to 32 per cent of students from the lowest SES backgrounds, 38 per cent from very remote areas and 45 per cent among Indigenous young people.
"I think what this report highlights is that we're losing young people's opportunities in adulthood — and that's a real problem for young people," Mr Macklin said.
"But it's also a real problem for Australia. It puts a handbrake on our recovery efforts from the COVID recession."