A bit over a month ago, Alan Tudge, gave a major policy speech, Being our best: Returning Australia to the top group of education nations. Tudge’s speech, which we annotated here, was not all bad, a weird mix of goods and stupids and non sequiturs; we graded the speech a C+.
The most encouraging part of Tudge’s speech was the promised scrutiny of teacher training and, in particular, of the pointless, ridiculous and actively destructive 2-year Masters that is currently required. Now, about a week ago, Tudge’s office issued a media release, announcing a review into initial teacher education. The media release was accompanied by a Tudge-fed puff piece in the Australian Financial Review (paywalled). What follows is our annotation of Tudge’s media release, followed by a quick discussion of the AFR report.
Initial teacher education review launched
Federal Education Minister Alan Tudge has today launched a review of initial teacher education, a key element of the government’s ambition to lift Australian school standards.
A key element? Well, that is depressing.
Last month, the Minister outlined a new target to return Australia to the top group of education nations globally by 2030, noting that our school standards have steadily slipped over the last two decades.
The review of initial teacher education courses is the most critical element towards lifting standards,
No, it is not.
noting that the quality of teaching is the most important in-school factor influencing student achievement.
Yes, it is. Initial teacher training, however, has, and can have, almost no bearing on the quality of teaching. Pretty much all ITE can do is get in the way and screw people up and piss people off.
The review will address two key questions: how to attract and select high-quality candidates into the teaching profession,
You need a review to tell you to have the job pay more and not be so burdened with government-imposed garbage?
and how to prepare them to become effective teachers.
You can’t. Give it up. Teachers learn by teaching and reflecting and teaching, and that’s pretty much it. KKK.
Since 2006, the number of top students choosing to study education has declined by a third, and many teachers are still graduating from their courses insufficiently prepared to teach in a classroom.
What does this mean? No one is prepared for their first class.
The review will be conducted by a panel chaired by former Department of Education and Training Secretary Lisa Paul AO PSM, supported by:
- Malcolm Elliott – President of the Australian Primary Principals Association
- Derek Scott – 2019 Australian School Principal of the Year
- Bill Louden AM – Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Western Australia
We do not know these people, but some form of reverse Groucho applies. Anybody who has risen to prominence in the current educational system is almost certainly unqualified to review the current educational system.
The first public discussion paper will be released by June, followed by a period of public consultation. The review will be completed in six months.
This is Sirens of Titan. Is there any evidence that at any time, in any place, “public consultation” has had any effect whatsoever?
Minister Tudge said Australia’s teachers are some of the most dedicated and hard-working in the world and the review would help grow and support the workforce.
One of the main aspects of being an adult is learning to judge people on what they do, rather than on what they say. If only we had more adults.
“Particularly over the last year, we have seen how important our teachers are to Australian kids and we want to provide them with the best platform to produce better student outcomes,” Minister Tudge said.
“We used to consistently be in the top group of education nations and I am confident we can get there again.
If you are, you’re a fool.
“The recommendations of this review will help ensure we attract high-quality, motivated candidates into teaching and develop them into teachers with the skills our students need.
No it won’t, and no it won’t.
“We want the finest students choosing to be teachers and we also want to make it easier for accomplished mid- and late-career individuals to transition into the profession, bringing their extensive skills and knowledge into our school classrooms.
This seems to be hinting at having at least some prospective teachers avoid the idiot Masters. Of course, all prospective teachers should be permitted to avoid the idiot Masters.
The review builds on the reforms the government has already made to improve ITE, including assessing and accrediting ITE courses and testing graduates’ literacy and numeracy before they can enter a classroom to teach.
Meaning ACER’s grotesque and pointless literacy and numeracy test? That’s an example of the brilliance to be expected from this review? Lord spare us.
The media release is not great, although it is standard to oversell the importance of such a review, and to avoid declaring the pre-determined conclusions. More forthright is the accompanying puff by AFR education editor, Julie Hare (paywalled). Hare’s Tudge-fed piece, titled Alan Tudge’s 10-year plan to get schools back to basics, is both encouraging and deeply discouraging.
The encouraging aspect of Hare’s piece is Tudge’s explicit questioning of value the 2-years Masters:
“People just used to have to do a nine-month diploma of education. And that was when our education standards were much higher. In the UK, it’s a nine-month diploma and their education standards are going up, not down. So if others can do it, and we have done it in the past, I can’t see why we can’t do it in the future.”
One discouraging aspect is Tudge’s genuflecting to “technology”, pretending that Khan Academy or some such nonsense is going to help. That “quality of teaching” thing sure lasted a long time. And, much more discouraging, it is pretty clear that Tudge, and Hare, have absolutely no clue what “basics” means.
Hare’s report goes on and on and on and on about Australia’s PISA scores. It is a theorem, if someone rabbits on about “basics” and PISA (and/or NAPLAN) then they have no clue about the meaning of either “basics” or PISA, or both.
Overall, we’ll give Tudge another C+ for this one. Tudge tries, but he is just a C kind of student.
Tudge is about to give a speech at The Age Schools Summit, whatever the Hell that is, and has given early access to his speech, at least to The Age. It seems clear that Tudge thinks it’s all about “the quality of teachers”, nothing about funding and, incredibly, nothing about Australia’s education system being intrinsically and fundamentally fucked. If Tudge clearly doesn’t realise the idiocy is entrenched in ACARA and State authorities, administered by the high-profile clowns that he’s about to pal around with, then fuck him. He’s useless.
Below is Tudge’s press conference from April 15, announcing the ITE review. The discussion is more wide-ranging than the media release, and is more encouraging. Tudge says some of the same dumb things, but he also says some smart things, starting around 6:00. (Lisa Paul, who will head the review, says some really dumb things, starting around 10:30).