Friday, 9 January 2009

Wow - how to really hoodwink us with numbers!

I suspect I will be raving about the Department of Education and their campaign of "lies, lies and statistics" for some time to come. It just gets better and better.

In my last post, I had a brief look at country schools that are experiencing rapid enrolment growth. On of them was Boggabilla. I was suspicious as to how a town with a population of 1,181 could show enrolment growth of over 60%.

So I went to the ABS website and brought up the census stats for the town.

It's 51.3% Aboriginal.

We all know about the scandalous state of Aboriginal welfare and all that. One of the biggest reasons why Aboriginal kids are falling behind is that they are not attending school on a regular basis, if at all. There has been a big push since the Intervention started to round up all the Aboriginal kids and get them into school.

I bet if you rang the school and asked, "Have you achieved a major increase in Aborginal enrolments this year?", they'd reply, "Yes, we are hitting our targets, and we had a big program in place to get everyone enrolled this year".

If you go to the ABS website and do a search on a locality with a term like "bogabilla indigenous", you'll get a wealth of stats.

From the 2006 census, I found that there were 104 indigenous kids in Bogabilla between the ages of 5 and 14. There were 39 non-indigenous kids (who would be in the minority at school in a place like that?)

Of the 104 indigenous kids, only 79 were at school. Of the non-indigenous, 36 out of 39 were at school.

Now I thought that if you were 14 years old, you had to go to school. Maybe I have missed an announcement by the government excusing certain kids, but I thought that was the law.

If we trust the census, that means in 2006, a total of 115 kids were at school, out of a potential 143. The census does not give us useful stats for high school kids, as the next age group is 15-24.

The Intervention was supposed to get all these Aboriginal kids into school, so let's assume they
all got signed up this year. That would raise enrolments from 115 to 143 - a 24% increase.

Given that Aboriginal enrolment absolutely plummets after year 10 (from what I can glean from the stats), if they managed to keep more Aboriginal kids on after year 10, you could easily get 40% or 60% growth in enrolments.

I would point out though that there is a huge difference between enrolling someone in school and actually getting them to attend.

But we're talking about very low numbers here, a school with a hundred kids or so. The movement of a few families from one town to another, or a change in participation rates, can have a big impact percentage-wise.

Like I said, this is not a harbinger of the death of the private school system.

The worst part is that our tax dollars are being used to feed us this crap.

1 comment:

Margo's Maid said...

Excellent piece of deduction BOAB. Another issue here, I think, is to what degree the population explosion has to do with the baby bonus and other forms of welfare. You are right to wonder about social disadvantage in Boggabilla: