The New South Wales Government has approved a set of mandatory requirements for teacher education programs in the State, prepared by the New South Wales Institute of Teachers. Teacher education institutes around Australia have agreed to support the standards when they are put before the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting later this year. The standards are to cover basic literacy, classroom and behaviour management, and computer skills. Teachers are also required to understand the impact of culture, cultural identity and diversity in schooling, including specific culture and language learning needs of Aboriginal students. New requirements related to numeracy, professional experience and specific subject areas are due to be finalised this year. See report in the Sydney Morning Herald 26 June 2007.
The Australian Education Union (AEU) has proposed a new professional pay framework. Under the plan teachers would be grouped into five bands: Initial education, Graduation, Competence, Accomplished and Leadership. Early in their career teachers would receive pay rises based on experience. Promotion beyond the Competence level would require teachers to show how their teaching experience and professional development is improving their ability to educate students. See article on News.com 28 June 2007. See also News.com report 26 June 2007 on a rally by Queensland teachers against performance-based pay.
The Australian Minister for Education, Science and Training, Julie Bishop, has announced the establishment of a reference group to provide advice on a model curriculum to be used as the foundation for the teaching of Australian History in Years 9 and 10. See Minister's media release 25 June 2007. For commentary on the initiative see Govt appoints history curriculum panel in The Sydney Morning Herald 25 June 2007; Expert barred from history panel in Brisbane Times 26 June 2007; Blainey to lead history review in The Australian 26 June 2007; Blainey to sit on new history panel in The Age 26 June 2007 and History students may skip Gallipoli in The Australian 27 June 2007.
In New Zealand, the Government has been receiving community feedback on its draft curriculum, which aims to give schools more flexibility to develop subjects with input from students and the community. Over 9,000 submissions have been received. An analysis of the submissions indicates that 72 per cent of responses believe that the curriculum allows a suitable level of flexibility to schools. In terms of the study of history, some concerns have been expressed at the lower level of guidance to teachers, or at the opportunity groups with particular views about history to push for their adoption in schools. See report in the New Zealand Herald 21 June 2007.
The NSW Department of Education and Training have released new training programs for principals, assistants and head teachers. The 12-month programs in executive induction, executive leadership development and team leadership aim to cater for every stage of school leadership. (See article in Side by Side, a publication of the New South Wales Department of Education and Training (DET) May 2007.)
Proposals to publish school ranked lists comparing student performances in literacy and numeracy have been reported in the media this week. See 'School league tables rejected', in Adelaide Now 24 June 2007; 'Labor backs ranking schools on test scores', in NEWS.com.au 25 June 2007, and 'On your mark' in The Age 25 June 2007.
Professor Brian Caldwell has called for Australia to implement school business partnerships. He notes that such partnerships are being promoted in England where 2,700 of the 3,100 government secondary schools have sponsorships from business entities providing funding to specialise in particular subject areas. His call follows a speech by Australian Minister for Education, Science and Training, Julie Bishop, urging closer links between schools and the business community. See article in the Sydney Morning Herald 21 June 2007.
In South Australia concerns have been expressed in the school education community over the impact of State Government budget measures. See article in The Advertiser 28 June 2007, comments from the South Australian Primary Principals' Association (SAPPA) outlined in the 'SAPPA News' section of the Association's website, and reports on the website of the AEU South Australia branch.
South Australian schools and preschools will be encouraged to save water and energy with support from a $1 million State Government ‘green schools’ grants fund. State Education and Children’s Services Minister, Jane Lomax-Smith, has announced that 78 schools will receive grants, as part of South Australia’s strategic plan to improve environmental sustainability. See Minister's media release 21 June 2007.
New clauses in New Zealand's National Administration Guidelines will require schools to actively promote healthy food and nutrition, and sell only healthy snacks on school premises. The changes come into effect in June 2008. See article in Education Gazette, vol 86, no 10, 18 June 2007.
Prime Minister John Howard has announced the outcome of the National School Chaplaincy Program round one. See media release 27 June 2007.
US President George W Bush has been presented with a letter signed by 50 high school seniors in the country's Presidential Scholars Program urging a halt to 'violations of the human rights' of terror suspects held by the USA. The designation as a Presidential Scholar is one of the nation's highest honors for graduating high school students. See Associated Press report in seattlepi 25 June 2007.
More than 170 Victorian public schools 'have failed to meet the State Government's benchmark of one computer for every five students', according to a report in the Herald Sun 25 June 2007. The latest Education Department figures, for 2006, 'show 36 per cent of curriculum computers are pre-2003 and 21 per cent are less than one year old'.
Some students in New South Wales have been secretly recording and posting videos of teachers on the MySpace and YouTube sites, according to an article in the Daily Telegraph 25 June 2007. Future perpetrators have been warned of disciplinary action and potential prosecution.