BETTER PAID PUBLIC PRIMARY TEACHERS?


MOTION: That the Rudd Government provide the wherewithal to increase the salaries of all public primary school teachers to encourage better qualified and higher intelligence applicants into primary teachers’ colleges than is currently the case.


If an education revolution were to occur, then the ingredient most likely to generate success, would be to have better quality teachers at all levels of education, but especially so at the primary level. The problem is analogous to that of the need for economically rationalising the salary packages of politicians to improve the quality of the applicants.

Shadow Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Julie Bishop, in a former life as the Education Minister in the Howard Government, proposed a system of “Performance Pay” to elicit competitive performances from public school teachers. Such a proposition might work in some instances but not all and so would be a band-aid solution at best. The only all-encompassing solution would be to radically elevate primary teachers’ college entrance standards by offering radically increased salaries to create greater competition for acceptance to colleges. To attract applicants of sufficient intelligence to create “an education revolution” across the board would require a radical increase in salaries. Otherwise the proposed revolution is likely to be a fizzer.

Conversely, in recent years, entrance standards have been lowered to such an extent that a lot of dopes who couldn’t do anything else became primary school teachers. Pigs’ ears and all of that prevail as usual? Sure. The Howard Government’s approach was nothing more than a Scrooge McFix deal bereft of long term solutions to the problem of resurrecting high standards in the proverbial “3-Rs” across the board.

Anyone who claims that International bench marks are being met in Australia are denying the reality that educational standards of primary children entering high school today are woeful compared with what they were 40 years ago. Anyone who doesn’t believe that to be the case should review a 1960’s primary school grade six English grammar textbook. Many of today’s university students would struggle to cope with it.

If the Rudd Government wants to uphold its election promise to create “a revolution in education”, then it needs to attend to the appallingly poor standards of many primary teachers first and foremost. There is only one way to do that and that is to radically increase primary teacher salaries to increase competition for places. Devotion may count for a lot towards doing an exemplary job, but as with politicians and their reliance on retirement perks as an alternative to a salary based IQ draw card, there would be no across-the-board substitute for improving the quality of secular primary school teaching in particular other than via a substantial salary increase for all primary teachers. A revolution in education can only begin with the rudimentary task of increasing the average IQ of primary teachers. Money needed. 

Some of the money currently destined for tax cuts could be better spent. Mr Rudd could easily dispel any political “Broken-promise” odium by calling for public debate followed by an online referendum.


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