Education policies — what are we thinking?

Those who read this article, published in The Age recently, could be excused for feeling disenchanted with our country’s policy makers. Evidently, copying the failed systems of the US and UK has seen the gap between our best and worst performing students widen.

Meanwhile, Finland, with a lower percentage increase in expenditure over the past 10 years, has its students performing to a far higher standard overall. Unsurprisingly, they also boast a more consistent spread of high performing schools and better qualified teachers.

The question then must be asked — if we are copying countries’ policies, why are we not aiming to emulate those with proven records of success? Have a look at the world education rankings from the OECD (below) and consider where Australia is placed in relation to Finland, the US and the UK. Surely we have to look beyond our old political and economic allies if we are to ‘move forward’.

Moreover, some may ask why we are copying other countries’ policies at all. It seems while the government is happy to hold schools accountable via NAPLAN testing, it assumes no real accountability for the status of our education system itself. Should we not be critiquing our current policies and innovating better systems?

As a parent who is directly involved in the issue, what are your thoughts? What do you see as the path to improvement?


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