An Education Review: The State of the State

It’s time for yet another review of education. This one, being conducted by Victoria’s Legislative Council Legal and Social Issues Committee, will look into “trends in student learning outcomes and student wellbeing in Victoria’s state education system following the COVID-19 pandemic”. The terms of reference and a video are below, and submissions can be made here.

God knows what the motivation is, if any. And God knows what one could possibly write in a submission other than “It’s a basket case”. But, given the committee appears to be controlled by Liberal clowns rather than Labor hacks, Victorian readers may wish to give it a shot.

That this House requires the Legal and Social Issues Committee to inquire into, consider and report, by 25 June 2024, on the Victorian education system across government schools, including —

(1) trends in student learning outcomes from Prep to Year 12, including but not limited to —

(a) the factors, if any, that have contributed to decline;

(b) disparities correlated with geography and socio-economic disadvantage;

(2) the state of the teaching profession in Victoria, including but not limited to —

(a) the adequacy of existing measures to recruit and retain teachers;

(b) training, accreditation and professional development, particularly for teaching students with special needs;

(c) the adequacy of the Department of Education’s measures to support teachers;

(d) the impact of school leadership on student wellbeing, learning outcomes and school culture;

(3) the current state of student wellbeing in Victoria, including but not limited to the impact of State Government interventions, following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, to address poor mental health in students, school refusal, and broader student disengagement;

(4) the administrative burden on teachers and the availability of new technologies to alleviate the burden;

(5) examples of best practice in other jurisdictions and educational settings used to improve student learning outcomes and wellbeing; and

(6) school funding adequacy and its impact on student learning outcomes and wellbeing.

21 Replies to “An Education Review: The State of the State”

  1. Some of the wording seems unusual:
    “trends in student learning outcomes […] including […] the factors […] that have contributed to decline”.
    (Marty’s extracts contained no balancing wording to allow for claimed/observed improvements.) Is there in fact a public sense that there may have been a “decline”?

    1. Hi, Tony. The ToR I posted are complete, not an excerpt, but I wouldn’t try too hard to decipher them.

      This is an upper house committee, with majority (splintered) opposition, and I’m guessing the review is of a general “stir up trouble” type, without too much thought having gone into the trouble they’re seeking to stir up. Anything’ll do.

      As to the public belief in, or evidence of, a “decline”, I think there is some of both but I don’t know of the details. I think there is a sense that the (serious) covid years both burned out a lot of teachers and seriously hampered students’ learning, and possibly data like NAPLAN and teacher applications support this.

      Underlying, I think there is also a general and long-running belief that the state system has not been working well, to put it mildly. Unsurprisingly, I share this belief, even if I have epsilon faith in the critics, government or pundit, to understand what is required to fix things.

    2. Important political background – the Inquiry is in the upper house, where the Government does not have a majority. It will be essentially political as Marty says. That said, the opposition shadow minister (on the committee) is a former teacher. So there might be some genuine content (though of course politics will trump that)

    1. My submission is also in. I don’t expect much action from the review but it’s important that the issues it investigates are in the public domain and get heard.

      Note: Submissions are protected by Parliamentary privilege.

      @TM: Was there a link somewhere to the 19 submissions that you read or have I missed the joke?

        1. I see that there are now 30 submissions available, with submission dates up to 20 July. It looks like the formal acceptance of submissions by the Committee is a slow process.

                1. There are 30 submissions now. Many of the submissions come from families who are not satisfied with the system. The committee could investigate each of the various complaints – there are not that many – and recommend some action be taken.

  2. Okay, so who decided it was a good idea to have their grade 5 students all write submissions?
    A number of them could stand alone as evidence of a decline in student learning outcomes. Yikes indeed.

    1. Maybe that was the point!
      (Hopefully there will be enough diamonds in the rough by the closing date (13 Oct 2023). Maybe yours could be one of them, Anon …).

    2. Yes, obvious and silly. But I don’t think it matters. For better or worse, the Committee will latch onto, or simply create, whatever they wish.

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