Page 4024 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 16 Sept 2009

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approaches. But we need to be very careful that we do not move from one approach which looks at test results and whether or not the teacher is perceived as being a good teacher to the other tick-a-box approach where you have done a course and that will get you your pay rise.

It has to be a much more sophisticated approach. We do not see any sophistication from this minister except in his line of rhetoric. We have seen it here again today. Again, he wants to talk about it but he does not want to talk about the detail. Let us see the detail. Let us see Andrew Barr get on with paying our best teachers six-figure sums.

MS BURCH (Brindabella) (11.02), in reply: I thank Ms Hunter and Mr Barr for their contributions. I will make some comments on Mr Doszpot’s contribution. He seemed to focus on merit pay. He seems to have dismissed merit-based pay out of hand, but I am sure he has not really looked at the evidence. There may be many possible models for the teaching profession. Merit-based pay for the profession has been considered in a number of recent reports. For example, merit-based pay was canvassed in the Australian Council for Educational Research performance-based research rewards for teachers report, in the 2007 Australian Senate inquiry into the quality of school education and in the House of Representatives committee inquiry report Top of the class. Mr Doszpot assumes the worst without knowing the facts. He plays on fear—the fear of politics. I must admit that I would like to see his policy, his plans and his agenda for teacher quality in the ACT, because they seem to be missing in action.

I want to get back to this government’s policy, what the ACT Labor government is doing. We know that, outside the home, teachers are the most important factor in influencing a child’s education. That is why it is so important to recruit and reward the best and most experienced classroom teachers. Teacher quality is why it is so important to develop a merit-based pay and promotion model for ACT teachers. We need to pay the best classroom teachers $100,000 salaries and reward excellence, hard work and innovation. Teacher quality does matter.

Early this year, Geoff Masters’ report on improving literacy, numeracy and science learning in Queensland primary schools stated:

… the most effective way for education systems to improve achievement levels … is to improve the quality of classroom teaching.

We know we are on the right track in the ACT. A survey of parents, carers, students and staff reveals high levels of satisfaction with the ACT schools and classrooms. Between 2005 and 2008, there was an improvement in satisfaction across all sectors, with over 70 per cent of parents satisfied with the ACT’s primary schools, high schools and colleges. Ninety per cent of students in the primary schools were satisfied with their school; 98 per cent of parents and carers were happy with their child’s preschool experience and early intervention programs.

It also comes to mind that when Mr Doszpot came in here he raised the school closure issue again. Perhaps he needs to reread his statements in the CityNews. When he came to this place, he declared that the school closure debate was over. Perhaps others within his party are telling him and feeding him dorothy dixer lines.

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