Turnbull’s secret education reform plans won’t lift education standards

The Australian Education Union in Victoria says the Turnbull government’s plans for education reform contained in a leaked draft report, the National Schools Reform Agreement (NRSA), are misguided and strategically incoherent.

The union's Victorian branch president, Meredith Peace, said that if the Turnbull government is serious about lifting education standards, then they first need to reverse the decision to cut $1.9 billion of funding to public schools. 

“The reforms proposed in the draft report have not been informed by the teaching profession. We have a federal government that clearly has no idea what is going on in the classroom, or what students need. They continue to ignore the fact that educational reforms will not work if the profession is not consulted," Ms Peace said.

“The proposal to introduce significant changes across the Australian curriculum including the introduction of learning progressions and an online formative assessment tool within the next two to three years is fanciful, particularly without any additional funding or the involvement of the teaching profession in consultations.

“This proposal risks turning teachers into glorified data entry clerks, at the expense of teachers focusing on high-quality teaching and learning. Teachers want to focus on teaching students and undertaking meaningful assessment to inform their work, not ticking boxes and doing administration. 

“Victoria’s principals, teacher and support staff are some of the best in the world, but we cannot support students’ needs to the standard we would like without proper resourcing in our public schools. 

“Educational reforms can only be effective when they are developed in consultation with the principals, teachers and support staff who are actually working with our children and know what students need. 

“Victorian public schools educate the majority of students in Victoria and the majority of those with disadvantage, yet the federal government has chosen to allocate only 20% of federal funding for the schooling resource standard for public schools.

“We don’t need more data entry to lift literacy and numeracy standards in our schools, we need the resources for teachers to provide the individual attention and extra support our students need.  

“Malcolm Turnbull must immediately put any decisions about the National Schools Reform Agreement on hold and commit to consultation with the teaching profession to develop the reforms that our schools need and will make a real difference for our students,” Ms Peace said. 

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