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Inside Teaching : April 2010
www.atra.edu.au | firstname.lastname@example.org PROFESSION 19 Workplace Relations Julia Gillard said the Rewarding Quality Teaching report offered a basis for the reform of teacher remuneration arrangements in each state and territory. She stopped short of accepting its recommendations, but did observe that it ‘will inform the development and implementation of new teacher pay arrangements.’ Meanwhile, the newly-established Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership has released draft teaching standards for public consultation. Those draft teaching standards, roughly following the five stages of teacher expertise described by Steve Dinham, specify the skills and knowledge expected of graduate, competent, highly-accomplished and leading teachers in terms of subject content, pedagogy and professional development. The idea is that the graduate and competent levels will apply to all new teachers, while the highly-accomplished and leading teacher levels will be voluntary for experienced teachers. on similar teaching standards across jurisdictions. The report sits comfortably with the findings in How the World’s Best Performing School Systems Come Out On Top, a report by Michael Barber and Mona Mourshed, partners in the McKinsey and Company management consultancy. Barber and Mourshed conclude that systems where students consistently perform better than their peers in international testing have three things in common: • they recruit the right people to become teachers • they provide effective professional development for these people, and • they have systems in place to ensure that every student receives excellent instruction. Looking for a fourth dot point on teacher evaluation measured by student achievement? Absent. Professional associations in the US have spent years working hard to develop professional standards, but changes to the No Child Left Behind Act that reflect the Race to the Top emphasis on teacher evaluation measured by student achievement may well leave them flat footed. Bear in mind though, that with 124,000 or so public schools fragmented across 14,000 school districts, plus 28,000 or so private schools in the US, the attempt by Obama and his Secretary of Education to overhaul education and address teacher quality at the federal level is likely to be a long haul. If there’s one thing that US politicians and educators will need, whichever model eventuates, it’s grit. Credit where credit’s due In Australia, there’s a good chance that policymakers will take a standards- based approach. Speaking last August, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Education, Employment and While the registration or accreditation of teachers remains a state or territory responsibility, those draft teaching standards emanate from a Commonwealth, state and territory government agreement in January 2009 – the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) national partnership agreement on improving teacher quality – to create a system of national accreditation of pre-service teacher education courses; national consistency in teacher registration; and national consistency in the accreditation or certification of accomplished and leading teachers. If this sees the light of day as a means by which teachers and school leaders can progress through a system of standards it will, in anyone’s terms, result in a standards-based national certification system. Where does differential remuneration fit in? That’s the big question. Dinham and co-authors Lawrence Ingvarson and Elizabeth Kleinhenz addressed that in Investing in Teacher