Governments plan to victimise teachers

Issue 

Governments plan to victimise teachers

By Sean Healy

Under the guise of offering teachers and schools greater "freedom" and raising the status of teachers, the federal government has launched a campaign to push teachers onto performance-based contracts.

Couched as a way of "rewarding good teachers and quality teachers", the move by minister for schools, vocational education and training Dr David Kemp is part of a wider attempt to impose individual contracts throughout the public sector. This will reduce pay, conditions and workers' industrial strength.

Similar attacks are being launched at the state level. NSW education minister John Aquilina is considering proposals that would give school principals greater powers to discipline and even sack "poor" teachers. Principals would no longer be obliged to put teachers on improvement programs before moving against "inefficient" teachers.

The plans in both NSW and federally have been condemned by education unions and community groups. Performance-based contracts, and more disciplinary powers for principals, as well as attacking the conditions and job security of education workers, also undermine education.

"Teachers require a great deal of stability in terms of their employment if they're going to work effectively with kids", Ros Brennan, chairperson of the NSW Parents and Citizens' Association, commented.

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