Wrong approach to education

David Zyngier (The Courier, November 30) is spot-on about the federal government's Australian Education Bill.

Tying educational funding to student benchmarks is political expediency, not sound educational policy.

He points out that the greatest predictor of attainment is socio-economic status so why tighten a noose on teachers?

It will only increase educational inequity and worsen student retention rates, and teachers' work satisfaction will plummet further.

Students will be pressured to perform for competitive and economic ends from a young age.

Politicians increasingly are taking control of teachers and curriculum in their efforts to corporatise education, to force it to serve the economy.

As if they know better than highly experienced educators what is in children's interests.

Shoved aside are education's meaningful intrinsic purposes like joy in lifelong learning and social understanding, once proudly foregrounded. Local schools are now training (not educating) students months ahead for Naplan.

Over years we've watched the expertise and autonomy of the teaching profession being disrespected and minimised.

If the government tied quality benchmarks to lawyers' performance, or psychologists there would be outrage.

The work of teachers is holistic, relational and responsive.

A good teacher is one who connects with the individual child, understands them and acts intelligently to foster their development - whether the child is rich, poor, advantaged or disadvantaged. How can that be benchmarked?

We will regret the corporatisation of schools when it's too late.

Though once noble, the teaching profession will be brought low by the Australian Education Act.

Linda Zibell

Mount Helen

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