Teacher literacy falls with salaries: Sydney Morning Herald

28 Aug

According to this report:

EVIDENCE that the academic standards of new teachers are significantly lower than a generation ago will underscore a Howard Government push for the introduction of merit pay.

The Education Minister, Julie Bishop, seized on research released yesterday that showed the average teacher trainee in 1983 was more literate and numerate than 74 per cent of age peers. By 2003, that advantage was down to 61 per cent – and the decline was similar for new teachers.

Low salaries for teachers were the main culprit, the researchers from the Australian National University concluded. But they said merit pay for good teachers would be more cost-effective in tackling the problem than across-the-board pay rises.

I am always suspicious when a politician talks about literacy, as so often what emerges is tendentious nonsense; when was the last literacy survey of parliamentarians done, I wonder? If ever there were declining standards…

However, I do agree that teaching has not attracted as many good aspirants as it should over recent years, Thin Potations (Mr Rabbit), Mikey and Aluminium obviously not included, and this does have to do with money, but also has to do with working conditions, and with the outrageous comments and unrealistic demands many in the media and in parliaments too often make about education and teachers. I can see a place for merit pay, but not as something instead of pay by seniority. First, all teacher pay should be more competitive. Second, teachers who take on extra responsibilities are not adequately rewarded for their efforts at the moment; this must be addressed. Third, there should be financial incentives AND flexible staffing solutions, such as reduced teaching loads and greater quality support, for teachers working in difficult environments.

Julie Bishop, and your state colleagues, let’s get really serious about this!

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Posted by on August 28, 2006 in Aussie interest, Current affairs, Education


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2 responses to “Teacher literacy falls with salaries: Sydney Morning Herald

  1. Daniel

    August 28, 2006 at 11:29 am

    As someone who has taught in the School and Tafe systems I think that all teachers should be paid on results. That would reward the harder working or more gifted teachers and encourage the less-gifted and the many, many drones to lift their game.

  2. Owner

    August 28, 2006 at 2:21 pm

    It depends what you mean by “results”. It was quite easy to have students get 90+UAI at Sydney Boys High, not so easy in many other places, and nothing to do with whether or not the teachers were “drones”, a class of teacher much threatened anyway by the current policy of annual reviews.

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