The damning finds come after the 2015 Trends in International Mathematics and Science report last week determined that Australian school performances had stagnated over the past 20 years.
“If we do need to get more specialist maths and science teachers into the classroom, that’s a discussion I am very open to having,” Seanator Birmiham said.
Senator Birmingham did not elaborate on the details of the proposal. Photo: AAP
Mr Ruse said the education system needed to be addressed from the inside, not the outside.
He argued that lifting teacher salaries, improving professional development and incentivising students to take up maths and science subjects during their degrees could all help fix the teacher shortages hurting Australian students.
It’s not (just) about the money
Senator Birmingham said federal funding for schools had increased by 50 per cent since 2003, and extra funding alone would not solve the problem.
“We have consistently tipped more money into our school system over recent years – it has doubled in real terms since 1988,” he said.
“This is significant extra funding in our schools [and] now is the time to focus on why it is we are not getting value for money in terms of our results.
“More money, in of itself, is not the answer.”
But Mr Ruse said it was difficult to separate funding from the issue of teachers shortages.
“In terms of teacher development, how can you do it without someone funding it at some point?” he asked.
Labor education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek said the report was “a very significant concern” as it showed Australian schools were going backwards in some areas.
She called for a more equitable school-funding system and said the Coalition had cut $30 billion from schools in the 2014 budget.
“What we are missing is a proper needs-based funding system that directs extra funding to the kids who are falling behind,” she said.