Home News $716bn spent on schools, but student outcomes going backwards – report

$716bn spent on schools, but student outcomes going backwards – report


$716bn spent on schools, but student outcomes going backwards – report

Record levels of state and federal funding of Australia’s schools has coincided with a long-term decline in educational outcomes, new research has found.

An analysis of school funding by the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) shows that from 2012 to 2022, total State and Federal Government spending on schools ($716bn) increased by 43%, but key OECD PISA results declined by 3% over the same period.

In their research note, titled: ‘More Government spending does not produce better educational outcomes’, the authors pointed out that PISA testing over the last 24 years has shown a steady decline in students’ reading, science, and mathematics standards across every socio-economic quartile, and all three school sectors.

“Australian students are overall now more than a year behind those Australian students who took the test in 2000,” the authors wrote.

Dr Bella d’Abrera, Director of Western Civilisation Program at the Institute of Public Affairs, says a ‘back-to-basics’ approach in Australia’s schools has “never been more urgent”.

“Today, governments at all levels are spending record amounts but results continue to decline. Without serious reform our students will continue to fail,” Dr d’Abrera said.

National Curriculum ‘indoctrinating’ children

The authors of the paper say the National Curriculum lies at the heart of a failure by education policymakers to meet “the most basic goal” of ensuring that students learn the core skills of reading, writing, and mathematics.

The authors of the IPA paper say their research shows that the current version of the National Curriculum is “indoctrinating children with identity politics, radical race theory, and radical green ideology rather than teaching them how to read and write”.

Under the ‘back-to-basics’ plan endorsed by the federal education minister, there will be a new accreditation regime for teaching degrees, making it mandatory for universities to instruct trainee teachers in evidence-based reading, writing, arithmetic, and classroom management practices, based on the proven educational science about what works best to promote student learning.

The authors of the paper say while the ‘back-to-basics’ concept is “a step in the right direction”, it is not clear how or when this will be implemented.

“Policymakers are currently prioritizing funding agreements rather than the causes of declining student outcomes,” they wrote.

“The focus on school funding will fail to improve student outcomes as it fails to address what the critical issues of student teacher training and teaching degrees at universities, and the ideological fixations embedded in the National Curriculum.”

The office of Federal Education Minister Jason Clare has been contacted for comment.


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