Tasmanian teachers will soon refuse to record student attendance, decline annual school reviews, leave work on time, and forgo responding to emails outside of work hours.
Roz Madsen, AEU (Australian Education Union) Tasmania Branch State Manager has described the measures as “reluctant” but says the Hodgman government gives them “little choice but to escalate actions.”
“Will Hodgman’s Government has so far failed to offer any measures to tackle crippling educator workloads or negotiate in good faith over salary and is instead determined to have Tasmania’s experienced school teachers lowest paid in the country,” said Ms Madsen.
The union and state government have been butting heads over staffing requirements, pay rates, and workload.
Putting children at risk?
Acting Minister for Education and Training, Elise Archer has condemned the disruptions saying they will leave parents in the dark about their children’s education.
“Parents around the State will be confused about why the Union is punishing families and students when the Government has put a pay rise offer of 6 per cent over three years on the table,” she said.
The Tasmanian Association of State Schools Organization President, Nigel Jones has declared the union actions irresponsible.
“I cannot understand why they are targeting primary schools because we have little kids there. If their attendance isn’t ticked off and a fire alarm goes off during a day it can become pretty messy and it can put a child’s life at risk,” he said. “I really hope that the union have a really good look at this and reverse the decision.”
Mr Jones hopes the union and government can re-enter discussions to stop further industrial action.
“For quite some time we have worked really hard with improving the conduct of parents towards teachers in schools and all the union is doing now is sticking a firecracker in there,” Jones says. “Parents can becoming very emotional and very fiery when it comes to their children’s education and I don’t think this is helping.”
However, the AEU claims they have been experiencing “overwhelming support” from parents.
Teacher’s are standing by their choice and have clarified exactly what this action means for children and parents
One teacher explained, “All schools are taking attendance, every day.
“What they have implemented a ban on is to not enter that information into the DoE’s central data point. That is it”, he added.
Continuing to explain the action he said, “Instead, primary schools only are taking the hardcopy and keeping it at the office. This should not be a surprise because a Teachers Statement of Duties does not include attendance follow ups and data entry. If the DoE values this work they will resource schools to do it.
“The only person affected by the attendance ban on entering it centrally is the govt who love data and pitting school against school to push performances up at the cost of people’s workload and health and well-being.
“In terms of reporting, all that is occurring is that no general summary comment is being placed on end of year reports. This has never been a requirement for teachers to do this from the DoE but has been done through the goodwill of teachers for many decades.
“The govt is not rewarding nor recognising their goodwill gestures, so they are stopping it. Many students/families may find that they get positive summary feedback in other ways but the DoE wont have it recorded in their SARIS system.
“Teachers have students at the heart of these bans, because they want solutions to the tasks that take them away from being the best teachers they can be.
“Support Staff and principals similarly want to focus on putting the kids first, not data entry, not data analysis and not doing good will gestures that aren’t recognised and come at the cost of their own families and health.
“The solution is easy, recognise our educators and by being valued they’ll go above and beyond – like they always do.”
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