Teachers need to take the lead in debate on education policy, Australian Education Union Federal President Correna Haythorpe told delegates at Federation’s Annual Conference on Monday.
“Teaching is often challenging yet very rewarding, but our jobs are made much harder by wholesale education reforms implemented by governments without consulting and working with the teaching profession,” Haythorpe said.
“When we are frozen out of the consultation process due to political ideology, it is our students who are ultimately impacted.
Haythorpe said that thanks to the campaigning support of teacher members “the “nastiest components” of the Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison reform agenda” had been fought off, but campaigning needed to continue.
“Politicians don’t act against their natural political inclinations for their own benefit or for the good of their health,” Haythorpe said.
“They do it because of the public pressure of sustained campaigning. And that is the strength of our union. We have a duty of care to our students.”
Haythorpe said educators accept this “when they start their teaching degrees, when they graduate, when they stand nervously in front of their first class and then every day from then onwards”.
“The question we have to ask ourselves is very simple. If we don’t fight for public education and fair funding for preschools, schools and TAFE, then who will?” she said.