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White-collar, middle-class snobbery?

By LG 18 August 2006 77

ABC reports Stanhope accusing teachers and the Council of Parents and Citizens Associations of white-collar, middle-class snobbery after they accused the Government of being prepared to spend money on the dragway but not education.

I’d hardly expect to see Stanhope hanging with the hoons on a friday night!

It seems our CMs first reaction in any situation these days is to attack.

Now, I’m actually not against some school closures personally – I personally think Canberra suburbs are too small and that each doesn’t need its own school. I also think that teachers pay increases (above CPI) should also include productivity gains – my understanding is that the teacher’s claims are for the same pay as NSW but not the same work. I’m happy to be proven wrong.

However, I do agree with claims about the government’s spending priorities. Dragway, busway and ESPECIALLY the arboretum.

But hey..

What’s Your opinion?


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White-collar, middle-class snobbery?
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nyssa76 10:23 pm 27 Aug 06

vg, I love my job.

You love yours.

You knowingly go to work with the possibility that you could be shot at, knifed, bashed etc.

In the past five years I’ve gone to work knowing that there are students in the system who could and have bashed teachers, held knives to their throats (and opened scissors) and stalked them.

When you “sign up” as a teacher, you sure as hell don’t sign up for that. Nor do you, when you contact the police re: drugs in schools, attempts with knives/scissors or teachers being bashed, expect them to tell you that it is a school matter and leave it at that.

Btw, Haggar is a fuckwit. I don’t like him or his incessant need to fulfil the wishes of older teachers at the expense of the newer teachers who will “hopefully” stay in the job for years to come but most likely will leave the job for better pay and more respect.

You can call it whinging if you want but miz is right. How many pollies went into a classroom and taught? None. Why? Because they couldn’t do it if they tried.

miz 10:09 pm 27 Aug 06

Vg, how is it ‘whinging’ to make a stand and make a case for something you believe is fair and just?

You know how some pollies stepped into a Real Job the other day – eg Peter Garrett was in a takeaway I think – did any pollie do teaching? (I doubt it, way too hard and too easy to look like a goose-though I would so like to have seen Julie Bishop trying!)

And I would say farmers get way more press than teachers and nurses put together . . .

vg 8:55 pm 27 Aug 06

And stop your incessant wailing about the situation you knowingly placed yourself in.

Next time your floating around Canberra’s streets at 3am on a winter’s morning you may feel the pain of others. Well it would be pain but we don’t whinge about it. Its part and parcel of our job. I’ve missed major family eventsm, had planned holidays cancelled, gone days without sleep, and seen my family for no more than an hour a day for a week on many more than one occasion.

But guess what, its an ‘occupational hazard’ of what I do. I knew it would be like that when I joined. If it becomes too hard I will get another job, but I love the one I have too much

vg 8:51 pm 27 Aug 06

Treated the worst my arse.

No other occupations, bar pollies themselves, get the amount of press and governmental attention. None.

I know nothing about the nature of many of their disputes, but I can name Haggar and Duff as the leading union figures on both sides. If I can do that then someone’s getting more than their fair share of press

nyssa76 5:44 pm 27 Aug 06

By the way the Stanhope Government is right – ACT teachers are at the top end of pay scales compared to their colleagues in other jurisdictions.

Not anymore, we are behind NSW which is why the ACT is losing teachers to NSW.

Pupil Free Days haven’t existed in the ACT since 1999 – the first EBA to introduce teacher transfers (across the ACT).

Two teachers (not uncommon) on the top of the range (without promotion) easily pull in a lot more more than six figures per annum, they can pick up their own kids straight after school and have ALL the school holidays completely covered. Good luck to them. But the rest of us in the community find the long breaks difficult.

Top of the scale atm is $68k. You get there after 8+yrs. I pick my children up at 5:30 and 6pm respectively.

If you find the long breaks between school years difficult then you shouldn’t have had children. I spend 18hrs a day (6hrs sleep) with children. I spend every holidays with my children and programme around them. I also have to go to PDs and when that happens my mother takes them as the school holiday programs are too full from parents who’d rather stick their kids in the program every day of the holidays than spend 6hrs with their children a day playing or just talking to their kids.

pubilus, my husband is in the navy and has spent a grand total of 16days in the ACT (coming directly off the ship from Sydney, on a bus to see us). Effectively I am an only parent who works fulltime, marks at home so I can actually sit down and eat dinner with my children before I complete my work.

I don’t like leaving them in aftercare and daycare until 5:30pm but my workload dictates it – I get 70% done from 3:15pm until 5:15pm. Luckily for me I work 15 mins from my youngest daycare.

that terrible word discipline that no-one likes to talk about.

Non-Govt schools have a hard time with students too. They just don’t “talk” about it or have to because they aren’t a Govt school.

Several Non-Govt schools in the ACT have palmed off their “worst” to another Non-Govt school, which has then done the same and so on it goes.

If they went into the Govt system, provided they live in area, they would never be “expelled” because that doesn’t exist anymore. Blame the bleeding hearts.

Every child is entitled to an education, yes. But every child is also entitled to a safe and happy learning environment.

See Chief Numpty to complain about that one.

nyssa76 5:33 pm 27 Aug 06

Teachers and nurses, the 2 biggest whingeing set of employees on the planet

You forgot to mention they are also treated the worst, vg. But I’d expect nothing else from you.

miz, now it’s a 4yr degree for all new teachers in the Non-Govt system.

And you’re right re: Pupil Free Days. They only occur in the Non-Govt system here in the ACT.

So why aren’t people “bitching” about that??? Hrmmmmm….

And yes Non-Govt schools get a lot from the Feds. They have (here in the ACT) also used the ISS (Interest Subsidy Scheme) to build new buildings i.e. gyms, and yes, we the taxpayer pay the “interest”. See, the schools send off the paperwork to the ACT Dept every 6 months to say “can we get this money back?” and the Govt gives it to them with a little help from DEST (Federal).

I worked on this too last year. It hasn’t changed and although the ISS is now defunct, schools will still be able to claim any and all interest until the debt is repayed.

vg 3:00 pm 27 Aug 06

I’d love to have a ‘crook free’ day at work

miz 1:28 pm 27 Aug 06

Re official Pupil free days – these were signed away years ago (compared with NSW who have one on the first day of every term). This is one reason why there are differences in term dates across the border. In-service etc in the ACT is done during the school hols.
I’ve been back in the ACT since 1999. Perhaps Publius you are thinking of another kind of leave?

As for Al’s point about govts funding ‘choice’ in education, it’s interesting how different countries assist in ensuring all children participate in compulsory education. In the US, they have gone down a different path to Australia – if education is compulsory, we will not only fund it, we will also provide meals and bus transport! Both there and in the UK (similar jurisdictions to ours), private schools attract no public funding. But here, god knows why, the govt feels it is OK to give disproportionate financial support to private corporations (private schools, private health funds, private hospitals, etc etc) to the detriment of the public schemes that are in place for everyone. This encourages a two-tier system (‘choice’, if you prefer newspeak) which, frankly, only encourages snobbery and disdain, from those who think they are somehow better people for choosing private, towards those who utlise government-run facilities. It does not ‘help’ the public system to abandon it, though this is often justified as ‘saving the public purse’. In the long run, it is whiteanting, it is very short-term policy and it will leave no decent legacy for the next generation.

vg 8:30 am 27 Aug 06

I love to hear the whingeing and moaning about how people have to do some work outside of their ‘core’ hours. Guess what? Its an unfortunate part of life nowadays so get over it.

FFS, in the last month I have worked about 60hrs in excess of my ‘core’ hours. Thats an extra week and a half. It’s part of what I do.

If teachers don’t like what they’re doing that much then change jobs, God knows I would.

Teachers and nurses, the 2 biggest whingeing set of employees on the planet

publius 8:24 am 27 Aug 06

Miz – my son left primary school 4 years ago. They had pupil free days then. With respect that is not that long ago.

You indicate your sister gets home before 5 – that is her choice. That supports my point. Go to the car park at your local primary school and see how many cars are there at 4.15pm. That early departure is simply not available to many in the community on equivalent wages let me assure you. If the teachers stayed until 5.00-5.30pm they would get most of their marking done. That has been my experience having been in a teaching role.

As to marketing, I repeat many of my son’s male teachers who were on the top of the salary range (just short of an EL1 in the public service- ie pretty good money) did not pay much attention to the way they presented themselves. I repeat that is not good marketing of themselves or their school. Non Government schools have a strong dress code. If you think how you look at work doesn’t matter, you will have a great life earning relatively low wages. Appearances count – sorry.

The plain fact is the average age of teachers in the ACT is high and increasing. That tells us that it can’t be too bad as there is not a lot of movement out of that profession. Think about it. Two teachers (not uncommon) on the top of the range (without promotion) easily pull in a lot more more than six figures per annum, they can pick up their own kids straight after school and have ALL the school holidays completely covered. Good luck to them. But the rest of us in the community find the long breaks difficult.

By the way the Stanhope Government is right – ACT teachers are at the top end of pay scales compared to their colleagues in other jurisdictions.

Big Al makes a good point about funding. You need to check the figures very closely regarding the amounts provided to government and non government schools. There is a mix of funding by governments and in the last federal election there was some mischievious use of statistics to attack non government schools.

The argument that if government schools were appropriately funded it would all be fine overlooks a whole lot of issues that explain why the non-government sector is growing at the expense of the government sector. To most parents it is about values – and it is about things like “attitude” at the school – maybe access to religious instruction- and that terrible word discipline that no-one likes to talk about.

Whether people like it or not the fact is the entry score to undertake teaching at a tertiary institution these days is pretty low (compared to the past). This will add to the battle for government schools to present an alternative to non-government schools (who will offer above market rates to attract teachers).

Big Al 6:59 am 27 Aug 06

“We have had JWH chucking cash at the non-govt sector for ten years.” Miz – I think that it’s a bit rich to try and criticise the Howard Government for funding choice in education – especially given that the Commonwealth (on both sides) has been making resources available to non-government schools for a lot longer than 10 years.

miz 11:04 pm 26 Aug 06

Publius, your experiences must be from quite a few years ago as there are no pupil free days in the ACT and have not been for years.

My experience is that almost all the teachers I have come across (in the public system) are very vocational about their job. Also my sister is a high school teacher here in the ACT, and I assure you she often gets no lunch break as she is immersed in extra-curricular activities. While she gets home to her children earlier than 5 if she can – many parents choose the profession because of this – she has hours of work at night and on weekends doing marking/class prep. She loves her job. She deserves to be paid properly and not have the govt bitching and moaning about what should be a simple CPI increase.

As for ‘second-rate degrees’, I understand that the public system requires a four-year degree unlike the private system where three years is acceptable. This may be the Catholic system, perhaps Nyssa you are more across this aspect?

Clearly everything Publius is criticising (meeting presentations and handouts, jeans (!), shiny shoes (!), discipline issues) comes down to marketing. We have had JWH chucking cash at the non-govt sector for ten years. It’s hard for public schools to market themselves when their every cent is accounted for and must be seen to be for educational purposes. (They cannot afford to hire a marketing firm, for example). Parents ALL want the best for their children and naturally they want to go where the resources are perceived to be.

If Govt schools were funded properly this whole issue would be irrelevant. PS Voluntary contributions are VOLUNTARY . . . and there is a school of thought (I am not saying I agree totally but I can see the point) that says that if nobody paid the contributions, governments (both State and Fed) would get a true indication of what they Really should be spending on educating their most valuable ‘resource’ – children.

seepi 5:27 pm 26 Aug 06

Closing the preschools which are not that expensive to run is a real backward step.
From the wellbeing manifesto:
“The manifesto states that each dollar invested in early-childhood education and care, saves up to seven dollars by avoiding costs associated with crime, unemployment, remedial education and welfare payments.”

publius 3:08 pm 26 Aug 06

Nyssa 76 – whether you like it or not, you can count on one hand the number of your colleagues on deck at 5.00pm at schools. That is a fact. By the way, many of us hold jobs that require finishing well after 5.00pm to keep up with things (sure it comes with the money and the responsibility) and the odd hour or two I might add on weekends. But I’m not playing a violin about that. It is my choice.

Now the appearance of teachers (jeans or not) may not matter to you – fine. Guess what? – it does to others. If that’s a bit old fashioned, fine mea culpa. It does matter to many parents and it does represent an image – rightly or wrongly – to students. I don’t think jeans affect the ability to teach. Actually I didn’t say that. But as with every job, whether you like it or not, appearance matters.

Finally I used to hear the rubbish spoken about hours worked when I was a university lecturer teaching graduates (I had a contract as I had a full time job elsewhere). Most of my colleagues were never seen on Fridays (scarce on Mondays too). Some of the slackest had tenure and never got their essays marked on time and basically lorded it over the students. But that tertiary sector – as Dawkins attempted in the 1980s – is badly in need of a shake up.

The reason why the private school system is expanding and the public school system shrinking is because of choices being made by parents.

CAF – your choice was right for you because it worked out for you. Good on you.

The public school system is doomed unless an attempt is made to address fundamental issues. Sorry Nyssa76 but that is the cold hard reality. The people are voting with their feet so to speak. Stanhope and his team are not addressing the demise of the public school system. Closing 39 schools is not a positive signal for that sector. The unions going on strike is not a good signal to the community either. Things must change.

caf 12:17 pm 26 Aug 06

I looked at starting at a “rather expensive grammar school” in high school, but instead stayed in the public system. Now in my mid 20s, I’m able to look back and say that I made the right choice. My experience is that with both the public and private systems, students get out what they’re prepared to put in. It’s possible to do just as poorly or well in either system.

nyssa76 9:14 am 26 Aug 06

“Male teachers wear jeans”?? WTF?

So what does that have to do with their ability to teach?

“We would hear from some of the primary school teachers we got to know how they work late at night at home marking papers/homework. The fact is most of them had left the school by 4.00-4.15pm. That is their choice. Perhaps it suits their lifestyles or their situation with their own children. The truth is if they stayed at school until 5pm (or later) and did that part of their task they wouldn’t need to take work home and start working after dinner.”

I leave at 5pm. I STILL have marking etc to do. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that I have 7 classes. I like to be 100% prepared for each lesson, so by doing so, at night in the peace and quiet when my children are in bed, I am basically being considered “lazy” (my inference).

I know teachers who have PhDs in the Govt system. I know teachers who have PhDs in the Non-Govt system.

I also know which ones get the best out of the students – and it’s a mix from both systems.

But, I would like to thank you. You’ve made my decision to go back to the Govt system (after a year off) easier. I’ll be going back. It seems that the Govt system is so desperate for teachers that it will even allow it’s staff to wear jeans and leave at 4-4:15pm, unlike the Non-Govt system which enforces morning meetings and even a colour code for your hair when you have it done.

Don’t get me wrong, I love both systems, but if publius is the calibre of parent now in the Non-Govt system, I’m right in that the Govt system is the place to go.

FYI, the EBA is every 3 years. Teachers didn’t go on strike (again) until 2002/2003. They hadn’t gone on strike for several years prior.

Perhaps your son’s primary teachers were 1) sick, 2) on PD or 3) on Long service leave. Then there is always the 4th option (mainly for older teachers who have a shit load of leave up) of taking a “personal” day/week/month.

publius 7:00 am 26 Aug 06

Our son is now at a private school. We made that choice for his high school years and because we were appalled at the quality of primary school teaching at an inner south primary school(near Parliament House). Some teachers had been at that public school for many years. You could tell they paid lip service to any discussions with parents. They wre set in their ways. Many were quite radical and that was reflected in some of the things said/done in the classroom. They were regularly on strike (something seemed to happen every two years or so). It was considered a particularly attractive primary school (for teachers and students). We lived in the suburb and wanted our son to go to his local school. We turned up at the parent teacher night at the beginning of the school year (whole school in the assembly hall). There had been no classes- teachers had been at the pupil free day. This was before the school year commenced. No papers were ready for circulation at the meeting that evening (that occurred during the meeting). The teacher who addressed parents couldn’t string a sentence together. They made it up as they went along. Our son stayed at that local public school for his primary schooling years (we wanted him to stay with his friends). Many of the male teachers wore jeans. We were also amazed at the number of parents who refused to pay a “voluntary” contribution. Troubled kids (read out of control) remained in the school constantly disrupting classes. We would hear from some of the primary school teachers we got to know how they work late at night at home marking papers/homework. The fact is most of them had left the school by 4.00-4.15pm. That is their choice. Perhaps it suits their lifestyles or their situation with their own children. The truth is if they stayed at school until 5pm (or later) and did that part of their task they wouldn’t need to take work home and start working after dinner. By the way I have worked as a Lecturer at one of the local universities. I am familar with aspects of teaching. What do we get at the rather expensive grammar school our son attends? Firstly the teachers have excellent qualifications (quite a few PhDs, many with Hons). I acknowledge that doesn’t necessarily make for good teachers. The teachers dress well. They speak well. They are paid well. They are happy to be there and it shows. They put in extra time with sport and events. There is even some semblance of that word many in the community hate – discipline. But there is pride in the school by those who attend and those who work there. The school emphasises a set of values. Yes – my son has to attend chapel for a short time every week (and I’m glad he does). Students are regularly expelled if they continue to make problems. Issues are dealt with straight away with parents. Students are required to wear their uniform and have clean shoes(there is an area provided for them to clean them). So what is my point? Paying public school teachers more won’t (of itself) make for a better school system. However, combined with other MAJOR much needed reforms, it would. Firstly we should increase the “score” needed to be a teacher. The standard for entry to a teaching course these days is pretty low. It was once a prestigious job and hard to get into. It isn’t any more. There should be more scholarships (to the best high school students). Currently we have too many teachers who have second rate first degrees from second rate Dawkins universities. We should pay many teachers (but not all) a whole lot more. There needs to be a regular performance assessment made of teachers that is fair dinkum. Other things also need to change before there is a major increase in pay. That includes looking at the holiday system for teachers and hours worked at schools. Introduce genuine standards and reforms into the public school system and you can pay good teachers a whole lot more. We’d all accept that. Without these sorts of changes I outlined, the public school system will limp along and there will be a continuing flow of students to private schools.

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