Home News Student outcomes going backwards despite record school funding – report

Student outcomes going backwards despite record school funding – report


Student outcomes going backwards despite record school funding - 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 despite a 43% increase in Federal and State Governments spending on schools between 2012-2022, key OECD PISA results declined by 3% over the same period.

In this period, Federal Government funding increased by 75%, while State Government spending increased by 32%. The IPA’s research found that In dollar terms, adjusted for inflation, total State and Federal Government spending on Australia’s schools increased from $55bn in 2012 to $79bn in 2022.

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 in 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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