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The waste in our schools

By Robina Cosser - posted Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The potential of many of our best students is being wasted. The OECD Program for International Student Assessment results demonstrate the declining scores of Australia's brightest students. This seems odd. If an illiterate refugee child can successfully storm through the Australian education system in eight years, why are our Australian-born brightest students steadily getting worse results?

I would suspect it is because the Labor education revolutionaries prioritised "closing the gap". And the easiest way to 'close the gap' between our lowest performing students and our best-performing students was by pushing our bright students down towards the middle. So our brightest students have been trapped in the same classrooms with our slowest and most disruptive students.

But we do not force our best athletes to play in a team with our worst athletes.


We need to allow our brightest students to work with their academic peers. But this brings us to the biggest problem in Australian schools, the problem that is going to handicap our schools for generations - the quality of our teachers.

The Labor government wasted time and money training thousands of people who could not read, write and think clearly to become 'teachers'. So now we have a huge, unemployed mass of these 'teachers' waiting to be employed in our schools.

Our best Australian students seem to be doomed to spend years of their lives trapped in classrooms with 'teachers' who struggle to read, write and think clearly.

The Coalition government urgently needs to set a minimum national standard for entry to teaching.

The huge mass of 'teachers' that the coalition have inherited from Labor will have to be absorbed somewhere. I would suggest that they will do least harm teaching the middle-ability and low-ability students. We must not trap our brightest students in classrooms with semi-literate teachers.

We give our best sports students special training and access to excellent instructors. We need to give our brightest academic students equal access to excellent teachers.


The Coalition needs to identify and train a group of academically-excellent teachers. They should be identified as 'executive teachers' and their good academic qualifications should be celebrated. These "executive teachers' will need to be paid higher salaries, provided with better working conditions and, most importantly, protected from the aggression that is often shown toward academic excellence in Australian schools.

We need to employ these 'executive teachers' to teach our brightest students.

To keep these 'executive teachers' in our schools, we will need school principals who will not feel the need to attack the 'executive teachers' in order to 'prove' that they are no better than the less academic teachers. We need principals who are able to recognise and value academic excellence in their staff and their students.

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About the Author

Robina Cosser edits the Teachers Are Blowing Their Whistles and Whistleblowing Women. She is Schools Contact Person and a Vice-President of Whistleblowers Australia.

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