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Unions walk out of the stone ages on performance pay.



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THE HON TONY SMITH MP S H A D O W M I N I S T E R F O R E D U C A T I O N , A P P R E N T I C E S H I P S & T R A I N I N G F E D E R A L M E M B E R F O R C A S E Y

M E D I A R E L E A S E

TSE038/08 Monday, 4 August 2008

UNIONS WALK OUT OF THE STONE AGES ON PERFORMANCE PAY

The Australian Education Union (AEU) has finally woken up and acknowledged the need to attract and retain quality teachers with incentives like performance pay, the Shadow Minister for Education, Apprenticeships and Training, Tony Smith, said today.

Mr Smith said he welcomed the fact the AEU had come out of the stone ages and was at least now talking about performance pay for teachers.

“This is in stark contrast to the union’s previous opposition to any form of performance based pay,” Mr Smith said.

“However, I am concerned that the AEU’s proposal would mean that more than half of the nation’s teachers would qualify for this ‘professional pay’.

“Performance pay should be for those who actually perform at the highest level and should be something teachers strive towards - it shouldn’t be easy for anyone and everyone to qualify.”

Mr Smith said that any model of performance pay for teachers would need to be rigorous and competitive and not simply mean more pay for the majority without improved outcomes.

“Any model for performance pay must create incentives to attract the best and brightest into teaching and encourage the best to stay,” Mr Smith said.

“The best teachers need to be rewarded for more than just professional development courses and tertiary qualifications, but real evidence of lifting student results and improving learning outcomes.

“If the AEU and the state governments hadn’t been opposed to performance pay for so many years then we wouldn’t have many of the problems with teacher shortages and quality that we have today.”

Mr Smith said an Australian Council for Educational Research survey of 12,000 teachers earlier this year found more than 70 per cent of teachers believed there should be higher pay based on competence and performance.

“It is at least a good sign that the AEU has got its head out of the sand, is following the rest of the world and is at least now in touch with what teachers and parents want,” Mr Smith said.

Media Contact: Rhiannon Keen, ph: 0438 316 505