The biggest problem facing ACT education is the ever-widening gap between disadvantaged and advantaged students, according to Trevor Cobbold, the national convenor of Save Our Schools.
According to his analysis of NAPLAN data from 2015, indigenous students in Year 9 are about three and a half to four years behind students from high-educated parents across all four domains. Students from low-educated parents are about two to three years behind.
"I think it is a major concern that we have a high degree of inequity in education in the ACT," Mr Cobbold said.
"And by that I mean relatively high proportions of low socio-economic status students and indigenous students not achieving national standards and very large gaps between the average scores of high SES students and low SES students.
"I think that's the essence of what the problem is in the ACT."
Mr Cobbold will be addressing this issue in a public forum on Thursday September 22 at the Theo Notaras Multicultural Centre in the city.
Former ACT Chief Minister and now advisor to the Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service Jon Stanhope and University of Canberra Professor Moosung Lee will also be discussing the topic: "What or how much value does the ACT education system add to your child's learning?"
Mr Cobbold said the ACT does have high education outcomes by national and international standards.
"I am the first person to acknowledge we do really well but we should be doing better," he said.
"But when you get situations where previous education ministers have annually engaged in this orgy of self congratulation, it's totally misplaced.
"The significant problems we have had for 15 years have been swept under the carpet.
"You would hope during an election campaign there might be some bipartisan agreement that this is in fact the major problem facing ACT education."
Professor Lee, the youngest Centenary Professor at UC, will draw on his research on educational attainments for students from socially and racially disadvantaged backgrounds for his talk.
Mr Stanhope will discuss educational outcomes for the indigenous students in the Territory.
The seminar is part of the University of Canberra's Canberra Conversation Lecture Series. Starting at 12.30pm, it is a free event and bookings can be made at governanceinstitute.edu.au
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