education shouldn’t be about the next election, or how to peck teachers to death

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Today is a public holiday in our ever warm state of Queensland. It is May Day, or Labour Day. Last year it was moved to November, because of the political machinations of the previous anti-worker state government. New government and it has been moved back to its rightful place, but the Queen’s Birthday holiday which was in June (despite her birthday being in April) has been moved to November. I gather it was Business who wanted the change as we have all our public holidays in the first half of the year and none in the second half.

Australia is facing a federal election in the next few weeks, so education and teachers are being  used as a political football, as usual. If only the politicians would leave education alone. I am becoming so angry that I feel like becoming an activist, but I have no intention of ruining my own life! Everyone has an opinion about education, but as Professor John Hattie argues, everything works to a degree, even what politicians suggest, but it doesn’t all work with the students or the teachers for the long term good.

Politicians don’t listen to educators, they are just running with the media, and the parents they have panicked, or miseducated in the first place. Teachers want the best for their students, leave education to the experts not the politicians. I know, they won’t listen – never have, never will.

The issue is, no one will want to be in education if everyone keeps picking on the teachers. Stop bullying teachers! Performance pay when you can’t select the students you teach? As though students should have a dollar value over the heads! Teachers forced to teach a curriculum they know is too crowded and too shallow for real learning, that doesn’t equip students for the world they will be living in, and yet we are to be punished if everything fails. No wonder the average career in education is five years (this is my 7th!).

I guess, I am asking that when we hear about testing and standards and performance pay, that we stop and think, and wonder what type of world we want for our children. I don’t think it is this one, and we all need to let our politicians know this. If the “little people” don’t speak up, then they will continue – it is up to us to state our needs and wants, and not let the politicians tell us what we want.

Of course, you could always let me tell you want you need or want!

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