September 13, 2012

Staggeringly bad reporting

The politicians are not getting it, the public is not getting it, and our journalists are sure as shit not getting it.

Fairfax newspaper, The Age, reports that Australian tax payers contribute a staggering amount of money to private schools, an amount not matched by other countries.

That's an interesting matter, of course, but the report then examines, and provides a graphic, to illustrate how Australian teacher salaries and classroom hours compare with a select number of countries.  Guess what?  The article mentions the top five best performing countries for educating our future generations, but the salary / teaching graphs don't include any of the top five.  A small reminder:  our PM, Julia Gillard, is promising to throw another $6.5B each year at our schools (but not for another couple of years, with full implementation to come to fruition in 13 years time) with the aspiration that Australian results in basic skills moves into the top five.  (In this millenium, we assume, despite Gillard's on the never-never timeframe.)

Why, I must ask, is Fairfax presenting irrelevant data?  Why, instead, are they not questioning the 258 per cent increase in educational funding between 1964 and 2003, with no improvement in literacy or numeracy in that time, which represents a 73 per cent decline in productivity - despite higher wages for teachers, despite smaller class sizes.

So, yes, let's throw more money at it, more and more and more, for ever-decreasing returns.

Her ''legislated goal'' is for Australian students to be ranked in the top five countries in maths, reading and science by 2025, positions currently occupied by Finland, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea.

School Education Minister Peter Garrett said Australia was performing only slightly above the average in areas such as student-teacher ratios and secondary school completion rates. ''Although we are doing well in some areas, we still have a lot of work to do to reach our goal.''

The OECD report found 68.6 per cent of public expenditure on schooling in Australia in 2009 went to the state system, compared with 99.2 per cent in the US, 88.1 per cent in Finland and 85.2 per cent in Korea. The average was 85.8 per cent.
Or maybe, instead of irrelevant commentary and irrelevant data, The Age could have mulled over why an education revolution, in progress for five years so far, isn't going to take another 13 years.  

Revolutions are supposed to move a little quicker, aren't they? 

Our big spend on private schools

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