They are calling it the dumbing down of a whole generation and are blaming it on a lack of control in the classroom but are our children really dumb?

Emily Jade

Emily Jade

High heels and high chairs

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With the headlines today that Australian teenagers’ reading and maths skills have fallen so far in a decade that nearly half lack basic maths skills and a third are practically illiterate. It’s little wonder the Australian Education Union has blasted the results as a “wake-up call” for the Abbott government to increase funding to schools in poor areas, and set higher entry standards for teachers.


It reminded me of a recent article I read that gave a little glimmer of hope to working mums. A team of policy analysts and economists from the US and Denmark recently found that children with a working mother do better at high school.

The data that tracked 135,000 Danish children from birth until the age of 15.

The survey looked at children’s school grades over the time as well as detailed information about their households, including the work status of their parents.

They examined the association between a child’s ”grade point average” in year 9 and his or her mother’s work patterns during the first three years of the child’s life, and separately during the first 15 years of the child’s life.

After an exhaustive analysis the research team, led by Professor Rachel Dunifon from the US’s Cornell University, concluded ”maternal employment has a positive effect on children’s academic performance” even for those whose mothers worked during the first three years of life.

However, I don’t highlight this as a war between working and stay at home mums because I firmly believe there are pro’s and con’s for both and it is a very personal choice for both parent and child and both choices are right. There were a few theories as to why this was, such as working giving women a healthy mental state and with both parents working there was more money available to afford better education, but what stood out for me in the study was a very important dynamic in the Danish study: good childcare.

Denmark has invested heavily in its childcare system, which has become internationally renowned for high quality, easy access and low cost.

This first-class childcare system seems to have been a factor in the superior academic results achieved by year 9 students with working mothers.

So Princess Mary’s part Aussie kids are not only lucky to be born Prince and Princesses, they are going to be smart little cookies as well…..but I digress.

I think this study could help in solving our schooling problem, perhaps the government could study Denmark’s childcare system for answers and solve the problem at the very beginning, when they are toddlers, before the problem reaches the teen years in the first place.

I might give Princess Mary a call to chat about it…….