In NSW, the Teacher Accreditation Act 2004 provides for a Quality Teaching Committee made up of elected teachers and members appointed by the minister to provide advice on accreditation matters and other issues related to the Act.
Under the original iteration there were 11 elected teachers, however, with the change from BOSTES to NESA, the NSW Government reduced the teacher representation to five elected teachers, with a majority of members appointed by the minister.
Not satisfied with reducing the voice of teachers in their profession the minister has failed to appoint members to the QTC and there has been no meeting of the QTC since the establishment of NESA in January. By the time you read this article it will be one year since the QTC last met and a year since elected teachers had any opportunity for input into policy with impacts directly on their profession.
The current NSW Minister Rob Stokes, who was sworn in in February and immediately admitted that he was “no expert in matters of education”, has compounded that ignorance, demonstrating a complete contempt for the teaching profession by his failure to consult and to seek the advice that the Act obliges.
During this period with no teacher oversight or input, the NESA board has determined or amended numerous policies with a direct impact on aspects of teacher accreditation including a policy to suspend and revoke accreditation. Policy relating to the teaching profession continues to be made by politicians, employers, academics and bureaucrats.
The Maintenance of Accreditation Policy to operate from 1 January, the same day pre 2004 teachers will be accredited and commence their first maintenance period, is a further example. While there are numerous positive features of this document it is insulting to the backbone of the teaching force that they are ignored.
The NESA board recently approved a completely rewritten Policy for Accreditation at Proficient Teacher which has significant implications for the workloads of those teachers and their experienced colleagues, however few if any practising teachers have seen or have any knowledge of it. Such is the esteem with which this government and its instrumentalities holds the teaching profession.
Elected teachers have been completely removed and had their voices silenced in regard to the most fundamental aspects of their profession.
It is of course teachers who pay the accreditation fee to fund the accreditation aspects of
NESA and to develop and implement policy. Employers don’t pay, Teacher Accreditation Authorities don’t pay and those engaged in Initial Teacher Education don’t contribute financially. Only teachers are taxed but not represented and as early American colonists declared taxation without representation is tyranny.
This is but one aspect of how teachers in NSW and across Australia are sidelined on matters relating to their profession. The federal education minister’s company ATSIL purports to speak on behalf of teachers and school leaders, but is not in any way representative of them.