Teacher’s pay is the problem says the Business Council of Australia.

Today, the Business Council of Australia launched a new paper: Teaching Talent: The Best Teachers for Australia’s Classrooms. Read the whole report at the link here. that call for a five point plan to recognise outstanding teachers and to lift the standard of teaching in Australian classrooms. They pointed to the one thing that every government has avoided, the elephant in the classroom, teacher remuneration.

In fact the report argues that capping the top salary for classroom teachers at about $70,000 “does not place enough value on the enormous contribution they make to the future prosperity of our nation,” and that the figure should be $130,000.

The report confirms what I reported in an earlier post, that the remuneration, while not always the reason students choose teaching, is in fact the reason many do not choose the profession. After all, while altruism is admirable, the reality of the cost of living is often the tipping point for many teachers leaving the teaching profession.

Indeed the report actually points to research that indicates that status and remuneration were the reasons why graduates well qualified to enter the profession were choosing not to do so. Additionally other research showed that a resignation spike occurred at the eight to ten year mark as teachers reached the ceiling of the salary scales. The report recommends:

  • Recruiting the most talented, capable and committed people into the teaching profession;
  • Introducing new national certification system that recognises excellent teachers and provides the basis for a new career path for the profession;
  • A new remuneration structure that rewards excellent teachers and demonstrates that, as a society, Australia values the teaching profession;
  • A comprehensive strategy that supports teachers in continuing to learn and improve their teaching throughout their careers; and
  • The introduction of a national assessment and accreditation system for teacher education courses.

The skills needs of the nation require that the work of teachers be valued by society. To attract and retain quality candidates to teaching requires a more comprehensive accreditation system that is applied across the nation and not in the ad hoc way that is now being managed by the States.

If the Rudd government is serious about the education revolution then it5 must begin with adequate remuneration of its teachers in a way that recognises excellence and seeks out the best and brightest of our students for teacher training. The BAC recommends:

the creation of a new national agency to establish and provide a voluntary advanced certification system for teachers. This will provide the basis for offering more attractive salaries and career paths to graduates and those who seek to change careers into teaching, strengthen incentives for professional learning and establish more consistent and widespread teacher development practices.

Already Minister for Education Julia Gillard and various State Government education ministers have poured cold water on the proposal as unachievable. However, as the report argues, there is no justification for assuming that our society can continue to get away with not paying teachers what they are worth. If it does then we can expect to lag behind the rest of the world in the quality of our eduction system as well as the skill of the workforce of the future.

PHOTO OF THE DAY: Iceberg near the Oates Coast, Antarctica.Icebergs.

Photograph by: Mike Usher, National Science Foundation. Date Taken: January 29, 2005.

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~ by abstraktbiblos on Monday, 26 May, 2008.

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