Education union pounces on report showing we lag behind

© iStockphoto/Chad McDermott

THE need for reforms to the school funding system were now more urgent than ever, after an international report card showed Australia's students were lagging behind other western countries.

That was the message from the Australian Education Union federal president Angelo Gavrielatos on Wednesday.

Mr Gavrielatos pounced on Australia's poor results in two international education reports as more evidence the funding reforms espoused by David Gonski must be delivered.

The two studies showed the performance of Australian school children in mathematics, reading and writing was falling behind most Western countries.

While the science results of Year 8 students had improved since 2007, the maths results of Year 4 and 8 students had not changed, and science results for Year 4 students got worse in the same period.

On the literacy front, the performance of Year 4 students in reading and writing had fallen behind some 21 other major countries.

Mr Gavrielatos said the results made it clear politicians of all stripes needed to embrace school funding reform.

"The Federal Government's bill on school funding reform provides the platform for change," he said.

"State premiers must put politics aside and negotiate a new funding system."

School Education Minister Peter Garrett said the results were a "wake-up call", but that the education system had not been asleep.

"(The results) provide yet more evidence that while we have a good school education system in this country, we need to work together to improve our performance," he said.

"Education authorities can't ignore what these results are telling us. There are performance problems in every state, in every school sector.

"State and territory governments need to sign up to our plan, including paying their fair share of any extra investment - and they certainly shouldn't be slashing funding to schools like we're seeing in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria."

Topics:  australian education union education schooling

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