Replied to 2019 REPORT CARD for Australia’s national efforts in education (EduResearch Matters)

The data is clear. Australia seems to be coasting. If she invests more effort and resources she could improve her outcomes immeasurably. Compared to many of her cohort she is not paying enough attention to the things that would make a difference – a good public school in every suburb, resources based on real need, and equity among all schools.

Next year Australia needs to try a lot harder to base her policies on evidence that promotes equity. She needs to do this with some urgency or she will keep slipping behind. Australia is very capable of achieving much more, but only if she puts her mind to it and makes equity a priority.

David, so often it feels that we talk about numbers and dollars in isolation. I really liked your point about considering the increase of funding alongside the change in the population.

Australia’s Federal education ministers claim that Australia’s spending on education has never been higher and that expenditure has increased 25% or $10 billion since 2010. This ignores the fact that our student population has dramatically increased requiring spending on new schools, school infrastructures and of course more teachers. $8 billion of the extra funding (or 80 per cent) went to a mix of “everyday” items: rising student numbers, wage increases, and the ongoing costs of increased investments in government school buildings. Student numbers grew by 9 per cent, so the real increase per student was 14 per cent. Educating these extra students cost just under $4 billion, or two-fifths of the overall increase.