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Something I thought I would never see

A headline in the Australian newspaper struck my eye just now: ‘Teachers warm to merit pay‘. A deeper reading of the story reveals a few caveats, but the fact that Australian education unions are willing to concede anything at all to the principle still struck me as the most surprising thing to me. I thought we’d see peace in the Middle East, cold fusion and spending cuts long before seeing education unions in Australia concede the principle of merit pay.

4 comments to Something I thought I would never see

  • Ian B

    Ah, the devil’s in teh detail as ever-

    When the idea of merit-based pay tied to student results was first mooted by former education minister Julie Bishop, Ms Byrne said it was “completely unreasonable to hold a teacher responsible for outcomes”.

    …but it won’t be based on outcomes…

    The Australian Education Union has commissioned an independent company to survey its members and develop a set of standards as a basis for assessing teachers and paying more to those who excel.

    …the excellence will be defined by arbitrary standards which can be politically manipulated at will. Expect “excellence” to be counted on things like how well they promote cultural participation, that kind of thing. It’ll end up as a way to marginalise teachers who try to teach traditionally or are otherwise not good eggs from a lefty statist environmentally friendly union POV.

    The western educational establishment are entirely committed to a “Gramscian” remodelling of society and destruction of the concept of intellectual development of students in any meaningful sense. It’s all about schools being indoctrination camps for the ideology. As such, expect anything they do to be bent towards that end.

  • There are serious problems with judging performance by test results alone.

    Firstly, it just leads to more responding to targets, and as we all know that does not necessarily improve performance. In the UK, teaching to tests is already a big problem.

    Secondly you have the problem that the teacher they had the previous year could have improved the ability for children to learn and their performance, but the teacher the next year benefits from that.

    What is really needed is a flexible pay structure and the ability to fire poor teachers. Imposing set pay from outside, even if its performance based, just raises the same old problems.

    Best to let the school’s administration decide how much a teacher is paid, just as in any other job.

  • Paul Marks

    Milton Friedman many years ago…..

    The teachers unions will oppose merit pay (and all other such reforms) till it is passed or is likely to pass, then they will seek to control the new system – and they will succeed.

    In short – it is state control that matters (I would say forced taxpayer funding but Milton Friedman would not have gone so far), everything else is an argument over the arrangement of deck chairs on the Titanic.

  • BB

    A simple performance management system should divide people into groups A, B and C. Managers should be forced to put 10% of their people into C, and no more than 20% in A.

    The A’s get a big bonus.

    The B’s get a measley bonus.

    The C’s get the sack.

    The teachers unions will finangle things to that 100% end up in the “A” category, so everyone gets a bonus. No teacher will be left behind.