The USA's new National Center on Performance Incentives is to examine teacher ‘pay for performance’ programs that currently operate in states including Florida, Minnesota, Texas and Denver. The new Center has received a five-year, US$10 million grant from the US Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences. See report in Education Week, 19 March 2007 (registration required). In Australia the issue has been raised this week in an article in The Australian and a report in The Age, both 22 March 2007. Brian Burgess, President of the Victorian State Secondary Principals' Association, has 'expressed doubts about how performance pay could be implemented in the public sector' after unsuccessful attempts in Victoria to implement performance pay in the 1990s, according to the article 'Scepticism over performance pay', Education Review, 14 March 2007, pp 1, 2.
The second National Conference on Service-Learning in Australia will be held in Sydney on April 18–20 2007. This project is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Science and Training under the Quality Outcomes Programme and the Enterprise and Career Education Programme.
Heywire is a service http://www.iartv.vic.edu.au/occasional.php that encourages young people (16 to 22 year olds) from across rural and regional Australia to write a short piece for radio on an issue of interest to them as a young rural/regional person.
In England a forthcoming guidance paper from the Department for Education and Skills (DFES) would leave it up to individual head teachers to decide what students should and should not be allowed to wear in class. Under the proposal students could be banned from wearing full-face Muslim veils. Last year a British girl lost a legal battle to be allowed to wear full Islamic dress in school. Her case was likened to a controversy in France triggered by a ban on Muslim headscarves in state schools. See Reuters report, 20 March 2007.
The Minister for Education, Science and Training, Julie Bishop, has provided almost $1.2 million in awards ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 for 63 winners of the Australian Government National Awards for Quality Schooling. Minister Bishop presented the inaugural Medal of Distinction for the Best National Achievement in School Improvement to South Australia’s Seaford 6–12 School, which received $50,000 to invest in the school community. See Ministerial media release, 21 March 2007. See also media release by Tasmanian Education Minister, David Bartlett, also 21 March 2007.
The Western Australian Government has announced a response to the findings of an independent report on K–10 curriculum changes headed by Professor Bill Louden. Education and Training Minister Mark McGowan has commissioned a detailed action plan designed to ease teacher workload. The State Government is to implement a return to 'traditional methods of marking'; provide ‘practical resources to help teachers in planning and assessment’; and present ‘clear reports for parents based on grades linked to common standards’. The school syllabus, to be reintroduced in 2008, will ‘clearly describe essential content to be taught in different subjects, as well as what children need to learn in each year of school and each phase of their development’. Assessment in the early years will focus on ‘core learning areas such as literacy and numeracy’. See the Minister's media release, 23 March 2007.
Dr Ken Rowe has argued that too many schools neglect direct instruction in favour of self-directed learning in the early and middle years, according to an article in The Age, 19 March 2007. The article describes some of the findings from a forthcoming research report on teaching methods co-authored by Dr Rowe.