Shock graph reveals where Aussie students are heading
Teaching standards need to be urgently boosted if Australia is to regain its position as a top education destination with new data showing we will slip to one of the worst in the developed world if nothing is done.
An analysis of international tests has shown that Australia's performance in maths will be the fifth worst in the developed world by 2030 - down from fifth best in 2000.
In reading, Australia would drop to 23rd, from fourth in 2000 and in science we would slip to 31st from seventh, on the current trajectory.
Education leaders are now calling on teaching standards to be lifted, saying poor teaching is a large part of the problem.
It comes after the shocking results from yesterday's OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) report revealed Australian students are years behind the rest of the world in maths, reading and science.
PROJECTED DECLINE IN AUSTRALIAN PISA RESULTS, 2012-2033
A projected decline, done by the federal opposition and confirmed by a Harvard-trained economist, examined the last three PISA tests and projects that Australia will sink to the bottom of the table of the developed countries if we do not reverse the slide. "It means Australia will have gone from one of the top performers to one of the worst," Opposition spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek said.
Ms Plibersek blamed the current government for mishandling schools reform and Gonski funding roll out as initiated by Labor.
"We had a plan in place to turn the results around and then the Coalition turned their backs on that," she said.
"What this analysis shows is if we continue doing what we are doing on this same path we are on track to have some of the worst results in the world."
Ms Plibersek added that universities pack teaching students into courses because they are cheap to run.
"We can't use teaching to subsidise other more expensive courses - we are cheapening the value of a teaching degree by lowering the standards," she said. "We need to restore the status of teaching as a career and take our teachers from among our best and brightest."
The last Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership report showed that in 2005, almost half of teaching entrants had an ATAR or equivalent of 80 or above but by 2016, that had fallen to one in three. While the Grattan Institute shows that the starting full-time salary for a teacher in most Australian states is between $65,000 and $70,000.
"Student outcomes will not start to change until the quality of teaching changes," said Australian Catholic University's Professor John Munro.
"Educators and policy makers have talked about the quality of teaching for at least two decades but don't say what it looks like or how to do it. High quality teaching leads to high quality knowing and learning. School leaders often have difficulty recognising it."
Australian Education Union Federal President Correna Haythorpe said flat salaries for teachers in most jurisdictions in Australia means there is no incentive to remain in the system.
Centre for Independent Studies, Glenn Fahey said the Australian system has "complete inflexibility" when it comes to paying teachers and there should be bonus and performance structures in place, as in the private sector.