Flat White

Australian schools need a tough love reboot

20 July 2021

4:00 AM

20 July 2021

4:00 AM

Pupils, we can do this the easy way, or the hard way. You choose. 

If Australia can’t improve our international K-12 educational standings within 18 months we must extend the school week from five to six days. These changes will be reversed when our students sustain higher grades for two years. Let’s reboot our education systems to increase our global ranking, measured against PISA and other global benchmarks. It’s time for Australia to drastically rethink how we deliver learning through our government-funded schools. Australian educators’ obsession with identity politics comes at the expense of sinking scholastic success and has seen our education performance wither, in spite of indexed annual budget increases. 

How is that even possible? Australian education isn’t advancing, it’s failing. The numbers don’t lie.  

Australia needs a national education restart to raise our global standings. We must place the onus of responsibility back on the shoulders of students and parents. Let’s foster a sense of national ownership and quickly and efficiently lift our global performance rankings. Australia’s syllabi must encourage creative, original ideas that enshrine our basic values system. More importantly, we must push a school curriculum that’s built to deliver marketable skills to every student. Increasing our education spending is akin to rewarding decades of institutional failure and is completely out of the question. As budgets tighten in the business world, companies have no other choice but to make do with what they have. This must be the new education mantra: do more, with less. Taxpayers will approve heartily. 

Educational standards differ between each state while gender politics gains more prominence and foments greater community division. In the classroom, teachers must comply with inane administrative and data-collection dictates and deal with falling discipline.

Of course, change is difficult and it’s possible that incensed educators may object to this policy initiative. However, the teaching profession has failed to stem the decline in rankings for more than two decades. Why do we foolishly permit schools to serve as babysitters or social workers and why are some of our kids still going to school just to eat their lunch? Since when did teachers sign on to solve problems like that?   

With sacrifice, comes reward. In this brave new scholastic world, achievements will receive much greater recognition. High-achievers and those with niche skills or unique talents may be encouraged financially. Classroom productivity and discipline must thrive with disruptors physically separated and reassigned to a high-intensity, disciplined environment. Misbehaving kids will have their own schools for behaviour modification. Anti-social behaviour is unacceptable in the new system. Recalcitrant pupils must be forced to take responsibility for their actions and be reassigned to alternate programs. This tough love is much needed and long overdue.

Australia has the technology, resources and funds to drive quality education further and higher, but we aren’t seizing the opportunity. The onus of responsibility for school performance must be laid at the feet of families. Let’s empower the parents and students of Australia to make the system better. As a nation, we must focus on delivering skills that the job market demands and must urgently draft legislation to reverse Australian education’s debasement from wokeness, political correctness and journeys into nonsense such as critical race theory. 

If we haven’t reached the tipping point for change by now, when will we?  

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