Mar 4, 2008

Richard Farmer’s political bite-sized meaty chunks

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Give ’em a serve Julia. If there is one area of administration where state governments have clearly been in charge for over a century it is primary and secondary education, so it would have been quite appropriate for Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard, wearing her Education Minister’s hat, to play just a little of the blame game with her State Labor colleagues about the latest official figures showing that school retention rates dropped in 2007 for the second year in a row. Back in 2005 the apparent Australia-wide retention rate calculated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics of students moving from years 7/8 to year 12 peaked at 75.3%. Since then it has fallen to 74.7% in 2006 and 74.3% in 2007. Ms Gillard could have given some of her well practised scorn to the NSW Labor Government whose education system, on this measure of the retention rate, is the worst of all the major states – just 69.7% compared to the ACT’s 85.2%%, Victoria’s 80.1%, Queensland’s 78.5% and South Australia’s 72.7%. When NSW can just beat the pauper State of Tasmania with its retention rate of 65.4% it has absolutely nothing to be proud of. The only good news about the Northern Territory figure of an appallingly low 61.7% is that the apparent retention rate for Indigenous students has increased Australia-wide from 36.4% back in the year 2000 to 42.9% in 2007. One puzzling aspect of the falling retention rate is that it has occurred while the ratio of students to teachers in the nation’s secondary schools has also fallen.

Students to Teachers Retention Rate %
2005 16.2 75.3
2006 16.0 74.7
2007 15.9 74.3

Does reducing class sizes really help? Perhaps that is something Ms Gillard should ask her State Labor Ministers as she sets about meeting the pledge of the Rudd Labor Government’s Education Revolution to lift retention rates to 85% by 2015 and to 90% by 2020.

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2 thoughts on “Richard Farmer’s political bite-sized meaty chunks

  1. Arthur Hanlon

    I wonder what retention rates are in Western Australia? Mr Farmer clearly does not see them as important.

  2. Neil Rolley

    Australia has lived on the Menzies commonwealth scholarsips for the last 68 years;,These graduates brought us to todays wealth:
    Someone should TALK toJGillard to reintroduce them at the successful conclusion of 1st Yr varsity exam,ie no hex costs

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