Letters to the Editor
The Government argued that by increasing the number of pupils in a class, fewer teachers would be required and the money thus saved could be used to raise the quality of those who remained. This was to be done by introducing performance pay, presumably by ranking each teacher's skill, paying bonuses to the best and dispensing with the worst, allied with an improved training regime for student teachers.
OPINION: The mechanisms for doing this, presumably, exist. Three questions weren't answered. First, what pay scale is necessary to attract students of the correct quality into teaching and what would it cost? Do sufficient such students exist? Finally, how would the better teachers be targeted at the tail of scholastic under-achievers, given that this is more likely to arise from sociological issues?
It was obvious that with the range of schools, both in size and decile rating, class sizes, and pupil skills spread across the country, the general policy promoted by the education minister had no chance of being accepted.
Does the blame for the furore lie with Cabinet, the minister, or the Education Ministry? Educators and the public deserve an explanation.
- The Dominion Post