A bad report card for Tasmanian students is bad news for Education
Minister Paula Wriedt, whose seat is in jeopardy at the 18 March state
election.

A national education report by the Ministerial Council on Education,
Employment, Training and Youth Affairs, based on tests in 2004,
released on Sunday, found Year 7 students in Tasmania have the lowest
writing standards in any state (the Northern Territory had the worst
result) and are below average in all benchmark areas of reading,
writing and numeracy. If that’s not bad enough, students
performed above the national average in only two of the nine measures
in Years 3 and 5, the year groups also tested.

Wriedt – often touted as a future Premier – is one of three Labor
members in her electorate of Franklin. Polls reflect a tight call in
Franklin, held by three Labor members, Wriedt, Premier Paul Lennon, and
Economic Development and Arts Minister Lara Giddings, Liberal deputy
leader Will Hodgman and the Greens’ Nick McKim. Pollsters predict Labor
could lose a seat to the Liberals. Giddings is tagged as the one likely
to go, but Wriedt is suffering a backlash over educational issues and
this damning new report could be enough for parents to dump her.

Peter Fray

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