Which are the Better Schools?

Tinka By Tinka, 27th Dec 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/37t6m56k/
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This essay attempts to argue that productivity in schools cannot exists. Humans are the most unpredictable of species.

Which are the better shcools?

Who or what are teachers in government schools teaching - human beings or inanimate objects? The now defeated Coalition Government of Victoria latest pay rise request by teachers was answered with the statement ‘show productivity in the class room and you will receive an increase’. This statement clearly rest on the second choice. But ‘ Productivity’ cannot be a measuring tool in education, because unlike administrative or factory production work, the material teachers are working with, are flash and blood human being who have a mind of their own. This particular government might have forgotten that corporal punishment was phased out in the 1970’s. Students cannot be forced to learn if they do not want to. Well this was the stand of the previous government, but what is the opinion of the new State Labor Government now that they are in office? Are they going to keep their promise to work with teachers or continue with the ‘Productivity demand?

Teacher’s Performance

The latest teacher’s strike in Victoria brought the learning of thousands of students to an almost standstill and endangered the outcomes of most Year 12 VCE student. The strike was called by all teachers for better payment and conditions. To this the government reply was simple. ‘Show us productivity and we shall reward you’ This was not the first time teachers had been given this answer, but everyone in the teaching profession had hoped that the State government was not going to use this illogical demand at the negotiating table- unfortunately for many thousands of students the government did demand. ‘Productivity’ with the understanding that only those teachers who could show increased learning would be rewarded.

Teacher/s Reaction

Until not so long ago the term ‘productivity was only heard and used in the business world. In these areas employees are payed on the basis of how much they produce or sell, but never before where the products are human beings.
And especially where the product are “children and teenagers”
When this new request was thrown at the teachers, one can say that it was received in utter disbelief and secondly in shocked amazement.
“Mary Bluett” President of the secondary teachers association of Victoria was close to rage.
“How could education be measured by productivity? A teacher’s job is to teach human beings and there are never two the same: especially so with adolescent and teenagers. Each year is different from the other and each school is different from the next”
She concluded that the government has lost sight of what schools were really like and what the product being handled by teachers was; this product was not merchandise but human beings who are so different from one another, who are so different from year to year and so unpredictable!
Taking into account the Ms Bluett response to the government, how could teachers be paid on the basis of academic performance? Looking at what teachers work with, how can teacher’s job be measured on productivity?
One example that can be shown from data obtained from the Education Department website backs the teacher’s argument-
The example presented here, is between two government schools in Melbourne. These are Laverton Secondary College in the western suburbs and Melbourne High, a selective boys school.

Student’s performance

Both schools are funded by the State Government, yet Melbourne High in 2014 Year 12 VCE exams ranked 7th while Laverton Secondary College ranked 526
Teachers at both schools have gone through the same process to obtain their qualifications. Both groups have worked to put together a curriculum and both groups have fronted up in class in day after day. Yet, the performance of the students could not be further apart.
The difference is that at Melbourne High is a selective schools and as such all the students are handpicked. To this, most of them aim at achieving the highest possible scores. The competition amongst them is such that teachers know that when they go into the class room they will teach 46 min out of the 48. No matter what amount of homework is given, this will be done. Whatever the rules are, they will be followed.
On the other hand the students at Laverton Secondary College have shown through their lower yearly ranking that academic studies are not their main priority. This is backed up by data obtained from the Education Department statistics which shows that Laverton secondary college has an average attendance rate of 74% thus making it one of the lowest in the state of Victoria. On the other hand Melbourne high has an attendance rate between 94-98%. This data alone shows he difference between the two schools and the application of the students.
At Melbourne high students want do well and this is shown in the ranking they obtain t at the end of the year.

Quality of teaching

We now need to look at the teachers who work in both schools. Teachers at Laverton Secondary teach like every other teachers in all other government f schools in Victoria, which requires them work within a curriculum framework. The curriculum must be validated by their head of department and principal. Once the curriculum is approved, it is then presented to the classes..
It can be argued that that it is the teachers job to make the lesson interesting so as to increase the students contribution in class but when the socioeconomic standard of most students at the school is one of the lowest in the state: as it has been documented by statistic obtained from Centrelink, learning becomes a very low priority. Like Laverton secondary that there are other low achieving schools due to the low economic conditions of the students. So, are teachers to be penalized for what is beyond their control?
It appear that only teachers who work at Melbourne High and similar school be rewarded with a hefty increase. On the other hand teachers at the low and of the scale are relegated to incompetency because their students cannot or will not attempt to improve. In all probability the teachers at Laverton Secondary have a much harder job in the classroom compared to their colleagues at Melbourne High.

In Conclusion

Nevertheless, teachers in all both schools perform in the same way. Yet productivity is very low at Laverton, whereas it is at the top of the ladder at Melbourne High. So how can teachers be judged on their teaching ability and paid by the outcomes of their students when there is such a vast difference in the learning attitude between the two school? Productivity can never be measured with human begins as a product. They are human not inanimate goods in a factory process line. A student performance in any year cannot be measured by a measuring tool set by the school to achieve the highest possible marks and thus give students a higher ATAR which will then give the school a high percentage. Some students prepare themselves while some other just go along for the ride with minimal preparation and hope for the best.


Education, Emotions, Employment, Energy, Entertainment, Ranking Chart, Student Improvement, Student Life, Student Performances, Students Attitude Towards Studying, Study Skills

Meet the author

author avatar Tinka
I am a secondary teacher of Italian and English and enjoy being in the classroom. As writing is one of my favourite hobbies, I like to write on different genres in a creative style.

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author avatar C.S. McClellan
27th Dec 2014 (#)

Just as in the US, education has been put on a cost/benefit footing, as if only what can be measured in dollars and cents has any value. Thousands of students leave without even the most basic knowledged. Others go on to college and burden themselves with a lifetime of debt, convinced that it's an investment that will pay back in increased earnings.

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author avatar Tinka
28th Dec 2014 (#)

Until the 1960's education was a privilege which only the wealthy could afford. Nothing has changed since then even though we are made to believe that equality between the classes has been established. Do I sound sarcastic? I suppose I am

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