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September 19, 2007

Class Sizes

Something for everyone in this report from the OECD.

Steve Sinnott, the general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: "While Britain has now achieved the average spent on education by industrialised countries there is much more to do.

Of course, a union leader is going to call for more spending...but OK, we're spending the OECD average.

Class sizes in Britain are among the highest in the developed world despite huge increases in education spending, an international study reported yesterday.

Despite the average level of spending, we've still got large class sizes. So one group of people can go off and point out that clearly, it's not how much money, but how it's spent. Perhaps too much of it is getting caught up in the bureaucracy, not enough actually reaching the front line (a favourite point of mine of course)?

Only six other countries - Japan, South Korea, Turkey, Brazil, Chile and Israel - have more children in primary school lessons, it was disclosed.

However, another point does arise. I've not heard that the schools in Israel or Japan, for example, are terribly bad, despite their having larger class sizes. Indeed, on things like literacy etc, I've heard that they're rather good. So class size, at the primary level, might not actually be a good indicator of a good or bad system.

But then the OECD, contrary to pupular belief, doesn't always pick up particularly good objective measures.  You might recall that in their survey of where was and where was not a tax haven, the UK was one and Monaco was not. By their, objective, measure.

September 19, 2007 in Your Tax Money at Work | Permalink


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[You might recall that in their survey of where was and where was not a tax haven, the UK was one and Monaco was not.]

which report are you talking about? Monaco was listed as an uncoooperative tax haven on the FATF list between 2000 and 2004, then came to a kind of agreement that it would get its act together. The UK has, quite obviously, never been on that list.

The IMF did publish a working paper which argued that the UK was a tax haven, but the IMF's official list of tax havens does have Monaco on it.

Tim adds: The reference is to that working paper. Richard Murphy over at Tax Justice made great play of it. See! See! By this objective measure the UK is a tax haven!

The objective measure being the size of the financial sector in relation to the needs of the domestic economy. That the international financial capital of the world would, given such an "objective" measure, be a tax haven is no surprise. The absurdity of the objectivity of the measure is that by the same measure, Monaco is not.

Posted by: dsquared | Sep 19, 2007 8:52:51 AM

Bureaucracy is clearly part of it Tim.

The unions will always blame bureaucracy while at the same time defending a state monopoly...

However, the OECD report also says that we pay our teachers rather well, similarly to the NHS where we pay our medics extremely well (especially when pension costs are taken into account). Theses are principal reasons why we pay more and get less - but the unions will never mention this.

Posted by: HJ | Sep 19, 2007 9:04:52 AM

It's news down here too;


a few tid-bits...

"Labor education spokesman Stephen Smith said the report showed Australia had the third highest private spending on education at 27 per cent, more than double the OECD average."

Sounds OK to me, 40% of parents are sick of the socialist indoctrination in public schools...

"The report found Australia trailed behind only the US and Korea in private spending on education."

...getting better...

"This put Australia behind Mexico, Iceland, France, Finland, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, New Zealand, Norway, Britain and the US in public funding."

The US has higher private AND public spending? So public spending is lower than some Euro welfare states, so what? and maybe that's why there's so many Kiwis over here.

"Chairman of the Group of Eight top Australian universities Professor Alan Robson said the growing level of private spending was worrying."

well he would, wouldn't he...

You'll love this one Tim;

"Australian Education Union national president Pat Byrne said..."

"...In other words there is more money going to students who need it less than in fact that money being directed to those areas where we see students falling between the cracks."

WTF! Must be a Nobel prize in economics in there somewhere, but not literature! I'm glad I'm paying for my kids to go private...

Posted by: Forester | Sep 19, 2007 11:18:17 AM