Higher paid teachers won’t improve Australia’s schools, report says

Higher paid teachers won’t improve Australia’s schools, report says

Recent moves to hire more teachers and boost their salaries will do little to fix the core problems facing Australia’s education system, a new paper says.

The report by the Centre for Independent Studies, titled: ‘Teacher workforce: fiction vs fact’, follows the release of the Federal Government’s Quality Initial Teacher Education review, which lays out how Australian schools can better attract and retain high-quality teachers while also preparing teaching graduates for the classroom.

According to the new CIS paper, current teacher workforce policy in Australia “fails to follow the evidence” when it comes to improving the nation’s schools.

Report author, Glenn Fahey, warns there is a “blind acceptance of the many myths” about the quantity and quality of Australian teachers compromises education policy decisions.

“It sadly can’t be assumed that all teachers are fully prepared for the classroom on graduation,” Fahey told The Educator.

“In part, that’s because the complexity of teaching means almost no-one is ever fully prepared. But it can’t be denied that too many aren’t entering classrooms with the confidence and competence to be as effective as they can be.”

Fahey said the deficiency is not necessarily with teachers.

“It’s with those responsible for teacher training. It has been a real failing of education policy that we’ve almost singularly pursued tightening of who can become a teacher, while ignoring the elephant in the room – that it’s the training that’s the problem,” he said.

“If teachers don’t get the right support and training, it’s an uphill battle to perform at high standards. It has become increasingly clear that the training needs of new — and for that matter, many experienced — teachers may differ from what teachers think they are.”

Fahey said it is not always about learning new skills, but sometimes sharpening up knowledge of seemingly foundational teaching skills that can have the most impact.

“In part, the recent popularity of some science of reading professional development shows that many teachers are seeking, and getting, new insights for improving practice that might differ from the perspectives provided during ITE,” he said.

“Principals and teachers should also be discerning in picking the right provider of professional development. It will do little good seeking out further training with the same ITE providers that haven’t successfully prepared teachers in the first place.”