The study I reported yesterday has been challenged. I should have known. It is normal for the current government to have an agenda first, in this case a passion for “performance pay”, and cherry-pick studies to suit the agenda. Some would call that dishonest, but not Machiavelli or any member of the Howard government. But I guess all governments do it.
See in today’s Sydney Morning Herald Teachers motivated by passion, not money.
University of Sydney research supports those views as typical among the majority of teaching students.
Dr John Hughes, Pro Dean of Education and Social Work at the university, yesterday challenged the findings of researchers from the Australian National University, who suggest that low salaries are to blame for the decreasing academic standards of teachers.
The ANU study showed the average teacher trainee in 1983 was more literate and numerate than 74 per cent of their peers. This had decreased to 61 per cent by 2003.
The federal Minister for Education, Julie Bishop, said the findings supported her push for the introduction of merit pay for teachers.
But Dr Hughes and his colleague Dr Jacqueline Manuel said the ANU findings were flawed. Their study found that 90 per cent of a sample of 79 students studying secondary education in 2003 had UAIs over 90.
Their second study, to be published later this year, looked at the motivations of 243 teaching students from last year. It found 26 per cent felt salary was important and 74 per cent said it was unimportant.
Dr Hughes said more than 90 per cent of students in both studies were “overwhelmingly passionate about teaching”.
Students need a UAI of 86.5 to enter primary teaching and 83.4 for high school teaching at the University of Sydney.