Teacher’s Strike – Gonski – What will the money be spent on?

Some rights reserved by Photos by BLPerk, Flickr

Some rights reserved by Photos by BLPerk, Flickr 

There is a teacher’s strike today on Valentine’s day, with a sea of red making it likely the largest in the State’s history. It says something about human nature that the easiest way to start a revolution is to give a privilege, then try to take it away. Ted Baillieu should be held to his promise of making “teachers the best paid in the nation”, a wiser man would have realised that after years of waste under Labor (such as a desalination plant) that there would be no money in the coffers to pay for this promise. The Liberal State government’s justification that they are withholding pay until a point of principle is addressed, that the union stridently opposes: wage differentiation between teachers.

“We have a system that is broken whereby the best teacher in the school is paid the same as the worst teacher”

Perhaps that performance is an issue.

It reminded me that I read an interesting article in The Age calling for the immediate implementation of the recommendations of Gonski Review, which ask for $5 Billion dollars for investment in Australian Education by State and Federal Governments. This is apparently because “Gonski review had identified the education system was not functioning fairly.” Fairfax has a history of support and partisanship on this issue.

What is the definition of “fairly”? Does “fairly” mean that parents who do not pay for a private education should be further subsidised by the taxpayer?

How will this $5 billion be spent precisely, where is the breakdown of what money will be spent on what activity? It certainly doesn’t help that the wall-to-wall Labor governments have squandered all the money that could have been used to pay for the initiative, despite what the professional lobbyists would say about it. There are no more utilities to sell…

… not only that, the Federal Labor government is using the Gonski report as political leverage to withhold funding from the states. To pay for its surplus, of course…

There is a good argument that teachers are comparatively underpaid and under-appreciated in this country. The article and the Gonski recommendations go so far as to link the pay for education and teachers with student outcomes for “smaller class sizes” and “additional training.” In short, a pay rise and less work per teacher.

If we paid these teachers more, would we get a better outcome for our students?

Gonski lists several cities/countries that are “beating” Australia in terms of academic rankings: Shanghai, Finland, Singapore, Korea, Japan, Canada, Netherlands etc

China, Japan and Canada spend less per head of GDP than Australia and have better academic outcomes. If they spend less money than Australia, isn’t the culture and the way they spend money more intelligent than Australia in that they get better educational outcomes? I have seen how they study in Japan and Singapore, and how much more seriously they take their work as part of their culture…

Will throwing vague money (now quoted at $6.5 Billion) at our education system fix this problem?

I somehow think instead it will give the members of the Australian Education Union a long overdue pay rise, but will also reward the mediocrity that has seen Australian students slide in the academic rankings.

Whether or not it will improve Australia’s academic standing remains to be seen.

Throwing good money after bad ideas is a fast way to flush a surplus down the toilet.

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Categories: People, Politics, Law

Author:Richard Lee

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  1. Education « DebatersMate - February 17, 2013

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