[Offtopic] AEU Releases Teacher Pay Plan

Stephen Loosley stephen at melbpc.org.au
Thu Jun 28 02:42:20 EST 2007

AEU Releases Teacher Pay Plan

Thursday June 28, 12:17 AM   <http://au.news.yahoo.com/070520/2/13iol.html>

Teachers would receive pay rises for reaching higher professional standards under a plan by the teachers' union intended to counter the federal government's "performance pay" push.

The pay plan, to be released by the Australian Education Union (AEU), concedes existing salary structures are a disincentive for the best teachers to remain in the job.

As well as rewarding teachers with so-called "professional pay" rises, the AEU proposes overhauling salary scales.

Teachers would be grouped into categories of Initial Education, Band One (Graduation), Band Two (Competence), Band Three (Accomplished), and a fifth band, Leadership.

Early in their career teachers would receive incremental increases commensurate with experience but those who had reached Band Two (Competence) could apply to move up to become "accomplished" and receive a salary boost.

"Teachers would be assessed by an independent and fair process and rewarded through salary increases, not one-off cash bonuses," the pay proposal states.

"Teachers would be required to demonstrate how their teaching experience and professional development is contributing to the improvement of educational outcomes for students."

At the same time, the proposal calls for an across-the-board pay rise for teachers to address workload and class sizes.

Critically, the "professional pay" plan would depend on increased funding from both state and federal governments.

Treasurer Peter Costello appears to have ruled out federal funding to reform teachers' pay, saying it is a matter for the states.

The AEU's pay plan differs from that championed by the federal government in that it does not propose paying one-off bonuses to teachers based on students' exam results or parent feedback.

Education Minister Julie Bishop has declared the government will make federal education funding dependent on the states introducing performance pay from 2009.

Ms Bishop has already announced plans to hire a consultant to come up with various models of performance pay to be trialled in Australian schools from next year.

The AEU proposal acknowledges Ms Bishop's argument that current pay structures offer little incentive for good teachers to stay in the job, as many reach a salary ceiling after a relatively short time.

"While salary increments for beginning teachers are essential to recognise growing skills and knowledge, there is no career option for teachers but to move to administrative and leadership roles after approximately eight to 10 years," it says.

AEU president Pat Byrne said the union still opposed Ms Bishop's "cash-for-grades" plan to pay teachers performance bonuses based on their students' academic achievements.

Such schemes had failed virtually everywhere they had been tried, she said.

"This framework aims to solve the problem that around half of Australian teachers are already at the top of their pay scale and they have few career options to keep them in the profession," Ms Byrne said.

"It's about recognising our experienced teachers and improving their working conditions to make sure they want to stay in the classroom."

Cheers, people
Stephen Loosley
Victoria, Australia

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