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The waste in our schools

By Robina Cosser - posted Wednesday, 27 November 2013


We need a better promotion system. An interview-based promotion system puts classroom teachers at risk of harm. It is too subjective. It is psychopath-friendly. Teachers can find themselves trapped for years in a school with a charming, lying, bullying, not-quite-literate school principal. Teachers have told me how betrayed they feel by education department officers who transfer them into a school with a known workplace bully, or who transfer a principal with a known bullying problem into their school.

Australian teachers need better protection from false allegations. Male teachers, especially, work in constant fear of false allegations that can consume years of their life, their health and their career.

Teachers need vastly improved investigation processes. Departmental investigations that are 'set up' to fail are a waste of time and money. Time spent writing 'Briefings for the Minister', reports and 'new' policies based on the outcomes of faux investigations is time that is being wasted.

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A lot of time is being wasted in our schools.

We urgently need CCTV in every Australian classroom to protect teachers from false allegations. We need to be able to prove to parents how their children are behaving.

We need CCTV in school offices to protect school principals from out-of-control parents.

We need Parents and Citizens organisation to take more responsibility for behaviour management. P and C committees need to meet with disruptive children and their parents, to view the CCTV evidence and to discuss the level of disruption in the classrooms.

We need to tell children how we expect them to behave. Many of our children's story-books and early-evening TV soap-operas celebrate naughtiness, arguments, rudeness and the hysterical "beating up' of trivia. And so this is the sort of behaviour that we see reflected in our classrooms.

French school children are different, shockingly different. They are quiet and calm. Even the babies in France are calmer than our Australian babies. Children in many third-world cultures are calmer than Australian children. We need to research what we are doing to our children to cause this difference in behaviour.

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We need to research the value of beginning every school day with an organised sport and exercise program.

We need much more research. So much time and so much money has been wasted in our schools since the mid-eighties on nutty educational 'fads' that have stunted the academic development of our children. Decisions concerning education need to be based on facts rather than "beliefs" or "philosophies".

Groups of 'executive teachers' working in areas of shortage - maths, science, languages - could be employed to design and produce video lessons and workbooks in their subject area. Then, even if these exceptionally well qualified teachers eventually decided to abandon teaching as a career, we would still have their video lessons. These videos and workbooks would enable all Australian students, however remote, however disadvantaged, however disrupted their classroom or their schooling, to gain access to excellence.

One sad reflection on what is going on in Australian schools is that children who study by distance education often achieve better academic results than children who physically attend school.

Opportunity, potential and time are all being wasted in Australian schools.

So, yes, cut the waste, Mr Pyne. For the sake of our children, please cut the waste in our schools.

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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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Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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