Applicable, accessible and affordable
Education is the closest thing we have to a silver bullet for giving people the means they need to create their own opportunities and shape their own destinies. But for it to be the force we need it to be, education needs to be more applicable, accessible and affordable.
Get straight to the point
Applicable because what we’re teaching our students matters. It’s important to make sure we’re funding education properly. But funding is only one part of the equation. We need to look at what we are teaching pupils, and how we are teaching them. Because while we’re putting more money into education than ever before, we’re seeing results flatline. That’s not because our teachers aren’t world-class. It’s because the support we’re giving them isn’t.
Education needs to be preparing students for a life in the world, with all the skills for reasoning, logic and inquiry that they’ll be calling upon time and again throughout their lives. We need to make sure what we’re teaching students is doing the job of preparing them for their future career paths, and make sure that those who are teaching them are properly equipped to help them get where they need to be.
Outside of parent support, the most effective way to lift the quality of our children's education is to lift the quality and status of teachers and educational leaders.
JLN will make education more applicable by:
Phasing in standards requiring all new teachers from 2025 to have postgraduate-equivalent, five-year degree qualifications. The move will inform future pay negotiations, making Tasmania’s teachers the most respected, well-paid, highly-qualified teachers in the country. For details on JLN’s Teaching policy, click here.
Accessible because it’s no good promising a world-class education system to someone without the means to access it. Inaccessibility is a tax on students and their families from rural and remote communities. It’s a tax on students and their families who are from low socio-economic backgrounds. It’s a tax on students who are coming into study from a path outside the main entry pathways, whether that is retraining after a change in career, trying to study while working full-time, or studying with a disability. Whatever the reason, inaccessibility turns education into a luxury.
JLN will make education more accessible by:
Requiring universities to purchase textbooks for students, rather than expecting students to pay these costs upfront without support. This takes advantage of the university’s buying power, allowing the university to leverage the scale of its bulk order for a discount from publishers. To the extent that universities pass on the cost of textbooks to students, this will allow students to access their prescribed texts with no upfront cost, as the cost of their course materials will be covered by the current low-interest income contingent loan scheme in place. Universities will be required to publish the cost of textbooks as part of the course outline made available to students, to eliminate the potential for opaque price inflation for textbooks.
Doubling the number of Commonwealth-funded scholarships, to make it possible for students from low socio-economic backgrounds in rural and remote communities to get a quality education away from home.
Keeping enabling courses free.
Establishing funding for group and individual mentoring schemes to give students with diverse backgrounds the support they need to make their education a success.
Education is only available to those who can afford it. The higher the price of an education, the wealthier you need to be to take advantage of the opportunities that training and education can provide.
We don’t want to be the sort of country where the privileged are given priority. If we are to remain a country that supports opportunity, we have to make sure education remains within reach of working families.
A world-class education should be available to anyone who’s willing to work for it.
That's why the JLN will:
Give every Tasmanian school as much funding as it needs to do the job of educating our kids.
Oppose deregulating course fees, keeping a cap on the price of an education.
The best way to increase the quality of our education system is to lift the standard and support for our teachers.
Teachers work hard for long hours and comparably low pay. Tasmania’s teachers are dedicated, determined and diligent. They’re people to be proud of. They are not the problem. The problem is how we make sure teaching continues to attract the very best and brightest.
Some of the most significant factors determining a child’s educational success are teaching resources and teaching standards.
The JLN firmly believes that when a teacher is well-supported, their students are well-supported too . But there’s more to supporting teachers than a salary. Teachers need professional mentoring and development, consistent ongoing training, fair work conditions, workplace flexibility and the accountability that comes from knowing what students are expected to know, with the flexibility that comes from allowing teachers to work creatively to ensure students know it.
Clearly, the solution to improving educational outcomes is more complex than simply spending more money. We need to be smart about how we’re spending it.
Tasmania’s teachers need a raise
Teaching should be considered as prestigious a career path as law, medicine, business or science. We want the very best and brightest graduates to feel confident that a career as a teacher will be appropriately respected and remunerated.
We want teaching to attract the very best, because our children deserve to be taught by the very best.
The decision to commit to a career in education is made with reference to other career options. Teaching is viewed as an ‘afterthought’, because of low pay, long hours and the demands of the job, where teachers are expected to fulfil all the functions of an educator, as well as managing parents, providing IT support, and protecting children.
We want to make teaching a more attractive occupation and we want to make our investment in education generate a more substantial return. Those two goals are linked.
Requiring teachers to have completed some postgraduate study is an idea that has support amongst the AEU, the university sector, and amongst the South Australian, NSW and Victorian State Governments.
We want to see teachers given every opportunity to succeed. They have a tremendously difficult job and they deserve a salary that reflects that. We think the role of teacher should be a prestigious one, and the only way for that to happen is more pay and more training.
[i] Lohberger, Loretta. "How we fare in NAPLAN results." Themercury.com.au, 5 Aug. 2017, http://www.themercury.com.au/news/tasmania/how-tasmania-fared-in-naplan-tests/news-story/939a01d21f6ae474df7fed92afab4fca. Accessed 29 Aug. 2017.