Posts Tagged ‘unions’

Finally, a Step Forward in Education

February 19, 2014


I have been saying over and over again that something has to be done about the poor quality of teacher training. I have written to education ministers and tried to sell the message through this site, that improved teacher training was a must. Even though I was certain that an overhaul of our teacher training courses would bring immediate results, I felt that no politician would have the courage to even look at this area, let alone actively take the project on.

I am overjoyed to be proven wrong:

Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne will announce on Wednesday a far-reaching review into teacher training in a bid to make education degrees less ”faddish” and ”ideological”.

Australian Catholic University vice-chancellor Greg Craven – a vocal opponent of minimum entry scores for teaching degrees – will chair an eight-member advisory panel to report to Mr Pyne by the middle of this year.

An eight-member ministerial advisory group will report by the middle of the year on how education degrees at universities can better prepare new teachers.

“There is absolutely no reason at all why Australia, as one of the wealthiest countries in the world … shouldn’t have the best teacher training in the world,” Mr Pyne told reporters in Adelaide on Wednesday.

“I want it to be more practical, I want them to have better experiences in the classroom rather than in universities and I want it to be less theoretical.”

Mr Pyne said the only way the federal government could influence teacher quality was by looking at university courses.

He suggested the standard was too low because very few people failed teaching degrees.

But he said imposing minimum entry scores for teaching degrees was a “blunt instrument” that would not guarantee quality.

Instead he wants the advisory body to have a particular focus on in-classroom training.

“My instinct is that the more a teacher is in the classroom learning on the job about how to teach people how to count and to read, the better,” he said.

Amen to that!

Click on the link to read my post Tips For New Teachers from Experienced Teachers

Click on the link to read, ‘Teachers Trained Very Well to Teach Very Poorly

Click on the link to read my post 25 Characteristics of a Successful Teacher

Click on the link to read my post 10 Important Tips for New Teachers

Is the Education Union Good for Education?

January 30, 2014

education union

My personal view is the Education Union is great for teachers but poor for progress in education. I don’t like how the union have tried to bully me (a non-member) to sign up by refusing to represent my colleagues until I and other non-members paid the $500+ yearly membership. I also don’t like how they spend members money and are resistant to most proposed changes and innovations in education.

Amanda Ripley, author of The Smartest Kids in the World and How They Got That Way, makes the same point to the ABC’s Leigh Sales:

LEIGH SALES: How much of a barrier or otherwise have teachers’ unions been in countries that have undertaken major reforms?

AMANDA RIPLEY: A big barrier. I mean, this is one of the surprises, is that everywhere you go in the world, pretty much teachers’ unions are powerful, there are contracts in place that principals and school leaders complain about, there are real limits to the ability to dismiss a teacher for performance all over the world. So, you know, be that as it may, it is a challenge in every country.

It is important to mention that:

a. Teachers often require union support because their job is incredibly difficult and stressful

b. Unions play a positive role in teachers’ lives.

c. Assessing the performance of a teacher isn’t easy to do and often such an appraisal deserves to be contested vigorously.


Click on the link to read Guess What Percentage of Teachers Considered Quitting this Year

Click on the link to read The Classroom Shouldn’t be a War Zone for Our Teachers

Click on the link to read Remember When Teachers Were Shown Respect? (Video)

Click on the link to read If You Think Teaching is so Easy You Should Try it for Yourself

Click on the link to read Teachers are Extremely Vulnerable to False Accusations

Do the Public Really Support Striking Teachers?

August 24, 2012


I agree that disrespect for teachers has reached a new low. However, I can’t see how striking is the solution. If anything, striking creates even more hostility.

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis disagrees:

“At this point we need to understand where people are emotionally and where they are in terms of how they feel about the situation at hand, and what they know,” Lewis said in April. “And the issue is, again, I have never, in my 22 years of teaching and being in the classroom, seen this kind of hostility and this disrespect for teachers.”

I’m sorry to break the news to you Karen, but strikes will not make the public think of us any better.

Click on the link to read If Teachers Were Paid More I Wouldn’t Have Become One
Click on the link to read “Better Pay Leads to Better teachers”: Prove it!
Click on the link to read The Overwhelming Responsibilies of the Modern Teacher

Sometimes the Unions Don’t Help

June 26, 2011

There are times when the Education Unions just make me shake my head.  At a time when respect for teachers is at an all time low, unions have the opportunity to help promote the good work teachers do.  Instead, they often make things so much worse.  Take this story for example:

Students will not be allowed to enter teacher training in England if they fail basic numeracy and literacy tests three times, under tougher rules to raise teaching standards.

At present students are allowed to take unlimited re-sits while they train.

The Department for Education said one in 10 trainees takes the numeracy test more than three times, while the figure is one in 14 for the literacy test.

The National Union of Teachers said it considered the tests “superfluous”.

The aim is to improve the standard of students entering teaching.

From September 2012, candidates will have to pass the assessments before they are permitted to begin their training courses.

The tests are the same for both primary and secondary school teacher trainees, who must also have achieved a grade C or above in GCSE maths and English.
What is “superfluous” about ensuring that teachers have basic skills in the areas they teach?  What profession would allow trainees to practice without the requisite knowledge or skill?  It’s not as if the questions are so hard.  Here are a sample of the questions on such a test:


  • Q: Teachers organised activities for three classes of 24 pupils and four classes of 28 pupils. What was the total number of pupils involved?
  • A: 184.
  • Q: There were no ” ” remarks at the parents’ evening. Is the missing word:
  • a) dissaproving
  • b) disaproveing
  • c) dissapproving
  • d) disapproving?
  • A: d
  • Q: For a science experiment a teacher needed 95 cubic centimetres of vinegar for each pupil. There were 20 pupils in the class. Vinegar comes in 1,000 cubic centimetre bottles. How many bottles of vinegar were needed?
  • A: 2
  • Q: The children enjoyed the ” ” nature of the task. Is the correct word:
  • a) mathmatical
  • b) mathematical
  • c) mathemmatical
  • d) mathematicall
  • A: b

Teacher Stress a Real Issue

April 27, 2011

At a time when teachers are being unfairly picked on by politicians and the media and forced to take the heat for standardized test results and missed benchmarks, there is no wonder why teachers are suffering from stress.  The paperwork is ridiculously high and the support is nowhere to be seen.

Just look at what toll it is having on teachers in Britain:

An increase in Government targets and high-stakes Ofsted inspections is fuelling a rise in serious mental health problems among school staff, according to teachers’ leaders.

Most teachers said behaviour policies in schools were inconsistently enforced, allowing many pupils to get away with bad behaviour

The National Union of Teachers claim stress is now the main reason for driving teachers out of the profession.

It follows the publication of figures last year that showed almost 309,000 school teachers – more than half of the workforce – were signed off sick for an average of two weeks in 2009.

The NUT claim that staff are now routinely expected to work more than 50 hours a week after being swamped by marking and form-filling.

Speaking at the union’s annual conference in Harrogate, activities told how many teachers were resorting to alcohol to get through the day or even attempting suicide because of the workload.

Sue McMahon, branch secretary for Calderdale, West Yorkshire, said: “As a divisional secretary I have seen a meteoric rise in work-related stress and in more than one occasion have had to support a member who has attempted suicide.”

She said the problem was being caused by “the demands being placed on our members to hit Government targets”.

“We got into teaching to teach, not to be beaten by the target-driven culture of those Stepford heads who relish the Government agenda,” she said.

“The target tsunami escalating from the aspirations of this Government is sweeping away those [teachers] that you are struggling to support. And as the wave gets bigger it is leaving a trail of devastation in its wake that used to be a world class education system.”

Teachers need more support and consideration.  It isn’t an easy profession, and yet it continues to be more taxing and highly stressful than ever before.  Less paperwork, less beaurocracy, more support and more leadership from our politicians and administrators please?

Finally, a Voice of Reason!

November 11, 2010

It is my vision that both private and public schools should be looked after and properly funded.  I am tired of the private vs public school debate over funding.  If our Government is really serious about education, they will invest in private education to ease the burden on the taxpayer whilst also ensuring that our public schools are appropriately funded and given every chance to thrive.

In steps a voice of reason.  Dr Kevin Donnelly, the Director of Education Standards Institute, makes the following points in defence of funding our private schools:

The facts are that non-government schools have been underfunded for years. While state school students, on average, get $12,639 in funding from state and federal governments, non-government students only receive $6,606. Schools and parents have to pay the rest.

The saving to governments is about $6,000 a year for each student, adding up to a saving of about $7 billion a year. It’s also true that the state school system would collapse if it had to enrol all those thousands of students currently in non-government schools.

Critics like the AEU argue that non-government schools are drowning in government funding. Wrong. Wealthier non-government schools like Scotch College and Melbourne Grammar only get 13.5 per cent of the cost to government of educating a state school student. Even less well off non-government schools only get 70 per cent of the state school cost.

Let’s put the non-government vs government school debate to bed, and focus our energy on making sure that all of our schools receive the appropriate amount of support.

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