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Merit based pay becomes half arsed banding

By johnboy - 26 May 2009 11

It seems simple enough, pay your talent more to stay.

But the Canberra Times gives an insight into how simple things can go terribly wrong in the totalitarian wasteland of the education system.

    ”The Government won’t agree to an uncapped number of positions at that level [$100,000pa],” Mr Barr said. ”We can’t just write a blank cheque and say anything up to 1500 teachers could be at that level, we will have to set a quota.”

    While Mr Barr would not nominate a total figure for the cap, he said moving 100 teachers to the higher pay rate would cost the Government an additional $2.6million and 200 teachers would increase wages by $5.2million.

Or instead of fiddling endlessly with quotas and criteria we could make principals accountable, give them a budget, and step back. But that would leave hundreds of useless education bureaucrats wandering the streets…

What’s Your opinion?


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11 Responses to
Merit based pay becomes half arsed banding
monomania 6:44 pm 26 May 09

An E for carelessness Monomania. 25 sheets of each and then a number 2 on the cricket pitch.

monomania 5:59 pm 26 May 09

PM said :

In the normal public service (ie TAMS, Defence, etc), one can be promoted over a period of 20 years and benefit from broadbanding. As a teacher, promotions are more limited – certainly not 6 to 12 levels of promotion within a school. Yet, we need incentives to keep experienced teachers working.

That’s quite a pickle.

Of course this has been tried and not too many years ago. A higher classification was called AST (assistant senior teacher?). In most Schools any one who applied was awarded it. It involved an assessment by the Principal or his nominee and the Head of Department but did not require any additional responsibilities.

I believe it would be better to have more grades than Principal, Assistant Principals, Heads of Departments and Teachers and with specific additional roles and supervisory capacity. Experienced teachers who do not take on additional roles can find the job a snack. If additional jobs are picked up there should be pay for it, whether it is by an experienced or less experienced teacher.

The contention that good classroom teachers would stay in the profession if their pay was higher is a dubious. Pay is not why teacher leave. Teachers do have a pay scale that is based on seniority. And if after 8 years they are not prepared to take on additional professional responsibilities they should be prepared to remain on the same pay scale.

The biggest problem in the government school system is that less effective teachers are not removed from the classroom. There should be a process where ineffective teachers can be demoted and placed in situations where they are given the opportunity to be useful but no longer given the opportunity of stuffing up their students. Some might make a fair job of mowing the oval and helping with the photocopying. They would probably be happier. And if they can’t make a go of that be given the bullet.

PM 2:59 pm 26 May 09

In the normal public service (ie TAMS, Defence, etc), one can be promoted over a period of 20 years and benefit from broadbanding. As a teacher, promotions are more limited – certainly not 6 to 12 levels of promotion within a school. Yet, we need incentives to keep experienced teachers working.

That’s quite a pickle.

Kods 2:26 pm 26 May 09

Merit based pay is a serious waste of everyones time.

Lets force more experienced teachers to go to schools where they are needed less, in a higher socio-economic, so that they can get recognised for the efforts they put in.

Sounds like a real winner…..*insert sarcasm*

chrispy 2:14 pm 26 May 09

harley said :

Sorry, JB… You’d actually trust the principals with money and power over the individual teachers? That’s laughable…

Ok, in all fairness, I only have experience with one ACT principal, but he/she is a doozy…

I have to agree. I have many links into the education system and can tell you that at least one principle I know of got there by sleeping with the boss.

Merit based pay really only works in a competitive environment. Public schools aren’t about competition, they are about bringing all students up to a standard so they are able to be useful in the workforce. A great teacher is not likely to be identified in this environment, and it is more likely the suck-ups will get the extra money.

Kods 2:14 pm 26 May 09

Also, 2.6 m could be 2.64m meaning 200 could be 5.3m…

GregW 2:05 pm 26 May 09

Not necessarily, because generally the first 100 teachers might already have been on high wages, whereas the margin between the next 100 could have been wider, but isn’t. So in that sense the information is not necessarily redundant.

GregW 2:02 pm 26 May 09

trevar, you may be interested in reading the Wikipedia article on education vouchers. Some of the highest ranked countries in the world use this approach, or at least within the OECD countries.

weeziepops 1:43 pm 26 May 09

I love the statement that the increase for 100 teachers would cost $2.6M and 200 would cost (wait for it) $5.2M. I had enough confidence in our education system that the average reader would be able to multiply $2.6M by two, but obviously Mr Barr was less certain.

harley 1:31 pm 26 May 09

Sorry, JB… You’d actually trust the principals with money and power over the individual teachers? That’s laughable…

Ok, in all fairness, I only have experience with one ACT principal, but he/she is a doozy…

trevar 10:37 am 26 May 09

I always thought it would make more sense to privatise the entire public education system: put all the schools up for tender, funded for a certain amount per student enrolled, let families select the school that best suits their needs and allow capitalism to do what it does best (ie. make stuff work).

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