Shock! Horror! Our little darlings are not doing as well in school as the authorities would like. They should be doing better! All that money schools have been given and they still aren't doing well! It's terrible! They need more money! The last two years of Gonski funding are absolutely essential! It will make all the difference!
Okay everyone, calm down. You see there was an absolutely delightful story of a young man who came to Downunder two years ago. He didn't speak English then. Now he not only speaks English but he came dux of his school.
I have seen this happen myself. One of my English language students at university was a Chinese woman. She was a scientist in a field which meant nothing to me but when she arrived her English was limited. Her "social" English was even more limited. At 7am in the morning, hail, rain, wind or shine Xi would arrive on my doorstep and we would make tea and I would give her an English lesson. It was hard work for both of us but Xi worked so hard that I never regretted those early mornings. Six months later she was, by some miracle, able to bring her husband and two girls out from China - and they stayed. She taught them as I had taught her. I gave them a bit of extra help. Her husband went to just six weeks of intensive English classes - just as Xi had - and then found a job in another laboratory. No, I didn't need to help him too. Someone else did that.
And the girls? They started at school. They worked. They worked some more. Three years later the older girl was dux of her school too.
Yes, they were intelligent but they also worked at it. I saw that for myself. I went to a meal at their almost bare little place not long after the rest of the family had arrived. They went out and bought me a knife and fork because they weren't sure I could use chopsticks - which was typically thoughtful of Xi. I was feeling very nervous. Eating with strangers is an ordeal in itself but when they don't even speak English it seems even worse. But...the girls kept trying to use their English. The entire meal was one long English lesson. They listened intently. They tried - and tried again.
They had come to live in a new country. The classes were smaller. The opportunities were much greater. They were going to make the most of it.
They've both been through university now. They are professional women. They have married and have families. People would say they are a "success" story. I'd say they were an example of intelligence and consistent effort.
I don't think pouring more money into education is necessary - unless you want to pour it into renewing the school library service.
If we stop thinking of schools as places of "social engineering" and think of them as places of "learning" then I don't think anyone will need to worry about NAPLAN results. They will just be good anyway.