Thursday, December 13, 2012

Test Shock: Is Our Education System Failing Students?

Melbourne Grammar School students and building...
Melbourne Grammar School students and building, c.1914 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
by Dr David Zyngier, Senior Lecturer Faculty of Education at Monash University

The results of international literacy, numeracy and science tests released this week should be cause for alarm.

In what the Minister for Education Peter Garrett called “disappointing” results, the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) test showed Australia now ranks 27th out of 48 countries in reading, and the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) showed Australian children’s performance in maths has largely stagnated since 1995.

But who is to be blame? And how can we improve our children’s achievements?

The Victorian Minister for Education Martin Dixon has claimed that Victorian education outcomes have failed to improve despite real expenditure on schooling increasing by 44%. He discounts funding as an issue in the school improvement equation because the investment in education has “matched OECD averages and even exceeded the spending of some top tier systems including Finland and Korea”.

But these statements are not borne out by the facts - there has been no 44% increase and the money that goes to schools is clearly not going where it’s needed. It also highlights just how vital the Gonski funding review’s plan to inject money into the school system really is - and that it can’t come soon enough.

What are the facts? The fundamental pattern of ongoing Australian government funding for schools is that most is provided to non‐government schools (and state and territory governments provide the majority of their funding to government schools).

Additional funding from state governments also goes to support private education. This money comes from all taxpayers, including of course the 1.4 million workers on a minimum wage of $15 an hour who are supporting the likes of Geelong Grammar ($5.2 million in Federal Government funding in 2012 plus about $1 million from the Victorian Government.

Together with fees and other private contributions, this will provide resourcing of over $35,000 a year for senior students). In 2010, it recorded a profit of $10.7 million, the biggest of any private school in Australia. Melbourne Grammar made $8.2 million profit after receiving $4.5 million government funding in 2011. Haileybury College received a massive $13.4 million and Wesley College $8.1 million.

To read further, go to:
Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Post a Comment