Plibersek’s reality check on school standards
SCHOOLING needs to get back to basics and the bar raised for students to get into teaching degrees, federal Opposition education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek will say.
Speaking at the Queensland P&C conference in Brisbane today, Ms Plibersek will give a scathing assessment of the declining standards in reading, writing and math.
Australia has fallen behind Russia, Kazakhstan, and Vietnam in some measures.
In a call to arms, Ms Plibersek will students would need to get higher marks to get into teaching degrees to ensure top quality educators, while adding classrooms should return to a focus on the three Rs.
"We want our kids to be getting the basics because we want them to have a rich learning experience for the rest of their lives," she will said.
"But if they can't read, they can't write, they can't do maths, it's pretty hard to succeed in the more sophisticated subjects we want to offer them as they get older.
"Test results over the last few years show the federal government is failing to reverse alarming declines in reading, writing, and maths."
Australia has fallen behind Kazakhstan, Cyprus and Slovenia in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study in just the past four years, while the Program for International Student Assessment shows the nation is lagging behind the Netherlands, Estonia and Poland in reading.
Ms Plibersek the standards needed for people to get into a teaching degree had been slipping.
"Marks to get into teaching are falling too, and schools are being starved of the support they need. It's a disastrous combination," she said.
In 2005, about half of teaching entrants had an Australian Tertiary Admission Ranks (ATARs) or equivalent of 80 or above, which is the equivalent on an OP 10. By 2016, that had fallen to one in three.
Some school leavers have been accepted into Queensland teaching degrees with ATARs of just 38, which is equivalent to about an OP 24.
Ms Plibersek will call for higher marks to be required to get into teach, and more time for teachers to work with students one-on-one once they get to the class room.
This year's NAPLAN tests showed Queensland has gone backwards in more than half of all NAPLAN categories and scored lower than the national average at every year level and in every subject.