NSW Government addresses state's collapsing literacy and numeracy - Education Matters Magazine
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NSW Government addresses state’s collapsing literacy and numeracy

Literacy and numeracy, Schooling Resource Standard

New South Wales’s alarming deterioration in literacy and numeracy standards will worsen unless the state government matches the Opposition’s commitment to reach 100 per cent of the schooling resource standard (SRS), according to the McKell Institute.

The NSW Opposition on 30 January committed to reaching the SRS funding benchmark if elected in this year’s poll on 25 March, after the McKell Institute found that NSW had experienced the largest decline in education standards of any state and territory in Australia. This includes the largest decline in mean reading literacy of any state and territory in Australia since 2000 and the largest decline in mathematics scores since 2012.

In research released last year, the McKell Institute found that the average NSW public school student is currently underfunded by $1,550 to $1,629 every year.

“I congratulate the NSW Opposition for recognising what has to be done to arrest the state’s alarming slide into global mediocracy on literacy and numeracy,” said McKell Institute executive director Mr Michael Buckland.

“Our latest research found there are a range of effective measures that could address the problem, but they all cost money. The convenient fiction that somehow, we could fix the problem without investing more has to end.”

Mr Buckland said the economy relied on skills and knowledge, but without this he said the state was doomed to falling prosperity and declining living standards.

“I note NSW Labor has promised a permanent literacy and numeracy tutoring program to lift falling standards, a measure that was recommended by our report due to a strong record of success overseas,” he said.

“But tutors obviously cost money, and that’s where increasing funding to 100 per cent of the SRS is vital. The NSW Government has unfortunately overseen the state’s decline in literacy and numeracy against other jurisdictions in our region and around the world. Fully funding our schools should not be a partisan issue and we urge the Government to match Labor’s commitment.”

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