More whining teachers

They're Prima Donnas worldwide. Check Wisconsin, NYC and Britain, for instance

TEACHERS have rejected a pay deal from the Queensland Government and are planning to rally outside State Parliament in a fortnight.

The Queensland Teachers Union issued a newsflash yesterday telling its members they had rejected an enterprise bargaining package, which included a 2.7 per cent pay rise per annum over the next three years.

The union has raised concerns over what the Department of Education, Training and Employment "requires" to be removed from its current certified agreement as part of the enterprise bargaining offer.

Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek said classroom teachers would earn up to $90,238 a year, graduate teachers up to $61,636 a year and principals up to $147,981 a year under the agreement.

Graduate teachers would be kept at the same classification for three years before being eligible to access annual increments.

The QTU warns pay progression "would require certification by principals of teachers' satisfactory conduct, diligence and efficiency rather than increments being held by exception as is currently the case".

Mr Langbroek said: "The salary increase of 2.7 per cent a year promises an increase in real wages with the annual national inflation rate currently just 1.6 per cent (CPI year to march quarter 2012).

"It is a fair offer in the current economic climate, particularly given the job security that teachers enjoy."

But the QTU has warned beginning teachers would lose more than $6000 over the life of the agreement, while "items" like class sizes they had fought for would be removed and "considered matters of policy to be determined by the department".

"Examples of items suggested by the department which are better determined by policy are: class sizes; remote area incentive scheme ... workload management and work/life balance; job security; conversion to permanency of temporary teachers ... policy can be changed at any time by the government and department without consultation with teachers and principals.

"These issues have been included in agreements over the past 18 years as a protection against unilateral change by government or department. The entitlements won over six EB campaigns and more now become uncertain."

The QTU newsflash states it will be seeking a permit for an after-school rally outside Parliament on June 19 or 20.


Dumb teachers

ABOUT one in 10 high school graduates who took up teaching courses this year had an OP 17 or worse. Overall Positions (OPs) range from one, the highest, to 25, the lowest, and are used to rank students wishing to be admitted for tertiary education.

The revelation follows concerns new teachers are graduating without basic numeracy and literacy skills and that universities are churning out too many graduates despite an oversupply of primary school teachers in Queensland.

A report this year revealed more than 12,000 primary school and 4000 other teachers were seeking work with Education Queensland in January.

In submissions to the Productivity Commission for a Schools Workforce report released in April, the Department of Education, Training and Employment said it had concerns about the imbalance of graduate primary school teachers, while the Queensland Catholic Education Commission said it was concerned the oversupply could lead to "a decrease in the quality of teaching graduates".

Figures released to The Courier-Mail by the Queensland College of Teachers revealed 11.8 per cent of high school graduates who entered teaching courses this year had an equivalent of an OP 17 or worse, and about 3.6 per cent had an OP of 20 to 25.

QCT director John Ryan said higher education institutions providing teacher education "must provide extra tuition to any student who needs support in literacy or numeracy".

But he said the Queensland school-leaver figures were better than those nationwide. "As a percentage, Queensland had more students with higher entry scores and less people at the lower end of the scale than the rest of Australia entering teacher education. "This data only applies to school-leavers and accounts for approximately 50 per cent of people entering teacher education."

The revelation came as recommendations to introduce a pre-registration test aimed at improving the quality of teaching graduates has been postponed for a second time because of concerns over cost.

Controversial recommendations made to the Bligh government aimed at lifting teacher standards, including enforcing a better alignment between demand and supply by limiting practicum (practical experience) places, are also in limbo, with their fate yet to be decided by the Newman Government.


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