Archive for December 29th, 2008

The Bradley report’s OECD cringe

The Bradley report’s authors display the OECD cringe, an attitude that OECD statistics set the benchmarks Australia should follow, regardless of whether those statistics are meaningful or whether other countries get better outcomes. It is the modern-day version of the old cultural cringe, that whatever was English set the standard Australia should follow.

Some examples:

* concern about a drop in Australia’s tertiary attainment levels relative to other countries (at pages 9, 18), ‘notwithstanding classification issues’. In fact, those classification issues are serious. And as I have pointed out, the same OECD publication that reports these attainment levels also shows that high levels of attainment correlate with high levels of graduates in low-skill jobs (though the extent of these correlations will be lower than reported, due to the data issues).

* increases in public funding to be in the ‘top group of the OECD’ (6). Yet there is no evidence that public funding is better than private funding, and the OECD does not claim that there is.
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