Australian educational achievement has been falling since the 1970s. In the latest Trends in International Maths and Science study (TIMS) Australia has fallen from 18th to 28th out of 49 countries in year 4 maths, putting us behind countries like Kazakhstan. The answer to the problem is multi-factorial, encompassing culture as well as curriculum, teaching style, and teacher quality.
One quick way of getting a large improvement would be to empower parents and give them a wider set of choices for where they send their children, while empowering principals to make changes at their schools to attract parents.
Funding schools on a per student basis (with a loading for those students with special needs) would align the interests of students and schools. It would also encourage efficiencies in schools. If they ran at a surplus they would be able to invest in programs that made them even more attractive to students.
This would involve expansion of the previous government’s Independent Public Schools initiative, and removing the union veto over it. It could also lead eventually to privately run state schools.
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