Monday 10 January 2011

A good education interview

Listened to a good Counterpoint podcast today - you can read the entire transcript here, or listen to the podcast. Driving is my favourite time to listening to stuff like this - only problem is that I can't take notes or blog about it on the road!

A couple of key points stood out.

First is that Australia's education standing is pretty good by world standards. There are a few exceptional countries out in front (like Finland), but we are not far behind. We're not a basket case like the UK. Although we like to moan and complain about it, and Gillard feels the need to inflict a national curriculum and other crap on us, things are not that bad.

Second, real expenditure on education went up 41% between 1995 and 2006. I've blogged before about where that money is going - or not going - in NSW. A great deal of the money went into reducing class sizes, but to date, educational outcomes have not improved.

Third, we'd be at the top of the international league tables if we could improve "teacher effectiveness" by 10%. I have no idea what "teacher effectiveness" is, or how you measure it, or how you improve it by 10%. I guess if the experts knew what it was and how to improve it, we'd be at the top of the league tables.

Fourth, a top teacher can teach a year's worth of curriculum in six months, whilst a pretty ordinary teacher takes the entire year. I've experienced a top teacher like that - in years 11 and 12, he not only taught us the high school Economics course - he also taught us the first year Uni Economics course. That allowed me to booze my way through my first year of Uni, which gave me a lot of bad habits that I never managed to shake for the following years. Still, that wasn't his fault.

Anyway, have a listen. You might learn something.

No comments: