Abstract: 'Education is the key' is often used as a metaphor in remote Australian First Nations communities to indicate the importance of learning to achieve some measure of socio-economic advantage - education is seen as a vehicle for advancement. First Nations people have enthusiastically bought into education and training vehicle. High school completion data suggest that 'gaps' are closing. But the vehicle appears to be breaking down as it heads along the road towards jobs and economic participation.This article presents an analysis of Census data to show trends in high school completion, employment and income. The data suggest growth in educational achievement. But a 'break down' of the data into non-Indigenous, First Nations Indigenous language speakers and First Nations English speakers shows little change in the economic fortunes of language speakers. In these latter findings a 'new narrative', built on QuantCrit propositions, takes shape and explains why the vehicle breaks down.