9 August 2006

ACT Teachers Revolting

| johnboy
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The ABC informs us that,never likely to give a sucker an even break, the teachers are going on strike for more pay while education remains a hot-button issue.

Predictably they’re trying to drag school closures into the mix.

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Yes it would, but most get 90K+ depending on the size of their school.

ACTDET needs to lessen the reins.

Well stage 2 would be offering principals real money for the performances of their schools as a whole.

That’ll get them staying home and taking an interest.

You won’t get any of that until the older teachers shuffle off.

Principals are rarely in their schools so they wouldn’t have a clue as to who is a good teacher or a bad one.

They’re more admin types than teachers anymore. Blame ACTDET for taking them out of the schools 98% of the time.

Ergo, principals aren’t equipped to make that decision until they spend at least 50% of their time in the school.

Out of all of this dross there’s but one gem of sensibility …

“The best way to reward teachers would be to let principals pay what they want to get the people they want.”

JB’s nailed it. Give good managers the ability to bring the right people around them to deliver what they’re paid to do. Sure the union will squeal like the pig that it is about it, but they don’t give a toss about the kids.

The older teachers won’t have it. They control the AEU with their numbers.

Last school I worked at I was regularly scored on my performance by a member of an independent quality audit team who sat in on my lessons.

Don’t see why that won’t work in the current system…


AWAs. Too much to read Thumper. But the union can do SFA if an individual employee approaches the Education Dept and asks for an AWA. It just needs the guts of Barr to give it a go.

AWAs are not for everyone. In my Dept some people have got them, others are entitled to have one but dont want to bother, even though they could get a 10% pay rise for nothing.

Special G, particularly maths and science teachers.

They get more money elsewhere than in the classroom.

The only people who get into teaching are those that do it for the job as opposed to the monetary rewards. I have known people to work in the public service, get paid $55K/yr do do bugger all with less responsibility, and no qualifications. Yet teachers firstly need to spend 4 years at Uni, then get paid crap for the job they do.

Having dinner with friends, one who works in govt IT said his budget was $X mil per year for hardware. My wife is a teacher and gets a class budget of $200 per year.

Its the same with any job, if you want to attact the best people pay the best wages. Unfortunately the Education Dept is not doing that and as such people are leaving to find other employment, with higher wages, less responsibility and stress.

Right, I was at work Ari, not sitting on my arse searching the net like you.

Thumper – shitty day at work thanks to Exec staff.

Atm I am teaching 7 classes (out of 8). I have around 160-170 students I see each week at least 3 times a week (depending on the 8 day cycle).

In the Non-Govt system, 6 classes is considered “fulltime”. So what does that make me?

In the Govt system it is 5 classes (atm awaiting new EBA).

So I teach 2 more classes (approx 50 students) than my friends in the Govt system.

I won’t be participating in the strikes because 1) I don’t do that and 2) I am in a different system this year.

Last semester I had no student who received an “E” from me. They worked their arses off and got assistance when necessary. No complaints from parents and I do have difficult students as well as great ones.

Ok, just got home and really not in the mood for BS.

Most peoples PB’s are still related to key measurable targets – did you achieve this ? So either you come up with quantifiable measures to use as basis for a bonus or you open yourself up for criticism by using your own judgement.

Like all work environments there are those that should be rewarded, those that did their job and those that are a waste of space. Question is how do you reward those that deserve it and be able to back it up ?

Most people can use reason to determine if a person deserved a bonus, the potential issue is primarily the “how come they got more then me”

Sorry must have missed the bit about linking salary to CPI.

I think that teachers should be accountable for the things that are within their control to effect. The community paying for their services should demand this accountability. But determining where the teacher has been able to help/hinder students and determining other factors as well (eg home life, Dept Ed policies (see Curriculum Renewal), Commonwealth Gov programmes…) is going to be tricky. Rewarding teachers for achievements they didn’t really contribute towards or punishing teachers who were victims of bad luck is only going to add to community frustration on the issue(s) of funding and pay.

Exactly. Possibly on the recommendations of, say, head teachers. People are in positions of responsibility for a reason. Giving them statistical figleaves to pretend that they’re not excerising authority when they patently are is silly in the extreme.

It’s how my performance bonus system works – my supervisor assesses my performance, and either decides I’m eligable for one or I’m not. Why make stuff up that complicates the issue?

There’s obviously more to the story than simple statistics, which is why we separate outcomes (typically statistical) from the objective (we love our teacher, for example). It shouldn’t be that hard to define a range of performance metrics and then apply them.
I still think that we (as a society) may be scared of rating our teachers, for fear that some might get their feelings hurt.

yeah I know stats can easily be misconstrued so we leave up to say the principals to offer PB’s presumably they know the teachers well enough…

That’s not what I said. I mean that those in charge use their subjective judgement to decide who’s good, who’s bad, and to reward or fire accordingly. Not stack up bogus statistics that don’t mean anything and are easily distorted.

Absent Diane3:54 pm 09 Aug 06

i actually thought his full name was pavlovsdog. guess i didn’t pay enough attention…

Different teachers with different approaches will get different results out of different kids (i promise I won’t use the word diff… again)…

I remember when I was at highschool/college 10/11 years ago…. some teachers would just no how to get the right results out of me, and generally my best was always better than everyone else’s best… if other teachers didn’t engage me properly then I would fail miserably… it’s not the teachers fault that they were boring text book whores… but they should also claim some responsibility as well… but all things said and done it is extremely difficult to grade a teachers performance in those terms.

I never said decrease pay. I said increase their pay to the CPI and give them a PB.. How does that correlate to pay decrease in real terms ?

thats cool. We will accept that what defines a good or bad teacher is all subjective, offer no incentive for ‘good’ teachers at all – be that PB’s, incentives to go to those poorly performing schools or anything else since we aren’t going quantifiably measure what constitutes a good teacher and give them all salaries for turning up and ‘doing their job’. Lets just hope that the ‘bad’ teachers will whittle away through natural selection.. and wait for the union to rear its head demanding more money every couple of years 🙂

Snahon, I don’t understand how you don’t care about YOUR education system (ie – you pay for it, you benefit from it either indirectly through interactions with people who have brains, or directly as a student/parent of student) but asking teachers to be have their pay decrease in real terms is pretty rough.

Are teacher salaries already so generous that people are falling over themselves to get into the profession for the money?

Do you want your community to be largely educated by the people who are in teaching because its the only profession that will take them?

Some kids are just dumb. Some kids have poor nutrition. Some kids have dumb parents. Some children have no bed time and play on the computer all the time. The best teacher in the world won’t be able to engage them. And sadly there are more of these kids all the time.

Absent Diane3:25 pm 09 Aug 06

the best way to do it would be to feed them snacks everytime they do something right. It reinforces good behaviour. Eventually you may be able to get them to roll over.

What I’m pointing out, I suppose, is that assesment of Teacher success or otherwise is not an objective measure – it’s subjective (since there’s too many variables). Choosing student success (or otherwise) as a key metric leads to bad results – along the lines of something like “Glengarry Glen Ross” in the classroom, except rather than chasing good leads, the teachers will be chasing good students. And this kind of cut-throat attitude will leave the not-so-bright kids in a significant hole.

My alternative is simple – accept that judgment of who is and who isn’t a good teacher is a subjective judgement, and use your freaking judgement. Don’t try to misuse statistics for purposes they were never intended to fulfil.

OMG I must be psychic…

Looks like there’s other folk who support the idea of performance based pay for teachers…

I rate her highly also.


I know it was flawed metrics but it seems no one else here has better suggestions – no wait – any suggestions.

as for some have work to do – does that mean you are incapable of thinking about a topic whilst “working” or is it just easier to poke others ?

personally i couldn’t give a rats what happens to the ACT public education system or its teachers pays and conditions but all you will be moaning when your tax dollars are spent on increasing teachers pay and taken from somewhere else to fund it.

James-T-Kirk2:06 pm 09 Aug 06

25 out of 10… with extra points still available.

And I support her in any action she chooses to take with those scumbags at the education dept.

And yes, everything can be measured. You just have to create an appropriate measurement.

J-T-K: isn’t your wife a teacher? Care to rate her?

So let’s unflaw the metrics? Should we be measuring on something other than outcomes? Surely student performance is an outcome, what’s wrong with at least including some outcome based measurement?
How do we incentivise teachers is we pay them all the same regardless of their performance? Are we so scared of saying that one teacher performs higher than another?
I think metrics are a top idea, and making excuses for not using them merely increases our acceptance of mediocrity.

James-T-Kirk2:02 pm 09 Aug 06

Bring back the Blue book, then it will all be better!!!!

Then we will be in the 1950’s (Just like QLD). I seem to remember a great article about how a 1950’s housewife was expected to behave. Hmmmm. That would be nice.
Unfortunately my wife suggested i ^%@$#@% off when I held up the article, and the little maids outfit.

… or alternatively, he’s just grumpy.

I think JB’s suggestion was that there is no simple, easily quantifiable metric that says “yes, this teacher is more worthy than that one”. And you proved him right by proposing very flawed metrics.

some of have work to do numbnut.

My point exactly VY, it was a suggestion that I knew wasn’t perfect but merely a start that I hoped would provoke thought on how to measure a teachers performance. Johnboy asked me for a method for quantifying peformance and I delivered – to wish it would seem got rather upset when I asked him if he was going to make one as well or just comment on mine.

James-T-Kirk1:49 pm 09 Aug 06

“A smart kid with involved parents will usually do fairly well.

A dopier kid with uninterested parents will not.”

This is probably the basis for much of the grief that is in society.

Castrations should be mandatory of the truly dumb parents. Perhaps society could take the kids off the dumb ones, and give them a propper upbringing.

Yes, That’s it!

Turf them into the pubic service (yes, that’s spelt correctly)? Great – more lazy carbon-filled blobs breathing our air.

James-T-Kirk1:41 pm 09 Aug 06


Poor teachers are worse than pooh!

As I have said time and time again. Attract *good* teachers by offering real money. Put in place performance measures. Turf the slackers out into the public service where they belong.

And I still rekon that the teachers should be pushing for 9% this year, and next year they should consider their options.

The ACT department of Education should be considered a hostile employer, and they should threat those schmuks as such.

What are you saying? Poor teachers are poo?

A smart kid with involved parents will usually do fairly well.

A dopier kid with uninterested parents will not.

Judging the teacher’s involvement in this isn;t at all easy. Possibly the best source of judgement is involved parents (in the nature of Parents and Citizens groups).

James-T-Kirk1:37 pm 09 Aug 06

Good thing I can spell … Replace poos with poor…

Wow, I come back from lunch and find a very interesting discussion…
Personally I see nothing wrong with attaching performance metrics to teachers – we just need to make sure the performance metrics accurately reflect what teachers need to be doing in classrooms. What snahon suggests is a great start, if anyone has anything else to add, let’s hear it!
Oh, and FWIW, I think having the best teachers assigned to the worst students is a great way to encourage the better students into private education.

James-T-Kirk1:35 pm 09 Aug 06


No AWA’s. Then these poos souls have their wages and conditions set by some dumb schmuck, and can’t negotiate it for themselves.


Thumper says:

Oh, and the teachers union is one serious hard core mob. There is no way known that they would allow AWAs or anything like that to creep in.

In my opinion, a seriously underestimated reason for why parents are sending their kids to private schools.

Here is a disucssion paper for the measuring of science teachers.

This from Michael Dunkin.

It doesn’t matter whether its all or some since the general principle is the same either way likewise who cares if it was state based or commonwealth but you are right the teachers union is one tough nut that would never crack on allowing PB’s.

She’s on strike

I wasn’t making statements about you. I was asking you a question – do you just report or are you willing to offer a suggestion (on this topic of course)

Unfortunately a one size fits all you can offer provided the basis of it sound and reasonable. Nothing is perfect but you can at least develop systems and practices that will generally produce good results and reward those who care enough to put extra effort it.

I never said my suggesting was perfect. So how do you measure a teachers ability to actually teach ? or do we just give this cross-section of the employment spectrum any amount of money they always want because “its too difficult”

Students will respond positively to a “good” teacher, irrespective of whether their bogan parents let them play xbox all day.

Any topic is only as interesting as the teacher makes it. Poor teachers will make it boring and subsequently get poor results. Good teachers will make it interesting and students will learn somethng from it – which generally is reflected in their grades.

Snahon you’re giving me the shits today in a very special way I can’t quite put my finger on.

But making statements about me based on your false assumptions is a very good way earn my wrath.

The best way to reward teachers would be to let principals pay what they want to get the people they want.

But the teacher’s unions won’t come at that and any one-size fits all system is going to be gamed to death by the very many duplicitous and dishonest teachers who are sadly out there.

the difficulty in measuring teacher success is that often the little darlings are sent off into the world by bogans with poor parenting skills.

a teacher can only do so much.

is it the teachers fault that mum lets griselda play xbox for 8 hours after school instead of that assignment on the bushman of the kalahari ?

Why is that ? you asked me for a suggestion and yet do not offer anything yourself. Everyone wants everything for nothing and unfortnately the world doesn’t work that way. The world is moving towards an environment where if you want more money, prove you’re worth it and PB’s are a way of offering that.

more likely because i’m not the complete wanker that you’re proving yourself to be.

Again, not perfect but it is more than what you are suggesting – or is that because (i presume) being a reporter you have no opinion on improving things and merely just report ?


A measure of a teachers skill is the ability to see an increase of a students overall performance. ie they were the worse and now they are mid rank (ie a higher ranked result compared their student peers).

Hence they get a bonus because they don’t just show at “work” and “teach” they must actually be connecting with their students and the students have responded to them.

Then from that, you can say this teacher does a good job, their students are performing better now they they were before.

From that you can then identify those teachers and offer them incentives to go teach at a school or take over classes where there is little or no positive gain in performance of a bunch of students.

Hence the best performing teachers be the get the best pay and are encouraged to take a “riskier” assignment with incentives to teach elsewhere.

How about a weighted measure of peer review and student evaluation?

It’s not fair to base teacher performance solely on whether students like them, but I would think that in general, if a student respects a teacher’s ability the teacher would get a better score.

No need to use absolute exam performance as the teachers’ KPI, but improvement over time.

You’re both measuring students.

we need a way to measure teachers.

because the bottom performing students need the best teachers, not the least paid.

Qualitatively measure the students on good social skills ie use manners, politeness and respect to others, ability to interact positively with others.

Quantitatively :

Rank the students compared to everyone else on test scores for each subject. At the end of the year re-rank them and if that student’s over all position is better then previously, that teacher is more likely to get a performance bonus.

Take the collective sums of the changes and apply the good ‘ol bell curve and std deviation to determine PB’s.

Sure its not perfect but at least thats a start 🙂

Exams.. You cant use them anymore… what about the poor darlings that don’t perform well under pressure… nice to see that their schooling is preparing them so well for the real world!

got a method for quantifying performance?

Teacher always want more money.. every friggin year or two they go on strike for more pay.

Wouldn’t it be *easier* to increase their pay at CPI index and offer individual based performance bonuses based on the outcomes of their students. There’s radical thinking.

No wait that won’t work, cause they’ll blame funding problems, or social issues or resources problems for failures.

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