Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Bonanza for Top Teachers

There is a proposal to pay a "bonus" to top teachers in Australia. Current Australian politics dictates that the Federal Government believes the bonus should be paid based on (annual) results of students in standardised tests.

There are serious flaws with this train of thought:
  1. it assumes that all students in different schools, in different states in a given year are equally able to achieve
  2. it assumes that different students, in different years, from different backgrounds, with different motivations and in different environments are all able to achieve the same results
  3. it assumes that the ONLY determining factor in student achievement is the quality of teaching.
While the standard of teaching does undoubtedly affect the quality of learning, it is clearly NOT true that the teacher is the only determinant of student results.

If extra pay were allocated to teachers who meet some standard qualities assessed and determined independently of the school, that would be a more reasonable basis for a "bonus".

Question: does the Federal Government have another agenda? upset teacher unity? create two classes of education for voters' children? ?

The Federal Government and its Education Minister, Julie Bishop, do not understand the nature of teazching and learning. The public should resist the simplistic arguments presented by the Federal Government.

The Analyst