Gordon Brown likes to say people will judge this government not on day-to-day scandal but its record on public services. So the OECD's study on education is devastating
. It is the world's most comprehensive assessment of pupil knowledge and skills - and it finds that English standards have fallen
between 2000 and 2006. Our 15 year olds drop from 7th to 17th place for reading and from 8th to 24th place in maths. Coming on the back of a similar PIRLS study
last week, it's hard to argue against. Is Ed Balls going to blame video games again? As Civitas points out, this rather contrasts with a 7 percentage points rise in pass rates for GCSE English and 4 percentage points rise in Maths.
England was thrown out of the 2003 PISA, by the way, amid suspicions it had fixed the study by cutting out poor schools. We now know what our ministers had to hide. Suddenly, that controversial Durham University study (Powerpoint presentation here) showing exams are getting easier makes a good deal more sense
PS Since 1996-7 school spending has risen from £22.2bn to £44.7bn.