Australian teens barely compete with Singapore’s most disadvantaged

Australian teens barely compete with Singapore’s most disadvantaged, by Stefanie Baloch.

The maths, reading and science skills of average Australian students are barely on par with Singapore’s most disadvantaged teenagers and risk undermining Australia’s economic prosperity, warns the man responsible for the gold standard in international tests. …

Andreas Schleicher, the co-­ordinator of the respected Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), arrives in Australia today and is sounding an alarm for the nation to halt its academic free fall.

Importantly, he says “the most significant drop in Australia’s PISA scores occurred among its top performers’’. …

“Australia used to have one of the world’s leading school systems,” Mr Schleicher writes, “but over the last decade learning outcomes have dropped to levels closer to the average of school systems in the industrialised world. …

“Without the right skills, people end up on the margins of ­society, technological progress doesn’t translate into economic growth, Australia will face an uphill struggle to remain ahead in this hyper-connected world, and ultimately, lose the social glue that holds together democratic societies,’’ Mr Schleicher writes in ­The Australian today. …

Mr Schleicher … also points to the belief in the success of every child. “And the fact that students in most East Asian countries consistently believe that achievement is mainly a product of hard work, rather than inherited intelligence as many Australian students say, suggests that education and its social context can make a difference in ­instilling values that foster success in education.’’

But our government bureaucrats who wisely administer our education system are among the most highly paid in the world! And our teachers union is morally progressive! How can this be? (Oh wait, if it’s not on the ABC then it’s not true.)

Top performers are doing badly because the leftist system resolutely believes in the blank slate theory, and refuses to believe that rare talent is rare. In athletics they cannot hide the obvious, but in things that matter to the mediocrities who run the system…

Our system does little for kids who could contribute at higher levels, letting them loaf along by rarely challenging them in courses aimed at the middle students.

hat-tip Stephen Neil