Sunday, May 28, 2017

Wage rise needed to keep talented teachers in classrooms

Posted by admin on April 7, 2013

Teachers

A push for higher salaries for teachers should spark a national conversation about the recognition of the teaching profession, says Australian Greens spokesperson for Schools, Senator Penny Wright.

“It is wonderful that there is growing recognition of the need to treat teaching as we treat other professions,” Senator Wright said.

“At the moment, teachers reach the highest pay level very quickly and the only way they can advance their careers is to move out of the classroom to administrative roles.

“The Australian Greens know that if we want the best and brightest to be teaching our students, we have to offer career opportunities and incentives to stay in teaching positions.

“Last year, an OECD Education at a Glance report showed that the salaries of experienced teachers in Australia are lagging behind their counterparts in other countries.

“A very large number of prominent institutions, businesses and individuals are calling for a new approach to teacher pay, and I encourage State and Federal Governments to begin this discussion in earnest.

“We need to attract the best to teaching and we need to keep them there once they are in the workforce, which means fair wages, appropriate career structures and support for the challenging work they do.”

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Greens fear TAFE proposals will hurt access for low income students

Posted by Jim on September 21, 2012

The Queensland Greens have expressed alarm at proposals by the Queensland Skills and Training Taskforce to slash the number of TAFE colleges by almost one-half.

Spokesperson, Dr Jim McDonald, said that the performance of the Newman Government in slashing services to communities rang alarm bells for everyone associated with the Vocational and Education Training [VET] sector.

He said that The Greens welcome the objective of adding 10,000 apprentices to the VET sector and increased participation in training for relevant industry skills.

But the Taskforce also recommended corporatising the TAFE sector by setting up a ‘parent entity’ run on commercial principles and downsizing the number of campuses by 46%. That will see the integration of VET into many communities disappear.

Proposals to close down campuses and amalgamate institutions will distance the TAFE system and Vocational and Education Training from the communities they serve especially in regional Queensland,” he said.

Dr McDonald said it is inevitable that the scale of closures proposed will reduce regional student accessibility and, along with the Newman Government’s many other cuts to State service in Queensland communities, further disadvantage young adults from lower income families.

We fear that the Newman Government will raise student fees to pay for the high costs of investing in industry training.

Responding to industry demand requires a high level of investment in updating training for TAFE staff and capital equipment. Meeting workforce demand in industry and the need for timely implementation of new skills programs for new and emerging technologies is costly and Queensland investment in training lags behind all but one State.

The Greens call upon Mr Newman and Mr Langbroek to guarantee that TAFE student fees will not rise to cover institutional costs. Increased fees will further exclude students from low income families.

In the context of the Premier’s rejection of State contributions to the Arts and culture in our communities and his attacks on community programs, The Greens also fear that the LNP Government will slash creative industries programs, including the arts, in the TAFE colleges.

Mr Newman and Mr Langbroek must guarantee the retention of the arts in TAFE programs.”

The Queensland Skills and Training Taskforce Interim Report targets a reduction of campuses in the Fraser Coast and Sunshine Coast from 13 to 8. That can only reduce access within the region and it will affect young people from lower income families the worst.

For the Sunshine Coast, this means questions are raised about the Arts courses at the Noosa campus especially in the light of the Newman Government’s aversion to State funding of the Arts. It also raises questions of what courses might be axed at the Nambour campus. And Newman is not averse to axing frontline staff. So how many TAFE teachers are going to be sacked in this process, which Minister Langbroek and the Premier have indicated they favour?

There is no doubt that a review of TAFE has been necessary but it really needed to deal with the best way of providing relevant courses and maintaining teachers’ trade and professional relevance in a time of changing technologies. TAFE has always had a problem nationally in lagging rather than keeping up with technological developments.

Source: Queensland Skills and Training Taskforce Interim Report, http://training.qld.gov.au/resources/industry/pdf/interim-report-qld-skills-training-taskforce.pdf

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Bob Brown’s budget reply

Posted by Jim on May 14, 2011

Bob Brown’s budget reply can be viewed directly below:

Jim McDonald Greens Spokesperson Wide Bay, 14 May 2011

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Who is rorting the system?

Posted by Jim on October 31, 2010

At the last Federal election the Liberal National parties made a huge play on voters regarding the number of school buildings being built under the Building the Education Revolution (BER) program. They claimed there was massive rorting of the system.

On Thursday this week the Coalition failed in its bid to pass several motions against the Government to establish a judicial inquiry into this program.

Opposition education spokesman Christopher Pyne didn’t even turn up to vote on his own bill to force a judicial inquiry into the Government’s schools building program.

Where is the integrity of this man and his party?

I attended a David Helfgott concert recently in their new school hall built through the BER program at the Christian College and I didn’t hear anyone there complain of this great asset for the community.

St Patrick’s College have a new science wing as no doubt all other schools in our area have positively benefited from this scheme.

Builders and associated businesses were able to maintain workers at a time of global uncertainty. Our community wasn’t dragged down into an unemployment vortex that Mr Pyne and his coalition partners would have had us go through.

No doubt there will be those who say where ‘will the money come from’ to pay for this. Without having access to Treasury data I can’t respond, but one project alone the Chevron Gorgon Project in WA is projected to bring in $50billion to the Australian economy over the next 40 years. One would hope that this one project alone would assist balancing the books.

Are people cynical of politicians?

We have proposed coalmines on our doorstep, coal seam gas projects and potential devastation of some of Australia’s best farmlands.

Is Mr Truss and the coalition or Labor responding to these concerns within the electorate. No!

Kent Hutton, Letter to Editor, Gympie Times, 29 October 2010

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Wide Bay Greens Candidate supports university students

Posted by Jim on July 21, 2010

I have pledged my support for students as follows:

If elected as the member for Wide Bay, I pledge to use my vote in the parliament to:

  1. Increase funding for universities
  2. Create a more equitable system of student income support
  3. Support student representative organisations
  4. Deliver affordable student accommodation

Jim McDonald
Greens Candidate for Wide Bay

As a former academic, I am appalled that the Labor Government failed to restore the levels of support for student organisations that existed before their removal by the Howard Government.  University is a very special experience and personal growth can be enhanced by student involvement outside the lecture hall and the tutorial room.  Many politicians, such as former Treasurer, Peter Costello, who voted out support for student bodies, benefitted personally from experience in student organisations.

Funding for universities in research, teaching and facilities must be increased as a fundamental investment in knowledge, innovation, science, culture, Australia’s prosperity, and the people of our country.  Presently, there needs to be an increase in accessibility to the university experience for students in the regions.  That experience is potentially undermined by large staff-student ratios.  Regional universities in particular have high ratios of lecturers to students and that affects both on-campus teaching and distance education.  Additional funding should address improvements in the number of teaching staff in universities.

On 22 July, Senator Hanson-Young announced a four-point plan to help tackle student poverty and housing affordability.

Comment, Jim McDonald, 21 July 2010

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