The Howard Government’s push for performance pay in schools is an attack on the professionalism of Australia’s teachers that will not improve our education system says the ACTU.
ACTU President Sharan Burrow said today:
“This issue is a smokescreen to cover up for ten years of neglect by the Federal Government.
The Howard Government has done nothing for the educational needs of the majority of Australia’s children except lead an attack on the teaching profession and divert funds to private schools.
“This is the height of hypocrisy from a Government that has inadequately funded public schools for ten years.
“The Howard Government doesn’t care about more money for teachers or more money for public schools.
“If they did, they would not have slashed the share of public school funding over the last ten years. Now, 70 per cent of Australian kids go to schools that get only 35 per cent of federal funds.
“The Howard Government and Julie Bishop are simply attacking teachers to distract from the issue that public schools are now getting $1 billion less per year because of federal funding share cuts.
“The Australian Education Union and the ACTU support accountability and standards, and better pay for teachers.
“There are processes that have been negotiated by teacher unions to deal with under-performing teachers in every State and Territory.
“We don’t support this thinly disguised attempt to bring in AWA individual contracts in schools and the Government’s extreme IR laws that will pit teacher against teacher and exacerbate inequality.
“But instead of addressing the really important issues for Australian students like class sizes, Minister Bishop is trying to push teachers onto individual contracts that will cut conditions and force teachers to compete against each other in the workplace.”