The Educational Achievement Gap in our schools

With the Victorian teachers striking again this week it seems timely to have a look at this infographic below. Although many teachers are doing a great number of fantastic things in our schools there are still a lot of inequities in education.

What the infographic below highlights are some major issues in the schooling systems all over the world not just Australia and there are similarities across the board. We all know that there are many inequities for educational opportunities for all our students in our education system and the infographic below shows a direct correlation between achievement and economic status.

The government sponsored NAPLAN results confirm serious inequalities. For instance they:

  1. reaffirm the significant achievement gap between indigenous and non-indigenous students (see also an article in the Australian Dec 2012) and
  2. show the gap in achievement widening as students progress through their schooling.

The ACT initiative “Save our Schools” site has quite a lot of published documents including one in December that discussed inequities in science and maths.

The statistics and information that form the basis for this infographic are included at the bottom and I have read a few of the sources but I think I will have a look at a few more.

Educators have been aware of inequity in schools, in fact historically there has always been some inequity but the political rhetoric has been increasingly strident and politicians from all sides have declared that we want/need to make the gap smaller. Nothing substantial and long-term seems to be put in place. Despite the Gonski Report, we still seem a long way from any major changes to the current system so how can we help our students overcome social and economic disadvantages that are not of their making? We all see that we need to help foster learning and give opportunities to all our students. Most have bright and enquiring minds in the beginning and we need to help them develop to be the best they can be. This is vital for not just the students but for our society as a whole. I have no answers but I will continue to question and work within my own sphere to try to bridge the gap.

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