Editorial: If we don’t prioritise education and teaching, then who will?
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 127 No 3, 14 April 2022, page no. 5
There have been so many things this term that have contributed to it feeling like it’s the end of Term 3 rather than the end of Term 1.
For me, one of the things that stands out is the statements made by Acting Education Minister Stuart Robert in which he laid the blame for the failings of the public education system squarely at the feet of teachers and school leaders.
In his statements, he applauded elite private schools and condemned state schools, and he did this in full consciousness of the fact that he was meant to be an Education Minister for “all” of Australia.
In doing so, he sent a clear message to the parents, communities, teachers and school leaders of all of Australia’s state schools that their choice of schooling was somehow inferior to that offered in the private system.
And while his comments were part of the typical bait and switch we’ve come to expect from the federal government, trying to redirect people from seeing the changes to the Australian Curriculum and the $559 million taken from public schools in the recent federal budget, they show what this government really thinks of our profession.
We’ve heard many times how wonderful teachers and school leaders have been during the pandemic, as if COVID-19 has in some way elevated the dedication and commitment that you bring to work every day. We’ve been told that our profession should be thanked and applauded. But words don’t mean anything if they are not supported by action.
When Stuart Robert called state school teachers and school leaders “duds”, at least his words reflected the actions of the government.
We head into this federal election at a time when there is a growing teacher shortage, when NAPLAN has been changed (not in form but in such a way that it will be conducted earlier in the school year and it will be extended beyond literacy and numeracy), when the review of the Australian Curriculum has been proven to be about moving deck chairs around rather than decluttering, and when $559 million ($139 million in 2022-23) has been stripped from state schools in the federal budget.
Somewhere along the line, we need to say enough!
If the people making decisions will not act for our profession, then we need to change those people. The focus of the QTU in this federal election is to call on our members and their families to vote for our profession – because if we don’t prioritise education and teaching, then who will?
Vote for a candidate who commits to:
- investing in state schools and TAFE infrastructure
- funding (fairly) state schools and TAFE
- rejecting invalid measures of teacher, school leader and school performance through standardised testing
- making education policy decisions that are informed by the profession
- considering the expertise, workload and wellbeing of teachers and school leaders when developing education policy
- supporting – not attacking or undermining - the profession, publicly and in private
- recognising teachers and school leaders as frontline workers
- providing professional autonomy in schools and TAFE.
Members who are interested in being involved in the campaign are encouraged to register on the Every School, Every Child and Rebuild with TAFE websites and contact their Organiser for further information.