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Why ACT Teachers are Striking on Tuesday

By TomGreenwell 26 September 2011 104

On Tuesday morning, ACT teachers will stop work from 8.30 to 11.30am and rally outside the legislative assembly to demand better pay and conditions. While this reflects fierce disagreement between teachers and the Government, the one thing everybody can agree on is that the disruption of normal classes is highly regrettable. Canberrans, especially parents of school-aged children, will no doubt be wanting to know how it has come to this.  

The centrepiece of the teachers’ claim is pay parity with their NSW colleagues. Currently, classroom teachers at the top of the pay scale earn $6000 a year less than their counterparts in NSW while deputy principals earn $15,000 a year less. Relief teachers earn $35 a day less in Canberra than they do across the border. No matter what level a teacher is at in the ACT, they earn significantly less than they would in the equivalent position in NSW.

Poor teacher pay is undermining the quality of education provided to ACT children. Each year, fewer and fewer applicants are seeking to join the teaching profession in Canberra. Schools can’t find relief teachers when staff are absent. There is no counsellor provision at over 20 Canberra schools. Those counsellors that are in the system work across multiple sites and are stretched between a massive number of students. There is 1 counsellor for every 918 students, far in excess of the recommended ratio. As Glenn Fowler from the Australian Education Union (AEU) told ABC Radio recently:  “There’s been an effort to recruit them from all over the world, it has failed… There needs to be an attractive proposition for people to come into that and not go into private practice or other government agencies.”

 The last time a pay agreement was negotiated, back in 2009, it was the height of the Global Financial Crisis. In the circumstances, teachers acted responsibly and settled for less than they would have liked. In return, there was an informal understanding that this restraint would be recognised in the next pay negotiation. Rather than honouring that understanding this time round, the Government offered annual pay increases that would not even have kept up with forecast inflation. In other words: a cut in real wages.

In the face of this intransigence, over 2000 Canberra teachers stopped work for four hours on September 1 to demand real investment in our public education system and the professionals that are its lifeblood. The Government reconsidered its position and on September 9 made a new offer which included pay parity with NSW for classroom teachers. However, under the offer, executive teachers and deputy principals would still lag thousands of dollars behind their NSW counterparts. Nothing serious has been presented to address the chronic shortage of counsellors in our system. Relief teacher pay would still be more than $20 a day less in Canberra than in Queanbeyan.

To fund pay parity with NSW for classroom teachers in 2011, the Government is now demanding teachers accept annual increases of just 2.5% in 2012 and 2013 . These would not keep up with growth in the cost of living and do not equate to increases enjoyed by other public sector workers.

Given that the September 9 offer, though unsatisfactory, was a move in the right direction, teachers cancelled planned rolling stoppages and sought, in good faith, to negotiate a deal with the employer. Additionally, teachers have tried to influence the Government with bans that have a less direct effect on students and their parents, like refusing to use personal cash or vehicles for work purposes. Unfortunately, the Government continues to refuse to commit to the serious investment our schools need and our students deserve.    

As well as falling short in this fundamental respect, the Government is failing to win public support for its position. A majority of respondents in a Canberra Times online poll support the strike action. An even greater majority support the principle of pay parity. As P&C Council president, Jane Tullis, has said: “step up Mr Barr and let’s see you reward teachers for the high standard of service they are providing.”

Tom Greenwell is a Canberra teacher and a member of the Australian Education Union. The views expressed here are his own. 


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Why ACT Teachers are Striking on Tuesday
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TruthTeller99 1:41 pm 05 Oct 11

Jim Jones said :

TruthTeller99 said :

So the entire study some guy linked to only factored in selective schools (which are maybe 2% of schools in Australia, some of which are public, and none of which are in the ACT private or public). That basically invalidates his study then, doesn’t it? Because it can’t measure what it claims to.

Me making a statement in the alternative in response to someone else’s claim? Yeh, great reading there.

Jim Jones 1:28 pm 05 Oct 11

TruthTeller99 said :

So the entire study some guy linked to only factored in selective schools (which are maybe 2% of schools in Australia, some of which are public, and none of which are in the ACT private or public). That basically invalidates his study then, doesn’t it? Because it can’t measure what it claims to.

TruthTeller99 12:40 pm 05 Oct 11

Jim Jones said :

TruthTeller99 said :

The poor formatting alone makes your reply unreadable. It isn’t helped by the substance, or lack thereof. I think you should go back and re-read earlier posts that have been made and make sure you actually understand what is being argued here.

Try this: “Please indicate where in the report it says it only factored in selective schools? You are again being selective in how you read responses.”

It doesn’t, and I never said it did. The guy I was replying to said it could be using selective schools as the way of measuring student “value” independently of their system, something I’d queried. I then replied to him “well if it’s only able to get that info off selective schools, which are a tiny, tiny % of total schools, then it’s not a good study is it, because it fails to measure what it claims it can. Like I said, you’re the ones who need to start reading a little more closely here.

Jim Jones 12:32 pm 05 Oct 11

TruthTeller99 said :

The poor formatting alone makes your reply unreadable. It isn’t helped by the substance, or lack thereof. I think you should go back and re-read earlier posts that have been made and make sure you actually understand what is being argued here.

Try this: “Please indicate where in the report it says it only factored in selective schools? You are again being selective in how you read responses.”

TruthTeller99 12:20 pm 05 Oct 11

The poor formatting alone makes your reply unreadable. It isn’t helped by the substance, or lack thereof. I think you should go back and re-read earlier posts that have been made and make sure you actually understand what is being argued here.

Gerry-Built 11:44 am 05 Oct 11

TruthTeller99 said :

Firstly, that need not be the case. The family may be sending their kids to Daramalan or wherever so they get a Christian upbringing.

TruthTeller99 said :

…and this itself, shows a commitment to their child’s education.

TruthTeller99 said :

parents aren’t the morons your argument assumes,

TruthTeller99 said :

By all means, point out how my argument assumes this. YOU are the one making a whole lot of baseless assumptions, using these to build an argument and failing to provide evidence; even when asked.

TruthTeller99 said :

You know, when I wrote that baking analogy, I was actually thinking “am I going to need to explain it’s an analogy, or will he just get it?” I’m sorry I presumed.

TruthTeller99 said :

I forgive your vague analogy. I also built (constructively) on it, rather than create an analogy of my own (why reinvent the wheel?).

TruthTeller99 said :

You claimed teacher’s were being impeded in their roles as a response to my criticism of their performance in class, I asked how, and you gave a list of irrelevant (and vague) stuff like “social support networks” or “the infrastructure of learning”, and when I asked you to explain what you meant by it, you admitted that you were not impeded in your classroom teaching by a lack of resources.

TruthTeller99 said :

Irrelevant and vague? I gave an indication; I built on that when asked. I don’t have all the answers, but I’m sure that in discussion with teachers, many answers could be found. What I didn’t do was to make some bold claim such as your “it HAS to be the teachers fault”. We have a more challenging clientele (on the whole); and there should be support available to teachers to help them perform their tasks, and for students to help them deal with whatever life has thrown at them.

TruthTeller99 said :

Kids who need psychiatrists are a fraction of a fraction of the students in public schools,

TruthTeller99 said :

Whilst there may not be many, a “fraction of a fraction” greatly underestimates the number. But firstly, there are more of them in public schools and secondly, behaviour problems are not limited to kids who need professional, psychological help.

TruthTeller99 said :

Well, you can’t give your product away, so I’d say there has to be a cause for that.

TruthTeller99 said :

Which, without any basis whatsoever, you immediately claim is the responsibility of the teachers in the system; whilst completely dismissing my argument about the clientele. Arrogant – in the extreme. The private sector has superior performance because of the students it attracts (and retains). In the public school I each in, we have a small handful kids who were asked to leave private schools; a luxury we don’t get. The quality of teachers in the public system would be every bit the match for that of teachers in the private system.

TruthTeller99 said :

So the entire study some guy linked to only factored in selective schools (which are maybe 2% of schools in Australia, some of which are public, and none of which are in the ACT private or public). That basically invalidates his study then, doesn’t it? Because it can’t measure what it claims to.

Please indicate where in the report it says it only factored in selective schools? You are again being selective in how you read responses.

TruthTeller99 9:09 am 05 Oct 11

Gerry-Built said :

Of course they look bad when compared to private schools; public schools have to take all-comers (which is as it should be, not me complaining). Anyone who goes to a private school already has a family that has shown a commitment to education – they come from a family who values education, and generally perceives that they will get a superior education in the private sector. Public schools will always have a substantial tail-end in NAPLAN results, and any other form of standardised assessment as a result.

Firstly, that need not be the case. The family may be sending their kids to Daramalan or wherever so they get a Christian upbringing. But leaving that aside, parents aren’t the morons your argument assumes, they can make intelligent educational decisions just like they do intelligent decisions in other areas of the marketplace. They can understand that a selective or private school might score higher, heck they might not even want an academic school for their child, who is interested in technical skills, and has an aptitude for them. They will weigh up the cost of public schools (nothing) and decide whether what they give away for free outweighs some test score advantage that a private school may or may not have (Bundah scores high, so it’s possible for the public school to do well, and we should be adopting policies like this that increase the incentives for them to do well).

Using your baking analogy; this is akin to supplying a baker with some sub-standard ingredients; but being disappointed at the resulting product because it isn’t as good as the product made by the baker up the road, who picks all his ingredients. It is simply unfair to say the first baker does lousy work compared to the second. It is an unfair advantage. You cannot compare the public system to the private system in this way.

You know, when I wrote that baking analogy, I was actually thinking “am I going to need to explain it’s an analogy, or will he just get it?” I’m sorry I presumed. Of course in the school analogy the baker is being given the ingredients by the parents, and the parents know the quality of the ingredients better than he does, so they can make a judgement from watching how he uses them, etc, to decide if his performance is a satisfactory use of those raw materials. People aren’t morons you know, they don’t leave their Honda in the carshop, and come back in a week and ask why it isn’t a Ferrari. When parents only spend $1 on a packet of coles biscuits, they’re likely not going to expect them to be as good as a $5 packet of deluxe biscuits. As usual, the AEU explanation requires everyone is stupid, except the AEU.

You have made a series of assertions about the public system using a very flawed set of assumptions in your “logical causation”. Yet anytime I have commented on your individual assertions, you’ve told me it is simply white noise and not related to the argument.

You claimed teacher’s were being impeded in their roles as a response to my criticism of their performance in class, I asked how, and you gave a list of irrelevant (and vague) stuff like “social support networks” or “the infrastructure of learning”, and when I asked you to explain what you meant by it, you admitted that you were not impeded in your classroom teaching by a lack of resources. Kids who need psychiatrists are a fraction of a fraction of the students in public schools, and frankly I doubt the “social networks” in place to deal with that are much better (if at all) in most private schools. What do Daramalan and Eddies have? One 3rd rate school counselor (which most public schools have anyway) and a priest? I doubt kids with serious psychological issues will be much better off in either situation.

To insist that the results in public education are the fault of the teachers in it is simply a slap in the face to those teachers, who, almost without exception, perform a very good job of educating the children in their care. And in no way do I say this to the detriment on my colleagues in the private sector, whom I personally believe do a job on par, with a slightly different set of challenges.

Well, you can’t give your product away, so I’d say there has to be a cause for that. I’d suggest the less arrogant and illogical claim would be that teacher’s in the public sector are just like most other employees, and their behavior when you remove competition is too. Imagine if we told garbage men or bus drivers or plumbers “no matter how badly you do your job, we’ll make sure you always have customers. Your boss can’t fire you, and the longer you stay the more we’ll pay you”. Do you think on average they would work harder, or be more apathetic? I think the answer is pretty obvious.

No – not a distraction; exactly my point. You asked how “they know who were the most successful students before they picked their schools?” – and I was suggesting they were talking about selective public schools (of which, there are none in Canberra – though Lyneham and Telopea probably come closest in terms of student representation).

So the entire study some guy linked to only factored in selective schools (which are maybe 2% of schools in Australia, some of which are public, and none of which are in the ACT private or public). That basically invalidates his study then, doesn’t it? Because it can’t measure what it claims to.

Jim Jones 9:06 am 05 Oct 11

Gerry-Built said :

But apparently you are able to make generalisations and assumptions about the success of the ACT public system and the teachers in it without empirical proof (then expect everyone to accept them), and use these to support your assertions.

+1

Seems to be a common thread in the posts. Where evidence to the contrary exists, it’s ‘not relevant’ or ‘lefty propaganda’ or ‘not the main point’. But no attempt made to present evidence supporting his own argument – (‘why should I bother’) little more than arrogant assumption and dictating to others where the discussion should go.

Gerry-Built 8:23 am 05 Oct 11

TruthTeller99 said :

Of course, the limited standardised tests we have so far like NAPLAN also look bad for public schools.

TruthTeller99 said :

Gerry-Built said :

TruthTeller99 said :

How on earth can they know who were the most successful students before they picked their schools? What data is that being based on? And how can you empirically measure whether the public school system is “doing well” based on this if it were true? What measurements did they use?

But apparently you are able to make generalisations and assumptions about the success of the ACT public system and the teachers in it without empirical proof (then expect everyone to accept them), and use these to support your assertions.

I’d assume the schools with “successful students” would be selective schools, where students had proven track record prior to being invited into/applying for those selective schools.

I’m able to point to logical causation. My proposal doesn’t require parents to use tests or studies to determine a schools worth, they can decide that from interacting with it, and if they don’t like it, they move, and if they do, they stay. That’s called the market, and it works for basically every other profession, including food service provision. Of course, the limited standardised tests we have so far like NAPLAN also look bad for public schools.

The narrative of the AEU only makes sense if everyone is wrong except the AEU; private school teachers, parents, kids, schools.

The study cited here makes no sense because there is no logical or statistical way to determine if a student who, say, goes to the public system all their life, and is deemed to be a lesser calibre of student. How on earth can you separate whether they actually were a lesser calibre of student, from whether the public system failed them? I don’t mind if the study doesn’t rely on statistics, logic is good too, I just don’t see any possible way you could conclude such a thing. It’s akin to me collecting a stack of ingredients and mixing them together in unknown proportions, producing a tasteless cake. How can I prove the fault was in the ingredients and not my skill, if there’s no evidence to support it? Of course, if customers watched this baker in action, got a feel for his work, and had seen his previous efforts and were satisfied with them, they’d be sensible enough to understand that he was restrained by his materials sometimes, and they can choose to shop there or not.

Also, many selective schools are public, and many private schools are not selective (there are no selective schools in the ACT at all!), so this is another distraction point.

Of course they look bad when compared to private schools; public schools have to take all-comers (which is as it should be, not me complaining). Anyone who goes to a private school already has a family that has shown a commitment to education – they come from a family who values education, and generally perceives that they will get a superior education in the private sector. Public schools will always have a substantial tail-end in NAPLAN results, and any other form of standardised assessment as a result.

Using your baking analogy; this is akin to supplying a baker with some sub-standard ingredients; but being disappointed at the resulting product because it isn’t as good as the product made by the baker up the road, who picks all his ingredients. It is simply unfair to say the first baker does lousy work compared to the second. It is an unfair advantage. You cannot compare the public system to the private system in this way.

You have made a series of assertions about the public system using a very flawed set of assumptions in your “logical causation”. Yet anytime I have commented on your individual assertions, you’ve told me it is simply white noise and not related to the argument.

To insist that the results in public education are the fault of the teachers in it is simply a slap in the face to those teachers, who, almost without exception, perform a very good job of educating the children in their care. And in no way do I say this to the detriment on my colleagues in the private sector, whom I personally believe do a job on par, with a slightly different set of challenges.

TruthTeller99 said :

Also, many selective schools are public, and many private schools are not selective (there are no selective schools in the ACT at all!), so this is another distraction point.

No – not a distraction; exactly my point. You asked how “they know who were the most successful students before they picked their schools?” – and I was suggesting they were talking about selective public schools (of which, there are none in Canberra – though Lyneham and Telopea probably come closest in terms of student representation).

TruthTeller99 11:48 pm 04 Oct 11

Gerry-Built said :

TruthTeller99 said :

How on earth can they know who were the most successful students before they picked their schools? What data is that being based on? And how can you empirically measure whether the public school system is “doing well” based on this if it were true? What measurements did they use?

But apparently you are able to make generalisations and assumptions about the success of the ACT public system and the teachers in it without empirical proof (then expect everyone to accept them), and use these to support your assertions.

I’d assume the schools with “successful students” would be selective schools, where students had proven track record prior to being invited into/applying for those selective schools.

I’m able to point to logical causation. My proposal doesn’t require parents to use tests or studies to determine a schools worth, they can decide that from interacting with it, and if they don’t like it, they move, and if they do, they stay. That’s called the market, and it works for basically every other profession, including food service provision. Of course, the limited standardised tests we have so far like NAPLAN also look bad for public schools.

The narrative of the AEU only makes sense if everyone is wrong except the AEU; private school teachers, parents, kids, schools.

The study cited here makes no sense because there is no logical or statistical way to determine if a student who, say, goes to the public system all their life, and is deemed to be a lesser calibre of student. How on earth can you separate whether they actually were a lesser calibre of student, from whether the public system failed them? I don’t mind if the study doesn’t rely on statistics, logic is good too, I just don’t see any possible way you could conclude such a thing. It’s akin to me collecting a stack of ingredients and mixing them together in unknown proportions, producing a tasteless cake. How can I prove the fault was in the ingredients and not my skill, if there’s no evidence to support it? Of course, if customers watched this baker in action, got a feel for his work, and had seen his previous efforts and were satisfied with them, they’d be sensible enough to understand that he was restrained by his materials sometimes, and they can choose to shop there or not.

Also, many selective schools are public, and many private schools are not selective (there are no selective schools in the ACT at all!), so this is another distraction point.

Gerry-Built 11:32 pm 04 Oct 11

TruthTeller99 said :

How on earth can they know who were the most successful students before they picked their schools? What data is that being based on? And how can you empirically measure whether the public school system is “doing well” based on this if it were true? What measurements did they use?

But apparently you are able to make generalisations and assumptions about the success of the ACT public system and the teachers in it without empirical proof (then expect everyone to accept them), and use these to support your assertions.

I’d assume the schools with “successful students” would be selective schools, where students had proven track record prior to being invited into/applying for those selective schools.

TruthTeller99 10:53 pm 04 Oct 11

I’ve just browsed through the report, and I think the most worrying thing in it (as well as the only statement which I can see which supports your argument) is the following one:

“The high performing schools tend to be those that attract the most successful students. In other words, school ‘quality’ is probably better expressed as ‘student quality at that school’. Once we take account of the student quality and the other resources of the school, government schools do as well or better than private schools.”

How on earth can they know who were the most successful students before they picked their schools? What data is that being based on? And how can you empirically measure whether the public school system is “doing well” based on this if it were true? What measurements did they use?

TruthTeller99 10:42 pm 04 Oct 11

blimkybill said :

TruthTeller99 said :

Well, I guess if you ignored everything that’s been said to this point in the discussion, you could come to that conclusion.

Do you think it’s a good idea to take a report like that at face value? Maybe you should just ask McDonalds if their own internal studies confirmed McDonalds was unhealthy for you…

It’s not an internal report, it’s not written by teachers. It was written by a consortium comprising a university and some research and management consulting firms. I’d prefer to get information from a report like this because it details all its source data, than from, say, a newspaper clipping. Thought you might actually be interested. Maybe some others are.

DEEWR: “Dear Consortium we hired, we want to do a study on whether we’re doing our jobs well”
Consortium (led by some botique consultancy firm): “Gotcha”

When your link works I’ll look it over, but if you’re going to cite a study like this, and you want us to pay attention, you might want to explain HOW the study showed these things, and link it back to your argument. Just saying “the study says we’re doing a great job” is not an argument.

TruthTeller99 10:39 pm 04 Oct 11

And for heaven’s sake, what good is a study that doesn’t ask why they have “the students they have” in the first place? Why are people leaving your system, if it’s so great?

blimkybill 10:38 pm 04 Oct 11

TruthTeller99 said :

Well, I guess if you ignored everything that’s been said to this point in the discussion, you could come to that conclusion.

Do you think it’s a good idea to take a report like that at face value? Maybe you should just ask McDonalds if their own internal studies confirmed McDonalds was unhealthy for you…

It’s not an internal report, it’s not written by teachers. It was written by a consortium comprising a university and some research and management consulting firms. I’d prefer to get information from a report like this because it details all its source data, than from, say, a newspaper clipping. Thought you might actually be interested. Maybe some others are.

TruthTeller99 10:20 pm 04 Oct 11

Well, I guess if you ignored everything that’s been said to this point in the discussion, you could come to that conclusion.

Do you think it’s a good idea to take a report like that at face value? Maybe you should just ask McDonalds if their own internal studies confirmed McDonalds was unhealthy for you…

blimkybill 10:14 pm 04 Oct 11

Ah well I’ve had enough of arguing, but I’ve just been reading a totally fascinating report on the state of school education in Australia. At 80 pages plus appendices it’s a long read but I’ve learned lots. And have been reassured that government schools are doing as well as private schools given the students they have..

http://www.deewr.gov.au/Schooling/ReviewofFunding/Documents/Nous-SchoolingChallengesandOpportunities.pdf

And towards its end, it does lead me back to our original point – why are teachers striking for more pay? – a strong and internationally competitive education sector requires teaching to be an attractive, high status profession in order to attract and retain good teachers. As a teacher yes I love my profession but I do expect to be properly reimbursed and am disappointed that I have to take industrial action in order to try and get that.

TruthTeller99 9:39 pm 04 Oct 11

We’re getting away from the central point here, you’ve posted a long refutation about a study of a handful of people that is a ridiculous test of your claim, one which you’ve misunderstood as well.

I was the guy who said “make an argument, and I’ll waste my time digging up stats for you”, and so far all you’ve done is misquote and misunderstand a nearly irrelevant ABS study. If you wanted me to burn even more time here explaining these things to you, you’ll have to make me think it’s necessary first, because so far nobody else has disputed it, and the one guy who has (you) has not answered the central questions here (like “if public schooling has improved as you claim, why is everyone leaving it?”). I tend not to take the guy whose opening response is “LMAO” seriously.

whitelaughter 9:05 pm 04 Oct 11

blimkybill said :

“But frankly, I’m more interested in how the ACT is the worst public system at retaining students/customers, since how people vote with their feet is the most crucial test in a market economy (now over 50% of students in the ACT go private). When you can’t give your product away, something is wrong.”

My opinion, after living and working in three states and sending my children to governemt schools in three states, is that ACT public schools are the best in Australia. I think a greater proportion of parents here choose private schools simply because they can afford to and they believe a private school will give their child a competitive advantage in a competitive world.

So – the only reason for more students in public schools elsewhere is that the parents can’t afford private schools?
That’s very believable. And an indication that it’s time to consider scapping the entire concept of public schools. Why not just help parents pay the fees for private education, if that’s what people actually want?

blimkybill 8:54 pm 04 Oct 11

TruthTeller99 said :

And just so we’re clear, I’m not suggesting the literature section of the test contained questions about how to program source code, but if the components are measuring the ability of elderly people to be familiar with the Zeitgeist and slang of the modern day, alot of the time they’re obviously going to be lost, technology is evolving at a fast pace… but I don’t think the “minimum required for individuals to meet the complex demands of everyday life and work in the emerging knowledge-based economy” is a useful benchmark for measuring skills like math and literacy. A 60 year old may have no idea how to use a computer, or even understand what you’re talking about when you bring up the internet, but I don’t doubt the average grammar, literacy, arithmetic, etc, of people from that generation is higher than it is currently in the public school system, because there is currently a crisis in the public education system… standards are lower than they have ever been.

still waiting to see any kind of evidence of declining literacy standards at all… please guide me in the direction of some and I will read it myself.

To address your criticisms:

“1) As I was saying in my previous post, “illiteracy” (the inability to read at a certain standardised level) has almost nothing to do with school quality, it has to do with school access. The illiteracy rate can be much lower, but the quality of education much worse, because literacy (or lack of it) only measures the absolute bare minimum skill. It says nothing about the level of the 99%+ of people who are not illiterate, or what level they are at. Obviously there is more illiteracy among old people, because many of them didn’t have access to the education system, whereas today education is more or less compulsory.”

– This report is not talking about which percentage of people have no literacy at all. It scored all the people tested on a range of measures and for each measure gave them a level of 1-5. It is not at all talking about a tiny 1% percent minority, as I said overall in Australia 47% of all people could not read prose to Level 3. The content of the prose test is described as “Prose literacy: the ability to understand and use information from various kinds of narrative texts, including texts from newspapers, magazines and brochures. ” Nothing to do with computer literacy at all. I claim that the literacy measured in these tests is indeed a reflection of the level of literacy learned at school (and in other places of learing such as uni or the workplace). The 47% who did not score well did not get that result due to not going to school at all. There is no evidence that that the quality of literacy learned at school is lower now than 30-50 yearsa ago, the evidence clearly points to the contrary.

And yes there ws a small drop in the percentage scoring 4/5 between 1996 and 2006, but also a larger drop in the percentage scoring at only Level 1. No overall decline at all, just a small redistribution towards the middle but the average is probably similar or slightly higher in 2006.

“More dishonesty here, since you either didn’t read or ignored the section which says “Literacy levels tended to decrease with age, with higher proportions of people in the older age groups attaining skill scores lower than Level 3. The exception to this was the 15 to 19 years age group, which had lower levels of literacy than the 20 to 24 year age group”. So in fact, the more recent school graduates and school students in 2006 are scoring the worst. “

Most 15-19 year olds are not actually school graduates but are in fact still at school or in some form of higher education. Ie they are still learning. this is enogh reason to explain why 20-24 year olds score higher than 15-19 year olds. And 15-19 year olds did not score “the worst”, they only scored lower than 20-24 year olds, not lower than any other age group.

I could go on but I suspect you aren’t actually interested in the truth or in reading any evidence fairly. I am confident in my ability to read and interpet data like this correctly but there isn’t much point explaining it to you as you don’t want to see what is there. However, as I’ve said, I’d like to see any actual data (not mere opinion) showing evidence of declining standards in the population or declining test scores over the past 30-50 years.

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