13 August 2010

Coalition's education policy doesn't add up

Federal Labor has urged voters to consider the stark choice between two very different approaches to education.

Labor has accused Tony Abbott and the Coalition of playing 'a game of trickery ...... because at the end of the day, {his policy is} still a savage cut to schools, students and teachers'.

So far Mr Abbott’s plans include:
• Unfair and underfunded performance pay – cutting $425 million from the Teacher Quality National Partnership and replacing it with only half the funding - for an unfair performance pay scheme with no details on how it would work.
• Less computers in schools – cutting half a billion dollars from the Computers in Schools Program, replacing it with a paltry $120 million.
• Just 30 Australian Technical Colleges – cutting the Government’s 10 year $2.5 billion Trades Training Centre program, where we’ve already funded 230 projects benefitting 732 schools.

Alternatively, Federal Labor has announced that it will:
• Introduce reward payments for teachers – developing an equitable national performance management framework so great teachers can be identified and rewarded with a bonus of up to 10per cent of their salary.
• Provide rewards for School Improvement – developing a comprehensive and transparent National School Improvement Framework which will identify and reward those schools that demonstrate the greatest improvement.
• Empower local schools – delivering a national roll out of greater local control for principals and parents over operational issues.
• Provide Trades Training Centres – delivering trade training centres so every secondary school student can start learning a trade at school through a nationally recognised qualification.
• Ensure transparent information about school performance – building on the nationally comparable and consistent information available to parents and the Australian community through the MySchool website.
• Introduce nationally recognised qualifications for students - developing an Australian Baccalaureate for senior students and new National Trade Cadetships for students who want to start a trade at school.
• Roll out more computers for schools – on track to deliver a national 1:1 ratio for students in Years 9 to 12 so they have the vital computer literacy skills they need for the 21st century.

Federal Labor believes that with Mr Abbott cutting valuable funding from schools, he would 'shamefully deny many young Australians an opportunity to get the skills that they need for the jobs of the future'.

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