AFR: “Parents and policy makers want the best for children – but that may differ”

Ben Jensen's Australian Financial Review opinion piece.

September 06, 2016 | Ben Jensen

We all want better school education. Parents and families want the best for their children and the policymakers who run our school systems want this as well. This alignment is great, but if you scratch a little bit deeper you will see that the way a policy maker approaches reform to school systems often exacerbates the concerns of parents. This is a big part of the politics of education reform and it shows why reform is often so slow.

There is a fundamental difference in how policy makers and parents think about the main outcome of school education: children’s learning. Most of the main indicators of student learning in Australia are not pointing in the right direction. Our students are falling behind students in other countries and our national tests show that we have failed to significantly improve performance in most key learning areas. This has a huge impact on Australia’s future wellbeing and so is front and centre in the minds of policy makers. Virtually all of us agree it should be front and centre, but when families are thinking about their child, academic performance is not the main concern.

Read more from Ben Jensen’s opinion piece in the¬†Australian Financial Review¬†on their website here.