Good money wasted on bad results

 

AS a parent, there is no more important gift than to provide your children with a good education.

It is the springboard to a better and more rewarding life, the elixir of prosperity.

Whether it's through the public or private school systems, parents have no greater responsibility than to offer up world class education standards, so that their kids can make it on the increasingly global employment stage. But what happens when our educators get it wrong?

What happens when the people we entrust to deliver high quality educational standards invariably drop the ball, consistently and repeatedly?

Maybe it's time for Australians to get the red pen out and scribble over the performance reviews of those who set education curriculums.

Something like "must do better'', or the one that infuriates students and parents the most, "easily distracted, needs to focus more''.

It is clear, despite governments throwing absurd amounts of money at Australia's declining educational standards, that we are losing the battle.

The sad fact is Queensland is the biggest loser.

According to the latest NAPLAN results, Queensland has gone backwards in more than half of all categories and scored lower than the national average at every year level and in every subject.

According to the latest NAPLAN results, Queensland has gone backwards in more than half of all categories.
According to the latest NAPLAN results, Queensland has gone backwards in more than half of all categories.

The Sunshine State posted lower raw scores for 2019 in 12 categories out of 20 compared with 2018, while Australia posted lower scores in nine categories out of 20.

There were some bright spots. Queensland's scores for Year 3 writing and grammar; Year 5 writing and numeracy, Year 7 reading, writing and numeracy; and Year 9 writing went up from last year.

But the reality is we are declining as other countries surge ahead.

In June, Education Minister Grace Grace announced a joint review of NAPLAN would be undertaken by the Queensland, New South Wales and Victorian governments.

It followed a damning review in Queensland of NAPLAN results. Everybody loves a good review, as long as it doesn't affect them.

The time for sugar-coating is over. Clearly, there needs to be a comprehensive, significant overhaul of the way kids are taught in Queensland, starting with a clean out of those who set up the curriculum.

They have failed. D minus. In just a few decades, countries of the world will be governed by today's youth.

Their thoughts and actions will be shaped by what they know and have experienced. Providing a good education for a country's youth is one of the best predictors of a nation's future success.

Minister for Education Grace Grace pictured during the Estimate, Parliament House, Brisbane 1st of August 2019. Picture: Josh Woning
Minister for Education Grace Grace pictured during the Estimate, Parliament House, Brisbane 1st of August 2019. Picture: Josh Woning

On this score, Australia is in strife.

Here's my tip. Send a team of a dozen of Queensland's best and brightest principals and teachers to Finland. We should be unashamedly mimicking their system.

Finland routinely tops rankings of global education systems and is famous for having no banding protocols - all pupils, regardless of ability, are taught in the same classes.

As a result, the gap between the weakest and the strongest pupils is the smallest in the world. Finnish schools also give relatively little homework and have only one mandatory test, at age 16. It works. Let's go down that path. Borrow from world's best practice. Unashamedly.

At the moment, all we are doing is spending billions of dollars on academic frameworks that don't work. It's time we finally learned from our mistakes.