|The News Line: Editorial
Wednesday, 2 May 2012
NO PERFORMANCE-RELATED PAY IN THE CLASSROOM!
THE House of Commons Education Select Committee yesterday tried to deliver a blow against the national pay agreements established by the teaching trade unions. They called for a system of payments by results to be brought in, and for performance-related pay to replace national pay agreements.
The view of the committee is that national pay agreements allow the worst teachers to hide behind the ‘rigid and unfair’ national pay structure.
In fact, the same arguments are being used by employers in many trades or professions, to imply that the majority of the workforce are malingerers hiding behind immoral national agreements. The education select committee is not tackling ‘bad teaching’, they are tackling the trade unions!
The results on which performance pay will be based are not to be limited to examination grades achieved, but to other issues such as ‘discipline’, Ofsted ratings and how much progress students have made during the term.
The select committee says staff should be rewarded for ‘adding the greatest value’ to pupils’ education and be given paid sabbaticals to further their skills.
In fact, Education Secretary Gove has already asked the School Teachers’ Review Body, which analyses national pay rates, to ‘make recommendations on introducing greater freedoms and flexibilities in teachers’ pay, including how to link it better to performance’.
This propaganda has a logic of its own and has already produced the notion that unmasking ‘bad teachers’ is not the end of the matter and neither is cutting their pay – they in fact must be sacked.
There are even some novel proposals as to how they should be replaced by sixth formers who should be given unpaid work experience teaching in the class- room, to see, no doubt by results, if they were assisting or hindering students. This method would, however, definitely be a great cash saver!
The Department of Education has welcomed the House of Commons Committee report and pledged that the review body will deliver its recommendations by the end of the summer.
The MP’s committee had the nerve to claim the reforms would address fears that poor teachers are having a ‘very significant’ impact on children’s long-term career prospects. The report quotes international research which shows that the worst teachers could cost a class of 20 the equivalent of £250,000 in lost earnings over their career.
In fact, 99 per cent of teachers are doing a brilliant job in the worst of circumstances.
The wrong people are being put into the dock. How much ‘value’ is being added to children’s education by the fact that the coalition has already achieved over one million youth unemployed, and the prospect that youth now at school will never get jobs, even if they go to universities and get top degrees. This is obviously having a huge impact in the classroom!
As is the abolition of the £30 a week EMA to help school students study, plus the imposition of £9,000 a year fees by the majority of universities, and the fact that the most that many brilliant students, with great degrees, can achieve these days is an unpaid ‘internship’. This is the situation that is dominating the classroom and making education and discipline more difficult.
The problem is jobs, and the coalition’s austerity programme. The problem is not the teaching profession!
The coalition and the MP’s Committee are seeking to make the teachers and their unions the scapegoat for the problems being caused by the crisis of capitalism and the way that the coalition is placing the entire burden of the crisis onto the workers, the poor, the pensioners and the youth.
The best way to ‘add the greatest value to pupils education’ is to get rid of the coalition as quickly as possible.
The teaching trade unions must take the lead in demanding that the TUC call a general strike to bring down the coalition and bring in a workers government and socialism. This is the only way to ‘add greater value’ to pupils’ education!
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