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AEU NEWS v o l u m e 17 I i s s u e 4 I j u n e 2 011

PASSION at the equal pay rally Pay talks on the horizon | Lighten the load in preschools | Lament for coaches AEU

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AEU Victorian Branch Branch president: Mary Bluett Branch secretary: Brian Henderson

AEU VIC head office address 112 Trenerry Crescent, Abbotsford, 3067 postal address PO Box 363, Abbotsford, 3067 tel (03) 9417 2822, 1800 013 379 fax 1300 658 078 web www.aeuvic.asn.au email melbourne@aeuvic.asn.au

country offices B allarat (03) 5331 1155 | Benalla (03) 5762 2714 Bendigo (03) 5442 2666 | Gippsland (03) 5134 8844 Geelong (03) 5222 6633

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Contents cover story

March for the money

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features

Recent American and English research finds that teacher bonus payments have no effect on student achievement, or worse, a negative effect.

19

Schools lose as coaches dropped

WA

Source: GAO.gov, National Journal, State Net, lexisnexis.com

MT

OR ID

ND

WY CO

KS

TX

HI

States that have introduced legislation this session that would restrict collective bargaining

Your membership can be affected by any changes to your employment. If you have moved house or work location, changed your hours, retired, resigned or picked up a contract, you must let us know so that we can ensure your membership is up-to-date and your fees are correct.

WI

IA

22 OK

NM

VT ME NH MA NY RI MI CT PA NJ OH IL IN DE WV VA MD MO KY NC KY SC AK MS AL GA

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SD NE

UT AZ

leave next term...

School leaders express dismay over the axing of literacy and numeracy coaches.

20 AK

I'm returning from family

Straight to the top

Wrong way, Ms Gillard

CA

I'm part-time now...

COVER: Peter Lambropoulos

Teachers, principals and parents descend on Canberra to seek more and fairer funding for state schools.

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NV

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Disability workers seeking equal pay bring Melbourne to a standstill.

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FL

Fiscal crisis scapegoat?

The Republican right is trying to destroy publicsector collective bargaining in many US states.

States that allow collective bargaining States that allow collective bargaining only for some public workers States that don’t allow collective bargaining for any public workers

regulars

3 president’s report 4 letters 23 women’s focus 24 AEU training 25 on the phones

27 safety matters 28 classifieds 29 christina adams 30 culture 31 giveaways

contacts

editorial enquiries Nic Barnard tel (03) 9418 4841 fax (03) 9415 8975 email nic.barnard@aeuvic.asn.au

advertising enquiries Lyn Baird tel (03) 9418 4879 fax (03) 9415 8975 email lyn.baird@aeuvic.asn.au

AEU News is produced by the AEU Publications Unit:

Contact the Membership Centre on (03) 9417 2822 to discuss any changes or update your details at

editor Nic Barnard | designers Lyn Baird, Peter Lambropoulos, Kim Fleming journalists Rachel Power, Sian Watkins | editorial assistant Helen Prytherch

www.aeuvic.asn.au/update.

PrintPost Approved: 349181/00616 ISSN: 1442—1321. Printed in Australia by Total Print on Re Art Matt 100% Recycled Paper. Free to AEU members. Subscription rate: $60 per annum. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the AEU News are those of the authors/members and are not necessarily the official policy of the AEU (Victorian Branch). Contents © AEU Victorian Branch. Contributed articles, photographs and illustrations are © their respective authors. No reproduction without permission.

aeu news | june 2011

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AEU NEWS


president’s report

Baillieu replies at last The Premier has responded to the AEU's demands by calling for greater productivity from teachers.

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REMIER Ted Baillieu has replied The Premier concluded: “Our the counter-log before negotiations • Premier Baillieu reneging on his to the AEU March Council decision Government undertakes to negotiate can begin. election campaign commitment concerning his backflip on teacher pay. with all parties in good faith to reach Pre-negotiation discussions will to make Victorian teachers the The Council resolution called on the an enterprise agreement which is fair commence in the week beginning highest paid in Australia. Premier to: to teachers, financially r­ esponsible June 20. Equal pay rally • Honour the Coalition election and which is in the interests of Thousands of community sector Make ’em accountable policy on teacher pay Victorian students and families.” workers (including AEU Disability When visiting schools, Coalition • Enter into good faith Good faith negotiations are members) took to the streets on politicians including Minister Peter Hall ­negotiations on our log ­impossible in the context of the June 8 to send a clear message to have been greeted by strategically of claims served on the parameters set by the Premier. the Victorian Government: “Pay up.” Government last December We are the lowest funded education placed placards and AEU members The rally followed an interim dressed in red. • Meet the AEU. system in the nation and the state decision by Fair Work Australia (FWA) Mr Hall met AEU reps during his His letter started well: “Our budget requires a further $481m of that accepted workers in the sector visit to Korumburra Secondary College Government recognises the vital role cuts to the education budget (which were low paid, in part based on and heard members’ concerns PROVIDERS first teachers play in the learning and cannot count as productivity). AEU PREFERRED gender. They are now taking evidence development of young Victorians. More than 90% of school budgets hand (see article page 5). as to what pay increases should be All sub-branches are urged to I firmly believe Victorian teachers are spent on salaries. Significant awarded. ensure Coalition politicians understand should be acknowledged and “productivity” for pay increases can The Baillieu Government promised our concerns about: rewarded for the important work that only be achieved by cutting staff. during its election campaign last year • The State Budget’s cuts to they perform in our community.” The Premier did not respond to our that they would fund any pay increase public education funding of But he then went on to say: “There request for a meeting. awarded by FWA. They have since $481m over four years is no limit on wage outcomes above At the time of writing, no date has reneged, saying any increase may • The increase in funding to 2.5 per cent provided bankable been set for the start of negotiations. have to be supplemented by reducprivate schools of $240m over productivity savings are identified and They were due to start in March. tions in services or staff (see article Alan Cooper, Geoff Allen & Staff the same period delivered to offset the increase.” However, we have been told that page 12). ◆ • The loss of 310 specialists, In other words,Stwe mustRoad, provide Level 3/432 Kilda Melbournea proposal 3004 for the Department’s is the AEU’s preferred provider of financial andlearning retirement planning teaching and and services to members. dollar-for-dollar for any counter-log is Retirement soon to Victoria be considered Visit us atsavings www.retirevic.com.au Retirement Victoria Pty Ltd is an authorised representative of Millennium3 Financial Services Pty Lts AFSL 244252 Ultranet coaches at year’s end increase above 2.5%. by Cabinet. Cabinet has to approve AEU Vic branch president

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letters Letters from members are welcome. Send to: AEU News, PO Box 363, Abbotsford, 3067, fax (03) 9415 8975 or email aeunews@aeuvic.asn.au. Letters should be no more than 250 words and must include name, workplace and contact details of the writer. Letters may be edited for space and clarity. Next deadline: 27 July, 2011.

Cut ties to Work Partners I WAS shocked to read in The Australian (May 21) that the AEU had been outsourcing recruitment to a company called Work Partners. It’s bad enough that the union has been outsourcing this important role but now that Work Partners has been found to be underpaying staff entitlements and looking to reduce wage costs by moving jobs offshore, it is an excellent opportunity for the AEU to cut ties and bring recruitment back in-house. Before moving to Victoria and joining the AEU, I taught in Queensland where the Queensland Teachers’ Union organisers visited schools to sign up new members. Membership coverage of public school teachers is above 95% in Queensland. The QTU organisers were much more integrated in the running of the union and could wage a much more convincing, informed argument for teachers to join. In addition, they could defend the union’s past political decisions to teachers

An Access Ministry teacher writes WHAT place does the AEU have in telling state schools what they can and cannot do? I am a kindergarten teacher; I also teach Christian religious education (CRE) to Grade 2 at Malvern Central School. I found the articles in the last AEU News (“Message to Ministry: No Access”, “Church and State”, AEU News, May) extremely disappointing, misleading and inaccurate. Firstly, they affirmed that “secular state schools are no place for compulsory religious lessons”. However it is not compulsory for students to attend the classes. In my Access Ministries training (which is compulsory), it was made quite clear that we are not to proselytise. The lessons and booklets are based on bible stories about God’s love for all, but their main focus is that God wants everyone to be loving, kind, helpful, honest, caring and thoughtful towards others. Under no circumstance would I or any other CRE teacher I work with tell a child “they will not go to Heaven if they do not believe in God”. I have spoken to parents who

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who brought these up as reasons not to join. It is extremely important that a recruiter is able to make these arguments to teachers. This situation is in stark contrast to my encounters with the membership officers in Victoria who seem to use the union’s retail discounts as their main selling point; one of them even told me he didn’t know much about the political side of the union because it was separate to his area! It’s time for the AEU to cut ties with Work Partners, stop wasting money on ineffective membership officers and recruit more AEU-employed organisers in their place. — Rebecca Leeks Brentwood SC

Branch secretary Brian Henderson responds: The AEU has been using Work Partners to recruit since 2007, as has been reported to Branch

send their children to CRE and they want their children to learn the Bible stories. Children who do not attend CRE are supervised by teachers in another classroom and do revision, but not new work. They do not sit at the back of CRE classes or in hallways doing nothing. Just as the AEU had no place telling its members who to vote for in the last state election, it is not in the AEU’s charter to tell state schools what they can and cannot do in regards to CRE. —Vicki Moore Caulfield PS Early Childhood Centre Contempt of course IF TEACHERS were committed to their profession, they would have no trouble at all in defeating the unprofessional performance bonus system being offered to them (“No merit in performance pay”, AEU News, May). All they need to do is en masse treat the offer with the contempt it deserves and refuse to take part, as I did 14 years ago when performance bonuses were introduced to Victoria. Sadly, I was the only leading teacher I knew of at the time who

Council and in AEU News. Traditional recruitment through organisers, sub-branch reps and online continues and represents 50% of new members. Queensland has a different industrial relations system; QTU is given a list of all teachers and their locations. We in Victoria are not given this information. QTU has also used Work Partners to recruit in TAFE. Work Partners has made an agreement with the NUW, the union representing its employees, to cover all the issues raised in The Australian. No jobs will be moved offshore. Our branch is one of the fastest growing unions in Australia, recently overtaking the QTU as the second largest branch of the AEU. I can assure Rebecca that this form of specialised recruiting is not only cost-effective, but also vitally necessary with the impending EBA negotiations. Research shows that the unions with the highest density achieve the best bargaining outcomes for members. ◆

took this stance. Maybe professional solidarity is better nowadays, though I suspect that teachers will knock each other over in the rush for their 30 pieces of bronze. — Chris Curtis Hurstbridge What was he thinking? WHAT happened the day that Andrew Cassidy wrote his absurd article, “Time to get organised” (AEU News, May)? Andrew must have forgotten that his role, presumably, is to write articles in the interests of new teachers who are AEU members and instead thought … that he had become an employee of VIT. In addition to trying to survive their first year of teaching, graduate teachers have additional burdens placed on them by VIT to achieve their accreditation. Apparently it wasn’t enough to get a B.Ed or another degree combined with a Dip Ed and then be deemed by the school that selected them that they are worthy to teach. The fact that the AEU chose not to represent the views of the majority of its members and quietly sat back

and watched while the VIT came into existence is astonishing. Even more appalling is the $30 late fee that the VIT imposes (what other utility or organisation gets away with a late fee of around 40% of the cost of their invoice) to which Andrew simply says, “don’t attract late charges”. Instead of his patronising advice that members get themselves a display folder, Andrew should have been writing about what he was going to do to advocate for teachers to lighten the load imposed on them by the VIT, as regrettably the AEU was asleep during VIT’s inception. — Jeremy Linton Seymour P–12 College Deputy vice president (primary) James Rankin responds: Putting aside the larger debate about the role and operations of the VIT, the article written by our graduate teacher organiser was simply practical advice for graduates about the process of teacher registration. This is something members would expect us to do, particularly where there are serious consequences for making a mistake. (see page 6)◆


news

Movement on PAY CLAIM

Early steps in pay negotiations with the Government are finally under way as school regeneration projects stall, reports Sian Watkins.

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AY negotiations with the State Government are finally about to begin following the Education Department’s recent submission to Cabinet of its position on the AEU’s log of claims. Minister for the Teaching Profession Peter Hall told the AEU that negotiations would be conducted with “genuine good will”. The department is yet to finalise its negotiating team. Pay negotiations with the Government were meant to have started by March. Mr Hall told staff at Korumburra Secondary College in South Gippsland earlier this month that he would be a “strong voice but not a lone voice” in Cabinet in support of teachers’ pay claims and that he could “well understand that teachers would find a 2.5% pay offer unacceptable. However, it’s not where you start in negotiations, it’s where you finish.” Pay rises of 10% a year, smaller classes, reduced teaching loads and contracts are included in the AEU’s log of claims for a new agreement for teachers and principals. A separate

log covers education support staff. The teaching agreement expires in December and the ES agreement expires at the end of next March. The teachers’ log calls for a new, “highly accomplished” classification at the top of the scale; a maximum class size of 20 students in primary and secondary, and a cap on face-to-face

projects are in limbo. Of these projects, in which two or more schools agreed to merge, 13 have received no money and 25 have been partly funded only. The 38 regeneration projects, started under the former Labor government, require about $750 million to complete.

❛Most (of the promised upgrades) are in Liberal or Coalition seats.❜ teaching hours of 20.5 hours a week (primary) and 18 hours (secondary). The ES log seeks a 10% pay rise, an end to recall days, and for ES staff to be included in the teachers’ laptop leasing scheme. Schools that recently protested against the Coalition’s budget cuts in public education –­ by wearing red and using placards – included Camberwell and Berwick Fields primary schools and Korumburra Seconday College. The slashing of Government spending on school infrastructure in last month’s budget means most of the state’s 38 school regeneration

Under the regeneration program, schools with falling enrolments, poor results or old buildings were to merge with neighbouring schools to improve student performance. The Labor government argued that by amalgamating small schools, funding could be rationalised to build new classrooms and buildings and improve the curriculum. Some of these projects are part-built and some have not started even though many schools involved have merged already in anticipation of promised funding. School operations have been greatly

disrupted as a result. The Government said last month it would focus its infrastructure spending on schools it made commitments to during its election campaign seven months ago. Analysis of this list shows that most are in Liberal or Coalition-held seats. Education Minister Martin Dixon, quoted in The Sunday Age this month, said: “A lot of false expectations were unfairly created among schools by the previous Labor government as part of its attempts to coerce schools to merge. “While we would have loved to have been in a position to fund more school upgrades in this year’s budget, our ability to do so was severely limited due to the Federal Government’s decision to strip from Victoria more than $2.5 billion in GST revenue.’’ Almost 30 other schools received no funding for upgrades promised by the previous government, including Greensborough Secondary College, Elwood Secondary College and Essendon Keilor College. ◆

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news

UNREGISTERED teachers beware Failure to reregister with the VIT each year can prove costly, stressful and disruptive. Sian Watkins, AEU News

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N unintended failure to renew her VIT registration has had costly and stressful consequences for a country Victorian secondary teacher, her school’s principal and the school’s VCE students. The teacher was one of 53 practising teachers found to be unregistered during an audit by the VIT and Education Department earlier this term. Principals were subsequently ordered to remove them from teaching duties, resulting in costly teacher replacements and the unregistered teachers having to explain and justify their failure to

renew their annual registration. The St Arnaud Secondary College teacher, a year-level coordinator and year 12 English teacher, unwittingly failed to reregister with VIT after taking two years’ leave without pay to teach in Malawi. She returned to teaching early last year and “what with the business of returning to school, family commitments, cultural readjustment, she completely forgot about VIT,” said St Arnaud principal Rebecca Montgomery. Although principals are required to check that their teachers are registered, Ms Montgomery was appointed principal early in term 1 this year. What complicated the St Arnaud

REPS

E-BULLETIN

Your weekly Wednesday wrap

The AEU is now sending our school reps a weekly Wednesday email wrap of union news, campaigns, meetings and training.

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eps should read, digest and forward to their colleagues any meeting dates and training opportunities that apply. Whether it’s AEU Active training, our free Apple training courses, retirement advice seminars or an upcoming conference, it’s in the bulletin. If you want to know what’s going on — ask your rep. Reps — if you’re not getting your weekly email, let us know at melbourne@aeuvic.asn.au.

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teacher’s case was meeting the VIT requirement that she provide a criminal records check for the period she was absent from teaching. Malawi police said that to provide her with this she needed to send her fingerprints and $US50. Much time was then spent trying to ascertain whether Victoria Police could fingerprint non-suspects. Ms Montgomery said the removal of the senior teacher from the classroom for about a month had costly, stressful and distressing consequences for all involved. Ms Montgomery, who faced a backlash from parents “who thought I had sacked her”, had to get two experienced teachers “to step up” and hire another teacher for an indefinite period. “And teachers aren’t easy to get hold of in rural areas. The few CRTs in the area were already covering people on long service leave and annual leave.” Needless to say, the Year 12s were “very stressed” by their English teacher’s absence. Recent amendments to the Education and Training Reform Act give the VIT the power to initiate inquiries into teachers rather than wait for complaints. AEU vice president, primary, Carolyn Clancy, says that failure to register often occurs when people change addresses, do not understand VIT’s role or that strict conditions apply to permission to teach. In most cases, unregistered teachers who are moved to nonteaching duties continue to be paid until their registration is sorted out. If this period is protracted they may have to take unpaid leave. ◆

Education support members hit 6100

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HE number of education support staff in the AEU has hit 6100, with membership tripling in the past three years. AEU organiser Kathryn Lewis said the increase in ES membership was heartening in that it put the union in a stronger position this year in seeking improved salaries and conditions. She said support staff shared many issues and concerns with their teacher colleagues, such as career development, job security, decent pay and the right to a fair and equitable workplace. AEU membership overall increased by 266 members to 46,188 in the past month. A range of training, networking and support activities for ES members will be held during August. ES Month will again include after-school coffee and cake sessions for members at about 30 Victorian venues. Lewis said the sessions (the union is shouting the cakes and coffees) were organised to help members network, meet AEU organisers and communicate concerns, raise issues and give feedback. Members can notify work organisers or the union directly if they would like a venue in their area included. Times and venues will be posted on the AEU website closer to August. ES organiser Kathryn Lewis can be contacted on (03) 9417 2822.◆

—Sian Watkins, AEU News


news PHOTO: MARK JESSER, STUDENT AT EUROA SC

Countdown to New York

An award-winning maths teacher is headed for the Big Apple following success with her numeracy program at a Euroa school. Sian Watkins reports.

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IKE many maths teachers, Euroa Secondary College’s Michelle Bootes dealt with low-performing students by modifying class work. But her involvement with a numeracy program in 2008 changed the way she and her colleagues taught maths, and will take her to New York next year to study low-SES students’ acquisition of mathematical language. Michelle is this year’s recipient of the $50,000 Lindsay Thompson Fellowship award for her work in coordinating the successful changes to the teaching of maths at Euroa. The prize money, presented at the Education Excellence awards last month, will cover the cost of a replacement teacher while Michelle spends six weeks researching her project with Professor Orit Zaslavsky at the University of New York. Euroa Secondary College has a low student family occupation (SFO)

rating, with 46% of its 360 students coming from single-parent families. In 2008, “our results were getting worse,” Michelle says. At the start of 2009, 80% of Year 7 and 8 students were performing below VELS level four in maths (equivalent to Grades 3 and 4). Of these, 50% were performing below VELS level 3.5 (Grade 5), with many at only Grades 1 and 2 level. Michelle, along with colleagues, attended a four-day training course on the developmental acquisition of maths skills presented by Pam Montgomery and Mark Waters, then Hume region coaches. Back in the classroom they used online adaptive tests to find out what students knew and didn’t know. They then used those results to target students performing below VELS level 4. Adaptive tests were followed by the release of teachers from classroom

teaching for interviews with individual students. The interviews “told us where kids were in the developmental phase of maths acquisition — what gaps and holes needed filling,” Michelle explains. After the interviews, individual profiles were made for 80% of the students in Years 7 and 8. Personal learning teams created individual folders for each student containing specific task booklets used for practice at the start of each maths class. No textbooks were used and learning tasks were selected from a various sources, including online resource maths300 and other Curriculum Corporation material. Activities such as card and dice games were created to teach students more flexible mental strategies. By 2010, Euroa Secondary’s middle students’ results had improved

so much they had reached the same level as like schools. The school is looking to maintain that result again this year. “What is pleasing is that more kids are having success,” Michelle says. “Many of the students had or have very low confidence with maths. I’ve videoed several students talking about how they are doing now and they are feeling much more confident — they can see themselves getting better. “At the same time we are still teaching the curriculum. For example, we teach area and perimeter, but we might work in tens rather than hundreds and thousands.” Michelle was funded by the DEECD to work as an in-house numeracy coach for 2.5 days a week in 2009–10. She says the changes introduced to maths teaching at Euroa SC have become self-sustaining. ◆

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news

Bamboo palace of learning

A research scholarship took a country school principal to a much greener place. He tells Sian Watkins his story.

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N THE past six months principal Steve Milverton has received 550 unsolicited applications for teaching jobs at his school. He was lucky to get three or four when he advertised vacant positions at his last school, Merbein West Primary near Mildura. It helps that his new school consists of spectacular, bamboo structures on 23 acres of warm, lush forest in Bali. The curriculum, based on an international Cambridge framework in grades K-12, including subjects such as green studies. This subject evolves from nature study to ecology and environmental studies. Steve ended up in Bali after being awarded an international research scholarship through the government-funded high performing principal’s program. He did his research in South-East Asia in 2008. Before joining the Green School this year he spent six months as a director of a private school in Phnom Penh. The Green School is in SibangKaja, in the south of Bali. It has 250 students, a small number of boarders, and 15 to 20% of its students are Balinese scholarship recipients. The remainder come from all over the world; many parents lured by the school’s

Rousseau-esqe appeal and its ethos of preparing students to make a difference in the world. The school, which opened in 2008, was conceived two years earlier by John and Cynthia Hardy, North Americans who have lived in Bali for more than 30 years. They were inspired by Alan Wagstaff’s Three Springs concept of an educational village community. The school is very green; students work in the organic gardens and helped build the biogas system, French photovoltaic solar cells are arriving in August and a new turbine will generate power from the Ayung River. There are no big drink fridges or dimmies at lunch-time; lunches are made from school-grown food. The school’s central building is said to be the largest bamboo structure in the world. It is remarkable – two swirling vortexes that collide to create a third, double vortex in the middle. The school is doing “some pretty exciting stuff”, says Milverton. “There’s no boundaries as to what we do, try or develop. We’re not sitting within the norm, operating within the constraints of NAPLAN.” Textbooks are used rarely and students get their hands very dirty. Milverton says that

Vale Marj Broadbent 1921–2011

A teacher, activist, TTUV vice-president and AEU life member remembered. Andrew Ferguson AEU organiser

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NLY a few people in our lives leave an indelible impression on us. Marj Broadbent was one of them. A woman of principle, conviction and a fierce sense of injustice, Marj was brought up during the Depression and the horrors of the war years, worked in shops and factories and only came to teaching in the late 1960s. In the teacher shortages of that era, the principal of Jordonville Tech offered her a job, no doubt on the force of her personality. A single mother of three boys, she set about getting her teaching qualifications and settling into Ferntree Gully Tech where she worked for nearly 20 years. She soon organised the sub-branch, was elected to TTUV council and then to executive and vice-president. She was a leading participant in the landmark equal pay case for teachers. Her union and political credentials had long been established, not least by her being sacked previously by Kodak for organising a strike. As an active member of the Communist Party of Australia she travelled to the USSR and China at the height of the Cold War, meeting both Khrushchev and Mao long before these countries established diplomatic relations with the West. The bureaucrats of the Education Department were never going to daunt her.

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a PhD professor, Renee Levie, found recently that the school, physically and philosophically immersed in nature, was enhancing students’ ability to learn. “It’s hands-on, it’s authentic and engaging.” “We are often asked to share our experience with educationalists and we are currently developing resources to assist the transformation of mainstream schools,” says Milverton. “You don’t need bamboo building to teach sustainability.” Are similar schools possible in Victoria? Milverton says “islands of innovation” exist (with kitchen gardens and aquaponic systems, for example) but a transformation of schools requires more than passionate individuals. He left Victoria “fed up with the lies, hollow promises and buck-passing” in state education. He would like to see schools get the automony to plan and develop their own facilities and programs so that “more truly sustainable and holistic schools immerge in the near future”. “The poor management of the latest BER money in Victoria has been a wasted opportunity for many government schools,” he says. “At least the private sector schools got to fully benefit from the initiative.” ◆

In one memorable negotiating session in Minister Lindsay Thompson’s office, after a civilised discussion, Marj looked at a valuable artwork on the wall and told the minister to “sell the bloody painting” to find the money for schools. In her last teaching years she became a member of the Teacher Registration Board in Spring Street. Often after lunch she could not be found as she had joined a demonstration outside Parliament. The cause hardly mattered; anyone “sticking it up the government” (any government) was worthy of support. As a teacher she was revered by her students. Affectionately know as “Granny Sanger” because she would readily give her lunch away to a hungry boy, she fought for the disadvantaged with energy and commitment. She would also remove a shoe and dispatch it to those not paying attention in the back row. She gave her all and expected the best of her students. Marj never gave up the fight. She lived human rights, dignity and justice for all. She is greatly missed. ◆


news

Disability sector pay EDGES UP Name and shame threat bears fruit Nic Barnard AEU News

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NLY a handful of employers continue to hold out over pay rises for members in disability day services after pressure from the AEU. Of 150 services, less than 20 have yet to agree to pass on the money they have already received from the State Government. AEU members in day services joined a traffic-stopping rally for equal pay on June 8, marching on Parliament with community and social workers to

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ELINDA Fillmore is our latest Rep of the Month for her efforts in staging a protest at a visit by Ted Baillieu at short notice, the day after he announced his backflip on teacher pay. Belinda has been rep at Hawthorn West Primary School since last September and admits: “I was a bit shy about it but I had somebody supporting me, which was fantastic.” She found the unexpected visit by the Premier, who is also the school’s local MP, “quite stressful to be honest.

Nominate your REP!

demand the State Government fund the outcome of their pay case taken to Fair Work Australia. FWA recently delivered a historic decision that workers in the sectors are underpaid partly because the work is predominantly carried out by women and seen as “caring” work. It is now considering submissions from unions, employers and governments to determine how much of the pay gap is for gender reasons (for more, see pages 17, 18). Employers and unions have

We had an inkling he was coming. The announcement had been the day before. It put a lot of noses out of joint — it really upset a lot of teachers. Some people felt we should uninvite him.” In the end, some colleagues lost their nerve before Baillieu arrived, but Belinda was determined to go on. The protest was not without its amusing side. “We set up in front of the hall (a church hall used by the school).

decided not to bargain for new agreements until the FWA case is settled. In the interim, the AEU has sought an agreement with employers, through representative body VHIA, to give staff a 3.25% pay rise from July 1 2010, and from July 1 this year. The union wrote earlier this year to every day-service employer in Victoria to demand they pass on the 3.25%, and promising to name and shame those who continued to hold out. AEU deputy vice president TAP Greg Barclay said: “Our letter-writing

A local man from the church came over and was chastising us for sticking things on the door and suddenly Ted was there. It was all a whirlwind really.” Belinda says she is glad other schools are protesting. “The amount of time that we put into our job is enormous and I think a lot of us felt we were going to be rewarded for that and given just a small financial boost for what we do. But it was all promises, promises.” ◆

campaign has squeezed them so much that we hardly have any employers left in the metro region who haven’t passed on the 3.25%.” Minimum wage rise flows on Meanwhile, Fair Work Australia (FWA) has raised modern award rates by 3.4% from July 1. However, AEU members who are paid award rates may receive less or more, depending on where they work. Under complex transition arrangements from the old awards to the new modern awards, some employees are playing catch-up — and so will get bigger pay rises — while others who were on higher rates under the old awards will get slightly less than 3.4%. Almost all disability members working in sheltered or supported employment settings are paid the award, as are some workers in day services that have not made an agreement with the AEU. In other day services, the award has now exceeded the agreement rate. Details of the increases will be posted on the AEU website — go to www.aeuvic.asn.au/disability. Some preschool teachers working in childcare centres are also paid award rates — the subject of a separate AEU campaign (for more, see page 11). ◆

Belinda Fillmore Hawthorn West PS

Does your school or workplace AEU Rep deserve special recognition? Email aeunews@aeuvic.asn.au telling us who you’re nominating and why. The Rep of the Month receives a limited edition AEU leather briefcase.

www.aeuvic.asn.au

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news

M

ORE than 100 casual and contract TAFE teachers have joined the drive for more secure employment. The AEU will lodge applications on their behalf en masse with employers, asking for these members to be converted to ongoing employment. The union will challenge any TAFE colleges who unreasonably refuse the request. The AEU has launched a survey of sessional teachers — employed by the hour — to learn more about their job concerns. “The future of TAFE is only as secure as the employment of its teachers,” says vice president TAP Greg Barclay. “With over 70% of all teachers in TAFE employed as either sessional or on fixed-term contracts, it is crucial that we have as many members as possible join our campaign to have TAFE teachers converted to more secure employment. Many are deterred from seeking better job security in fear of losing existing work. The job security drive marks the second anniversary of the TAFE agreement giving casual and contract teachers new rights to request greater job security. For many teachers, the new rights kicked in on June 17. Casual teachers must have worked in the same position for two years to qualify. Employers cannot unreasonably refuse a request. ◆

Have your say in the TAFE fees review

T

HE AEU has received almost 500 responses in less than a fortnight to its call for information about fees and charges at TAFE. These responses will inform the AEU’s submission to the Baillieu Government’s review of student fees at TAFE, being conducted by the Essential Services Commission. The message from vice president TAP, Greg Barclay is: “A big thanks to everyone who’s responded, and keep ‘em coming. “We need as many of your stories as possible to send a clear message out. We are already getting an impassioned response on workload issues and the quality of teaching and learning at TAFE.” Last year, the AEU campaigned successfully to have concessions reintroduced for students under 25 studying at the diploma and advanced diploma levels. “We must use the opportunity presented by this review and push again to ensure that TAFE remains accessible and affordable for all students,” says Barclay. To complete the survey, visit http://TAFEStudent.questionpro.com. The AEU will finalise its submission by June 22. To make a personal submission to the Essential Services Commission go to vetreview@esc.vic.gov. au. ◆

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Greg Barclay elected

L–R: AEU branch deputy secretary, Gillian Robertson, Greg Barclay and AEU branch secretary, Brian Henderson

Rachel Power and Sian Watkins, AEU News

G

reg Barclay, the subject of a court victory over the right of union reps to communicate with members, has been elected unopposed as AEU deputy vice president for TAFE and adult provision. Barclay has been acting deputy VP since February, appointed by AEU councillors following the resignation of Mark Hyde from the role last December. Hyde had been suffering ill health. News that Barclay’s nomination had been uncontested was welcomed by AEU branch president Mary Bluett. “It’s a very strong endorsement of the job he’s being doing since he’s been here. Now he can get on the job with confidence.” Barclay said: “I’m really looking forward to the next 18 months and the work we’ve got to do in TAFE and disability services. We’ve got a casual teachers conversion campaign to push ahead with in TAFE, and we’ve got to address the workload issue for TAFE teachers. We also need to begin work soon on developing a log of claims for 2012.” For disability members, the AEU will keep pressuring the Baillieu Government to fund the outcome of the equal pay case. “And there is still work to be done on making sure employers sign up to deliver the 3.25% pay rise that members were due under our memorandum of understanding,” Barclay adds. He hit headlines in February when he won a landmark case in the Federal Court against his employer, Bendigo Regional Institute of TAFE. In a majority decision, the court ruled that BRIT

director Louise Harvey had contravened the Fair Work Act when she stood down Barclay over an email he sent to AEU members at the institute. Dr Harvey also initiated disciplinary proceedings. Barclay had emailed members to remind them of their responsibilities not to create false documentation and to contact the union for advice if they felt pressured to do so. It followed concerns raised with Barclay by a number of members. The judges confirmed that the role of a union officer included “advising members on workplace issues ... and communicating with members about issues of interest or concern to them.” Legal firm Lander & Rogers is acting for Bendigo TAFE, which has sought leave to appeal to the High Court against the Federal Court decision supporting the rights of employees to engage in union activity at work. The State Government is paying Bendigo TAFE’s legal fees, which would likely amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars so far. State Workplace Relations Minister Richard Dalla­-Riva said earlier this month that Victoria supported Bendigo’s appeal because the full Federal Court ruling had “significant implications for all employees and employers”. “The decision, as it stands, could unfairly apply to innocent employees or employers in a wide range of circumstances — not just those that might involve union activities,” said Dalla­-Riva. It is not known if the Government “supported” Bendigo during the AEU’s appeal against an earlier single-judge decision dismissing Barclay’s adverse action claim against the TAFE. ◆

CARTOON © POPE/THE CANBERRA TIMES

Join drive for job security at TAFE


news

Preschool teachers say Lighten the Load Nic Barnard AEU News WESTERN AUSTRALIA ON June 10, a Full Bench of the WA Industrial Relations Commission dismissed the application for registration by the WA Principals Federation (WAPF). Its application was also rejected by the full bench in 2008. The court found that a small number of people from various professional bodies had sought to establish WAPF for industrial purposes, but had not acted as required by their own rules of association. WA's state school teacher's union said: “It is another reminder of the insidious efforts being advanced … to drive wedges between members of the teaching profession.” NEW SOUTH WALES Teachers joined other public sector workers in a large rally outside the NSW Parliament on June 15 opposing the Government’s proposed industrial relations changes. Delegates from metropolitan and outlying schools attended the rally despite heavy rain. The NSW Government has introduced a bill that, if passed, would remove the rights of teachers and other public-sector workers to bargain over wages and conditions. SOUTH AUSTRALIA The Adelaide Advertiser has reported on the problem of public school teachers using their own money to buy classroom supplies (Teachers dipping into their own pockets, June 13). AEUSA president Correna Haythorpe said there was “no doubt” teachers were using their own money to cover a shortfall in funding. SA Education Minister Jay Weatherill said he was confident schools “have the resources to provide for common classroom needs”. ◆

A

EU preschool members have launched a campaign to force governments to put their money where their mouth is. The early childhood sector is undergoing significant change, including the introduction of 15-hours’ universal preschool by 2013 and new standards and curriculum, under an agenda agreed to by state and federal governments. Much of the agenda has the support of the sector, which believes the critical importance of the early years to children’s educational outcomes is at last being taken seriously. But the changes are underfunded, and preschools and early childhood centres are struggling with staff shortages and burnout that threaten to undermine the proposals.

The AEU has launched its Lighten the Load campaign with a simple message to ministers: the 3Rs of reform are resources, resources, resources. “Recognising the value of what early childhood teachers do is all well and good but it is fruitless without the resources to enable them to do it,” says vice president (early childhood) Shayne Quinn. “For many, workload is affecting their decision to stay or leave the profession. We need teachers in the sector to stand together and argue our case for fair working conditions.” The campaign goes hand-in-hand with the union’s Play Fair in Childcare push for better pay and conditions for teachers working in childcare centres. That sector alone must find an extra 600 teachers within three years as new regulations come into force; but childcare centres pay well below the

rates for community and council-run preschools. Some childcare teachers are on much lower award rates. Even in community and council preschools, staff are feeling the strain of preparing for the changes, with endless consultations, planning meetings and documents to draft. The first step in the campaign is a survey of workload issues. Early childhood teachers and assistants can fill out the survey at www.aeuvic.asn. au/lighten_the_load. Survey findings will help inform the campaign. ◆

AEU WINS FLEXIBILITY over student-free days T

he Education Department has announced that schools will be allowed to set the timing of student-free days from next year, after lobbying by the AEU. Only the first day — February 1 next year — will be fixed by the department as a student-free day to allow schools to prepare for the arrival of students. Schools will be allowed to set the remaining three days of the year as they choose “to meet local school needs”. However, principals must notify their regional director of the chosen dates by the end of term 3 this year so that parents get as much notice as possible. AEU branch president Mary Bluett said: “This is a huge win for schools, which will now be able to plan pupil-free days flexibly to suit local needs.” Seeking promotion or a The Coalition Government had proposed that classroom teaching position? student-free days must be set either immediately before or after a school holiday. This was dropped after the Announcing our new AEU raised concerns that it would make report-writing days impossible and limit PD planning. FOR CRITERIA WRITING AND INTERVIEW Schools are asked to coordinate dates with other Promotions Positions - $135 local schools to promote cooperative PD and planning Classroom Teaching Positions - $99 and to maximize use of resources. The AEU wants additional student-free days to be These detailed packages are specific to the Victorian criteria. They will help you develop a dynamic application introduced to allow schools to implement new governand prepare for a powerful interview performance! ment initiatives. Available for immediate download at Sub-branches are advised to consider the timing of www.teachers-resumes.com.au next year’s student-free days as soon as possible in Tel 0411245415 Email teachers-resumes@bigpond.com light of the department’s decision. ◆

ONLINE PACKAGES

Teachers’ Professional Résumés – ABN 40 833 718 673

www.aeuvic.asn.au

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feature

The day we went to

CANBERRA

In the biggest lobbying exercise in the AEU’s history, members from across Australia descended on Canberra to meet their local MPs. Nic Barnard joined the party.

T

HREE AEU members are squeezed into the tiny, warm Canberra office of Deakin MP Mike Symon. An Australian flag fills a corner. As in every room on Capital Hill, the TV is on, streaming proceedings in the House of Representatives; Rob Oakeshott has the floor. The teacher, Seona Raeck, Tanya Burton (parent and teacher) Assistant Principal Timothy Dalton, are here to tell Symon their stories about the ­importance of the federal funding review. But the bell could go at any minute to sound a division, cutting short the meeting. The question is: how long will Oakeshott talk? Long enough for the three to get 40 minutes with their ALP member. The meeting is part of a huge lobbying exercise by the AEU to mark National Public Education Day. About 100 teachers, principals and parents from schools across Australia, including 15 from Victoria, are in Canberra to meet their local MPs and set out the urgency of fair funding. Over the day, almost 40 MPs and senators will have their ears bent. With each MP visited by one teacher, one principal and one parent, they are not there to go into the details of funding formulas and SES data but to tell their own story: the job their schools do, the education their kids receive and what more they could do if they only had the money. This is the next step in the campaign around the Gonski review of school funding. Submissions have closed — more than 6000 of the 7200 received came through the AEU’s campaign — but the work goes on. After all, Gonski’s recommendations will be only the first part of reforming Australia’s corrupted and inequitable funding system. The second part

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aeu news | june 2011

will be making sure the Government acts on the reforms. Hence these visits to some of Canberra’s backbenchers. Seona, a teacher at Dorset Primary School, is telling Symon how some colleagues have taped black cartridge paper over their classroom windows so that students can see the new state-of-the-art whiteboard. The school cannot afford blinds. “I have $5 per student to spend (on classroom supplies),” she says. “My integration aide is at home sewing curtains because I’ve got a $5000 system that the kids can’t really see.”

❛There are great schools in our area doing some really fantastic things but without the budget.❜ Timothy Dalton, an assistant principal at Blackburn High School, picks up the theme of facilities. “It’s not just having buildings that are more than 50 years old. It’s having classrooms that can offer the curriculum,” he says. “If we have four walls and a door, we have (only) one style of teaching.” With new facilities, teachers “can hopefully address some of the learning issues these kids have because they can adapt to the learning styles these kids have. “Buildings aren’t just about stopping the rain dripping in; it’s about pedagogy.” Their message is that public schools are doing

an incredible job helping students to achieve their best, but that they could be doing so much more with the right resources. Chief among their concerns are the students with behavioural issues, learning disabilities, fractured home lives or other needs that require specialist support. Tanya Burton, a teacher and parent at Whitehorse PS, tells Symon of two children in her class from families with welfare issues. The first has been able to get support and has moved up to grade 3 with “a really good base of academic and social skills. I could look at him and confidently say he’s going to move on. “The other boy has speech difficulties so he struggles academically. His speech is directly related to his reading and writing. His mum isn’t around, dad can’t afford a speech therapist. Dad is relying on the school to help this boy through. “I look at this boy and because of his speech problem that could be fixed in a short time, I believe that by the time he gets to secondary school the academic gap will be so great and so hard to fix, and that’s where disengagement happens. “If we had more funding for speech therapists and support staff, that boy could be tested in Grade 1, and his future could be very different.” Symon seems receptive and agrees to meet the group again in August. The verdict afterwards is that he’s on the right page. On another corridor, three members are meeting Adam Bandt, the newly elected Greens MP for Melbourne. The Greens would seem natural sympathisers with public education — but how high is ➠ continued on page 14


feature

L-R: Seona Raeck, Tanya Burton, Mike Symon MP, Timothy Dalton, Brian Henderson

Garrett backs ‘choice’ at school party Rachel Power AEU News

F

EDERAL Education Minister Peter Garrett addressed a reception at Parliament House for the hundred or so teachers, principals and parents who, along with AEU officials, visited Canberra last month to talk to politicians about the urgent funding needs of government schools. Held on the eve of National Public Education Day, about 20 Liberal, Labor and Green MPs and a few parliamentary staffers also attended the event. AEU national president Angel Gavrielatos opened

proceedings by celebrating the “great Australian success story” of public education, and asking the Federal Government to accept that, “in order to ensure excellence and equity for all, we need a better deal for public schools”. He said the Gonski review represented “an opportunity for the Labor Government to bring about a historic change through the introduction of a new funding system that better meets the needs of every child”. Garrett thanked the AEU for its “continuing efforts on behalf of its members, who remain

IN THEIR OWN

Peter Garrett

the backbone of our nation’s public schools. The success of Australian education is predicated on the existence of strong, vibrant, high-quality public schools,” he said, adding that the Gillard Government would support parents’ choice of school, whether public, independent or private, with continued investment. “I want to end the decades’ long school funding war — created by the Coalition — and find a solution that is fair, equitable and transparent,” he said. ◆

words

Fundraising fatigue

“I

Euan Morton

Falling through the cracks

“I

TOOK a Year 9 extra last week. The biggest troublemaker in the class, a boy — I really like him, he’s one of those real characters, always in trouble — I spent the whole class with him. He didn’t know his 2x2 table. “He’s got a fundamental numeracy problem but his IQ is enough that he doesn’t get any funding. “One of the common expressions we use is that these kids fall through the cracks. But he hasn’t fallen through the cracks. We know he’s got a problem and we try to devote as much time and effort to him as we can, but being equitable to the whole class, it’s not enough.” ◆  — Euan Morton Collingwood College teacher

T’S gone beyond the role of teachers’ job descriptions. But we have teachers putting all this extra time and effort into doing that. There are programs that we wouldn’t be able to offer if the fundraising doesn’t happen. “We have the Birregurra festival. That’s a whole weekend which is exhausting for teachers but it’s the only way we can get outside money coming into our community, because otherwise we’re always asking our parents for money. “But there are other small rural schools that don’t have a Birregurra festival. They don’t have access to any external fundraising.” ◆ 

— Mary Hutchinson Birregurra PS principal

“I

T’S shocking. The amount of pressure put on you from the school to go to the fetes. It’s almost relentless. (But) they make enough money to pay for someone’s salary. If they don’t make the money at the fete, they can’t hire that person. “You feel obliged all the time. And you already give money to the school for the building fund, for the library fund …” ◆ 

—Steve Hodder Melbourne parent

www.aeuvic.asn.au

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feature ➠ continued from page 12 the issue on their agenda? If funding reforms hit rocky water, will they use their numbers to push them through? Steve Hodder is a teacher in Whittlesea and a parent with a daughter at primary school in Bandt’s electorate. He talks movingly of her problems with literacy. “It’s taken her three years to get into a program. It was almost too late. And the reason was that there were other students with higher needs. And there’s only one teacher with the training. Staff don’t have the training to diagnose or deal with learning disabilities or disorders. “It takes so long to qualify and the hoops you have to jump through to get the resources — you feel like giving up. Now she’s been in the program for six months, we can see significant improvements in her reading and writing so it’s all been worth it, but it nearly didn’t happen.”

At Fitzroy High School, assistant principal Fran Mullins is overseeing individual learning plans for Year 7 students. The program is producing strong results, but at a cost. “Our Year 7 teachers are doing an amazing job to focus on these children and personalise the programs and improve engagement,” she tells Bandt. “With the individual plans we work out who needs that extra support but also link kids with their passions. The bottom line is student engagement. “We’ve probably had more than the average number of graduate teachers coming through, and three or four years down the track, they’re asking for a year’s leave because they’re working 50 hours a week plus. “There are great schools in our area doing some really fantastic things but without the budget … the pay-off is seeing the improvement in

IN THEIR OWN

L-R: Teacher Euan Mortan, Greens MP Adam Bandt, and assistant principal Fran Mullins

the kids and that’s wonderful but it’s got to be a sustainable model.” Bandt is another receptive listener. The third member of the group, teacher Euan Morton from Collingwood College, comes away with a promise that the MP will visit his school. Later, in the Parliament House café, he explains what he believes any MP would see if they spent 20 minutes in a government school classroom — and sums up the whole message of the day. “I think they’d see an

extraordinary difference in behaviour (compared with a private school), but they’d also see how passionate public educators can be about their content, their students and about education in general. “Those of us who work in public education, we care about our kids, we care about our subject and we care about our content. Not to say that private schools don’t, but I’ve made a choice to work in public education and I believe in it.” ◆

words L-R: Angela Patten with Laura Smythe MP

Seona Raeck

Disengaged students

Still waiting for support

“W

“T

E’RE a high-level VET and VCAL provider but it’s underfunded and we don’t have enough places for the kids that want to take the course. It’s very staff intensive — two staff for every class. We have kids on a waiting list but they really should be in there. “We have a lot of disengaged kids, chronic school refusers, kids consistently out of class because their behaviour can’t be managed. They’re at serious risk of not finishing their education and leaving very early. “We currently have a kid who started midway through the first term and couldn’t get on a program straight away. He’s got very serious mental health issues. School is the only support he has. If we lose him to school [as a school refuser] it has very dire consequences for a kid like that”. ◆ — Angela Patten Berwick SC teacher



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HOSE kids that need extra support — speech therapists, psychologists, guidance officers: the reality is we’ve got a whole stack of kids that need that help but aren’t getting it. “We’ve got a little boy in my grade, Year 6, he’s a repeater. He’s struggling. We’ve had him for 18 months and he’s now just getting to the top of the (waiting) list for his speech. It’s something his mum and dad can’t afford to provide so we’re doing the best at school. “We have a massive turnover of staff, so there’s no continuity … This little boy is doing his third getting-to-know-you session.” ◆



— Seona Raeck Dorset PS teacher


Paul Decis sees a bit of himself in the rough diamonds he teaches. He tells Sian Watkins what made him leave a comfy life in construction.

P

AUL Decis used to work hard and make lots of money. Now he works hard, earns little, and guffawing 14-year-old boys go close to giving him one-fingered salutes as they pass. “When they get me in a headlock then I know I’ll have made a difference,” says Paul, a former building and construction manager who is now a second-year graduate teacher of maths and PE at Staughton College in Melton South. Last year he was a project manager with the Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority. Before that he was facilities manager with Epworth Healthcare and before that spent 14 years with the Melbourne City Council in its infrastructure department. He started his four-year Bachelor of Education degree at Ballarat (which he combined with building jobs to earn money) 12 years ago after talking to his mentor about the direction his life should take. His mentor was Basil Shanahan, a former principal at Footscray High who taught Paul at Maribyrnong High. Basil asked Paul: “What did you want to do when you left school?” Paul: “PE teaching”. Paul and Basil, now 76 and retired, are in touch to this day. “I got bored easily at school,” says Paul. “All I wanted to do was play sport.” Nevertheless the teachers at Maribyrnong in the early 1980s, working with rough, tough kids and refugee children, were inspiring,” he says. “Teachers were your role models then.” After finishing his teaching degree Paul completed post-graduate study in business leadership and project management before returning to building work for financial reasons. Last year he was offered a role overseeing BER projects but says: “I’d had enough and wasn’t enjoying it.” Direct, forthright Paul would not be well suited to slow-moving projects and departmental politics. So how does he find teaching? “It’s been a huge learning curve — it’s incredibly challenging. You’ve got 25 kids in front of you and how many learning styles are there again? It reminds me of that Forrest Gump quote — ‘Life is like a box of chocolates.’ You never know what you’re going

to get when you turn up each day. What he likes is developing relationships with his students and creating opportunities to have a positive influence on them. “The camaraderie in teaching is amazing. We’re all passionate about the same thing,” Paul says. What he seeks for his students he compares with a golf lesson. “If you have a 45-minute golf lesson you usually come away remembering two things. If one or two really important things sunk in with the kids I teach, I’d be happy.” A wealthy newspaper columnist recently criticised Chris Lilley’s Angry Boys for its “appalling

language’’, “wholly dysfunctional families” and sexual crudities but Paul, working with similar boys every day and fond of them to boot, thinks the show is “hilarious. All the teachers are watching it.” One of four boys raised in Footscray with a father who drank too much, Paul identifies with those students at Staughton College who are from similar tough, low-income backgrounds. “I’m from Footscray — I don’t give a rats about status.” His mother taught him that “class isn’t money. She knew plenty of people that had money but she said class is how you treat people.” ◆

Sian and Sharon — AEU’s newest staff members

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HE AEU has two new staff members — Sian Watkins in Abbotsford and Sharon Cain in Bendigo. You will have noticed a new name gracing the Sian Watkins pages of the AEU News, with Sian Watkins bringing her intrepid style to the role of AEU journalist. Sian took a redundancy from The Age in 2008, where she had spent almost 25 years, to “give teaching a go — something I’d contemplated after leaving high school”. Following a DipEd Secondary at La Trobe in 2009, she taught at two high schools on six-month contracts last year. “I’ve never worked so hard in my life,” says Sian. “I veered between frustration, exhilaration and stunned fascination. “I cried only once,” she adds. “And it was not after a very naughty boy threw a basketball at my face, or after a far less naughty youth asked me if I was a ‘leso’ (given my new, short haircut).” Sian says she is passionate about the social and economic importance of a well-funded, highly valued public education system. “My teaching experience, though limited, gave me valuable insights into the difficulties that teachers face and the conditions and lack of resources

that they and students put up with. The dearth of permanent teaching positions is also a significant problem for students and the profession. “I aim to clearly Sharon Cain and fairly articulate the problems and issues in public education to benefit AEU members and, hopefully, public education generally.” Meanwhile, in Bendigo, Sharon Cain has taken over from long-term secretary Barb Cuffley. Born and bred in Geelong, two-and-a-half years ago Sharon was looking for a lifestyle change and chose Bendigo as her new home. “I love it up here,” she says. “It’s fabulous. It’s half the size of Geelong, but has everything I need. And it’s so pretty at this time of year.” Sharon was looking for two things in a new job: a change in direction and a way of helping others. She says the AEU position seemed like the perfect solution. “I wanted to feel part of an organisation that was giving back and offering support to people. My previous job didn’t have much face-to-face contact, so I am looking forward to that.” Sharon is available to assist members with administrative enquiries, union membership information and sub-branch administration as required. ◆

www.aeuvic.asn.au

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profile

BUILDING futures


feature

THEY WORK HARD

for the money

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aeu news | june 2011


feature

Disability workers came by the busload to bring Melbourne to a standstill in the most important rally yet for equal pay. Sian Watkins reports.

A

EU members were among thousands of disability and community workers who marched through central Melbourne earlier this month as part of a national day of action for equal pay. Zelda D'Aprano, a former factory worker who twice chained herself to Commonwealth buildings in 1969 in protest against pay discrimination against women, spoke to the crowd outside Trades Hall before it marched to State Parliament. “Don’t ever think that women’s labor is unimportant or lacking in value,” Zelda, now 83, told the crowd, which responded with huge cheers. “It is an indictment of our society that 42 years after Zelda took her historic stand we are having to take to the streets again today to ask for equal pay for a fair day’s work,’’

AEU branch president Mary Bluett told protestors. Fair Work Australia last month found that gender was an important factor in explaining the big gap between pay in the social and community services sector and comparable public-sector jobs. Because work done in the community and disability sector was regarded as “caring” female work, the skills and experience needed were undervalued, it said. Fair Work Australia will take several months before deciding the size of any pay increase to a workforce of about 150,000 people, mostly women. They are employed by non-government groups such as UnitingCare but most of the programs are wholly or partly funded by governments.

Protestors from across Victoria, including Bendigo, Castlemaine, Kyneton and Ballarat, attended the rally and some disability centres closed for the day to allow members to attend. The 5000-strong crowd walked through Melbourne’s CBD and workers and union organisers danced on the steps of Parliament to Donna Summer’s She Works Hard for the Money. Australian Services Union branch secretary Lisa Darmanin said the union’s case for higher wages was “not about the cost of equal pay” but “the cost of unequal pay”. That cost is borne by women such as Helen Stagg and Sue Cook, who work for the Mawarra Centre in Warragul, providing recreational activities, jobs and training for adults with physical and intellectual disabilities. Helen, with 25 years’ work experience in the sector, works full time and earns $42,000 a year. Her colleague, Sue, with 11 years’ experience, works full time and earns $40,000. Low pay, often challenging work

and the lack of job security (given the sector’s dependence on annual government funding) were responsible for the sector’s high staff turnover, AEU members at the rally said. Mary Bluett told the rally that two of the AEU’s witnesses at the Fair Work inquiry into the sector have since left the disability sector because of low wages. Helen and Sue said their job was often highly satisfying but Victorian Council of Social Service chief executive Cath Smith told the crowd that this should not compensate for pay inequity. “Don’t be misled by claims that the world as we know it will implode because of our pay claim,” Martin said. “Community-sector employees work with the most vulnerable people in Australia, in some of the most ­challenging environments and this should be recognised with adequate remuneration — to do this, ­government support is critical.’’ ◆

“I have been refused bank loans because of my wages.” After 15 years, Robyn Gray still earns under $50,000.

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FTER starting her working life in photography, Robyn Gray moved to community services in 1996. She has worked for Inclusion Melbourne (formerly Gawith Villa) in Armadale since 1999. As a support coordinator, she oversees recreational activities and community integration programs for groups and individuals and liaises with families and residential carers. Officially, Robyn works a 38-hour week but it’s more often 44 hours, with extra after-work calls and paperwork completed in the evenings and on weekends. She supervises 14 intellectually disabled people and seven support workers. Her job involves assessments and planning for clients and their families, evaluating the progress of individuals, and finding educational, recreational and work opportunities for them to give them a strong sense of belonging. She must ensure all activities and programs comply with health, safety and budget requirements. Robyn earns $47,000 a year. In her submission to the Fair Work Australia inquiry earlier this year, Robyn detailed the onerous bureaucratic requirements and complexities of her job, such as coordinating weekday and sometimes weekend activities and transport

for all her clients. And when things go wrong, she is responsible. “Sometimes I get a call to say that service users have not turned up where they are meant to be, which is very stressful. One time a client was meant to access the community via public transport and we were out till after midnight looking for the client who did not turn up … because he had taken the wrong bus. You put in all the safety factors that you can but occasionally things go wrong.” She told the inquiry that she may head to Queensland one day, where wages in the sector are higher. “I have been refused bank loans for houses because I could not demonstrate a satisfactory capacity to repay the loans on my wage,” she wrote. Her existing pay “does not reflect the level of responsibility that I have. My workload is ridiculous and I can’t fit it all in within the hours of the job.” Robyn has worked for most of the past 34 years. She has accumulated $68,000 in superannuation, an anomaly that Fair Work Australia has agreed has much to do with her gender. ◆ — Sian Watkins www.aeuvic.asn.au

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feature

Official: Gender to blame for low wages David Bunn industrial officer

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ISABILITY day service workers are a step closer to gaining fair wages following the decision by Fair Work Australia in the equal remuneration case brought by unions. But there is still a way to go. FWA, in a full bench decision issued on May 16, concluded that “employees in the [social and community services] industry are predominantly women and are generally remunerated at a level below that of employees of state or local governments who perform similar work”. In general, employees were paid at the relevant award rate or just above it, even where enterprise agreements applied. This is glaringly evident among disability day service workers. Most are covered by agreements but all but a handful of those agreements are long past their expiry date. Even when they were current, rates in the agreements were never more than 3% above the award rates.

FWA said the fact that workers in the industry were predominantly female was an important factor in the emergence of the pay gap. The work was perceived as “women’s work”. FWA agreed that much of the work was “caring” in nature, which disguised the level of skill and experience it required; to that extent, the work was undervalued for gender-based reasons. Another factor was the low bargaining power of workers because of the “feminised” nature of the work and that it was carried out mainly by women. The bench decided: “To the extent that the gap is gender-based we should take action to correct it if we can.” It has now asked unions and others to help decide how to put a figure on how much of the gap is caused by gender. Further hearings will be held in August. The Australian Services Union has led the equal pay case, supported by the AEU, other unions and the ACTU. It was mounted under an improved equal

remuneration provision in the Fair Work Act, one of the victories won in the union campaign against WorkChoices. The claim covers AEU Victorian members in disability day services. Other parts of the disability sector are not included in the present claim because they are covered by different awards. A number of employer groups have appeared in the case and supported the union application, while expressing concerns that government must fund any outcome. AEU members and employers are dependent on the Baillieu Government to fund any pay increase that comes out of FWA’s deliberations. Before the last election Premier Ted Baillieu and his now Community Services Minister, Mary Wooldridge, matched the Brumby Government’s commitment to fund the full cost of any pay increases involved. However, the Government has since limited that commitment to $50 million a year over four years. ◆

Bosses’ message

TAFE teachers’ stories

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HE rally heard a message of support from the chairs and treasurers of community services, delivered by the Victorian Council of Social Services. “We are volunteers; our employees are not,” the chairs and treasurers said. “They should be paid fairly and equitably for the work they do. … It’s time for government to stand up for workers that support the most ­vulnerable people in our community.” ◆

On the buses

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HOCOLATES and chat helped workers from rural disability services brave the chill of an early start on the bus to the Melbourne rally. Caroline Backman, who works in a regional adult training and support service, said it was a rare chance for members from different organisations to catch up. “We were all talking and discussing different issues,” she said. “Don’t Ted Baillieu and the Coalition say they want to do the right thing by people with disabilities? How can they do that if they’re not supporting the people that support them?” So strong was the cause that

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management at a number of centres supported staff in going to the rally. Caroline’s service closed for the day. “The commitment from management and my work colleagues to support pay equity has been marvellous,” she said. “It’s an important issue for all of us. “I can only really afford to do this job because my husband is the main wage earner. I can do a job I enjoy for minimum wage because I’ve got that support.” Parents and carers of her adult clients with learning difficulties were notified in advance of the closure. Caroline said that if some had not been able to make alternative arrangements she would not have attended the rally. “They are our first priority.” ◆

OMMUNITY development studies at TAFEs around the state stopped for the day as teachers and students attended the equal pay rally. AEU member Paul O’Sullivan, one of a dozen teachers from Kangan Batman TAFE said: “We worked in the sector before we began teaching. It’s a great career but it’s hard work. “Now it’s our role as teachers not just to educate the students about social justice but about the need for them to stand up for their own rights in this democratic country. If you don’t, this is what happens.” His colleague, Kerri Jackson, said ultimately it was clients who suffered because of the high turnover of staff in community services, linked to low pay. “When you talk to consumers of

community services, one of their major issues (is) getting consistency of service,” Kerri said. “We work specifically in the homelessness sector and when you’ve got three or four workers in 12 months to help you get on your feet, it’s self-defeating. “The bravery of having to talk to a worker about your story and then having to do that again, every couple of months, is soul-destroying. It’s like picking the scab off a wound.” The fact that most case workers are women also creates problems for some clients who find it difficult to talk about men’s issues. “Our classes are 85-90% females,” Paul said. “In some classes there are no men. If there was fairer pay we would get more males.” ◆

A student’s voice

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E’RE living on a student’s budget now and we shouldn’t be living on a student’s budget once we start work. I’ve been a client in the industry and I’ve since found out that some of the people helping me out were eligible for the same benefits they were trying to get me on.” ◆ — Vicky, VU TAFE community studies student


feature

Down a dark corridor

Teacher bonus payments have a long and ignoble history with one consistent feature: they don’t work. Research officer John Graham examines the evidence.

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HE Gillard Government’s determination to introduce performance pay for Australian teachers is a case of ideology triumphing over evidence. Studies from the United States, where this development (along with the rest of the Federal Government’s educational accountability agenda) originated, have found little evidence of positive outcomes from ­performance bonus schemes. In this year’s budget, the Gillard Government allocated $425 million by 2014–15 for what it calls “Rewards for Great Teachers”. The money is to pay for one-off performance bonuses for “the top 10%” of teachers across the country. The bonus will be worth up to 10% of each teacher’s salary. It is estimated that 25,000 teachers Australia-wide will receive a bonus (and 225,000 will miss out). The first bonus will be paid in 2014, based on teacher performance in 2013. All teachers will be required to participate in the performance management system in order to sort out the “top performers”. The Government has asked the Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) to develop the performance management system — to be called the Australian Teacher Performance Management Principles and Procedures — that will be used as the basis for payments. A component of this system will be an assessment of each teacher’s contribution to the achievement of their students. Given the many statements from the Prime Minister and the

extraordinary financial and political students but were not eligible to investment her government has made receive any bonuses. The study was in My School, “student achievedesigned to test the rationale for ment” will mean NAPLAN results. A linking teacher bonuses to student top 10% performance by a teacher results: “If teachers know they will will, therefore, mean their assessed be rewarded for an increase in their contribution to those results. students’ test scores, will test scores On the research evidence alone, go up?” such an approach is a waste of The answer from the study was money and a wasted opportunity to “no”. There was no overall effect on do something more constructive student achievement by the “bonus for the teachers” ­profession, compared with such as the control group. ❛ An English study introducing Two other of performance pay an improved 2010 studies of career performance pay, also found a decline in structure in New York and and a new Chicago, found no student achievement ❜ era in evidence that the professional bonus payment pay for teachers. schemes raised student test scores in Last September the most complete maths and English, or had any effect and rigorous study of teacher on teacher retention. The New York performance pay in the US was researchers concluded: “If anything, released by the National Center on student achievement declined.” Performance Incentives at Nashville’s Another recent study of performVanderbilt University, in conjunction ance pay, in Houston, which used with the Rand Corporation. It was more than one form of student funded by the US Department of testing to assess teachers, found that Education. the assessment of teacher performResearchers analysed the effect on ance between 2007–10 differed student achievement of performance according to the reading test used bonuses paid to Years 5–8 mathand was “highly variable from year ematics teachers teaching in Nashville to year”. public schools between 2007–09. The researchers concluded: “In The teachers were divided into two practice, many teachers cannot be groups. In the first group, individual statistically distinguished from the teachers could earn up to $15,000 majority of their peers.” a year in performance bonuses. In An English study of performance the second “control group”, teachers pay also found a decline in student taught the same courses and similar achievement. Researchers from the

University of London analysed the impact of teacher performance pay on the achievement of students in the Portuguese national exams over a seven-year period. Teachers in those parts of Portugal that did not have a bonus scheme acted as a control group. The researchers found that “the increased focus on individual teacher performance caused a significant and sizable relative decline in student achievement, as measured by national exams”. They also found consistent evidence of “grade inflation” in school-level results of teachers under the performance pay scheme. Payment for results has a long history of failure. Each time it regains currency it runs into the same problems — teaching to the test, the displacement of other important purposes and goals of education, a lack of consensus about what constitutes merit and how it should be measured, and the inability to fairly cater for all teachers at all levels in all subjects and in all circumstances. The recent research evidence about payment by results is damning: it indicates that it has no effect on student achievement or a negative effect. Evidence-based policy, which used to be in the mission statement of every government across Australia, should compel the Federal Government to return to the drawing board. Ignoring evidence leads only to a dark corridor of ideology and prejudice. ◆

www.aeuvic.asn.au

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feature

SCHOOLS LOSE as coaches dropped

School leaders challenge the Coalition Government’s verdict that literacy and numeracy coaches have been ineffective. Sian Watkins reports.

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HE State Government’s justification for dismissing 200 literacy and numeracy coaches at the end of the year has met with disappointment and frustration among school leaders involved. Education Minister Martin Dixon last month said that, as part of education budget cuts, the coaches would be axed because they had failed to achieve improved NAPLAN literacy and numeracy scores in the primary and secondary schools involved. Wrong, says Blackburn High School assistant principal Tim Dalton. His school’s NAPLAN maths results did improve in the past two years with the help of numeracy coach Catherine Mallis. And it wasn’t just NAPLAN results that improved. “There have been tangible improvements in teachers’ practice and in our curriculum,’’ he said. Abbotsford Primary School principal Merridy Patterson said that numeracy coach Kathryn Patford had established a teaching and learning foundation to build on, and the prospect of losing her at the end of the year was disappointing. Patford, a regional numeracy coach, worked with staff on planning learning tasks and assessment, clarifying the purpose of each lesson, and rigorous identification of each student’s needs. School money pays for a literacy coach one day a fortnight. Patterson said that, as a single leader of a 98-student school (with no assistant principal or leading teachers), it was difficult to find the time and resources to provide coaching to help teachers develop skills to improve student learning. Patford’s

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focus on teaching and learning, and her mentoring role with three graduate teachers in the school, had been “invaluable”, Patterson said. Catherine Mallis’ work at Blackburn High included delivering information on innovative curriculums to the school’s teaching and learning committee;

❛Tell me and I’ll forget Show me and I may not remember Involve me and I’ll understand.❜ observing teachers in the classroom and giving feedback; overseeing a learning partners system, in which teachers chose a learning partner and selected an area of their practice they wanted feedback on; and coaching teachers in effective uses of open-plan classrooms. “It’s appalling that her job is being swallowed up,” Dalton said. “Staff don’t have time to ­investigate all the wonderful stuff that’s out there, and this practice has made a difference for kids, particularly in the way we cater for different learning styles. Catherine also spent a lot of time helping teachers with varying degrees of experience.” Mallis disagrees “strongly” with Mr Dixon’s

justification for axing the coaching program. “Data from several regions I’m aware of shows clearly the positive effect the teaching and learning coaches have had.” “The benefits involve more than just NAPLAN results,’’ she added. “I’ve worked with teams and individuals to help teachers become more aware of how they can change or improve their practices. The effects of the teamwork, and working collaboratively, have been really powerful. All the teachers here have benefited from observation of their teaching practice.” Mallis says that every year the demands on teachers increase. “They (the state) say they want improvements in teaching and learning but schools need support to do it. “The teachers here work extraordinarily hard. They are committed to the students and really want to give, but you can’t just dump ideas into the laps of people. If you want genuine innovation and improvement in your teaching practice you have to provide the time and the resources for people to do it.” A literacy and numeracy coach who wished to remain anonymous said the coaching program led to improved results and more engaged, better behaved students. She said regular, consistent coaching has been far more effective than “filling up” tired teachers with information at occasional, after-school PD sessions. “Teachers take-up about 10% of the


feature

Loddon-Mallee schools go it alone

PHOTO: NOEL BUTCHER

Catherine Mallis and Tim Dalton

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information at these sessions, and implement about 10% of that in the classroom.” She quoted the following proverb to support her argument that every school needed a teaching and learning coach. Tell me and I’ll forget Show me and I may not remember Involve me and I’ll understand. She received “fantastic” training to become a teaching and learning coach and she laments the dissipation of a “very professional and highly skilled group of people in which much time and money was invested”. “I feel very privileged to have been part of the program.” AEU President Mary Bluett said that, on a recent trip to Warragul, two primary school teachers had “waxed lyrical about the fantastic difference that a numeracy coach had made in their schools”. Teaching and learning coaches were introduced by the former Labor Government in 2008. Members of regional school improvement teams, they worked in selected schools to improve students’ maths, science and English by strengthening and improving teachers’ knowledge, skills and use of ICT. Mr Dixon said Labor never intended to continue funding the coaches, but Labor MPs rejected this at a government budget estimates committee meeting last month. Days after the Government said it would end the coaches’ funding, Minister for the Teaching Profession Peter Hall presented three schools with

CHOOLS In Victoria’s Loddon Mallee region will draw from their limited budgets to continue the work of literacy and Ultranet coaches next year. The schools have agreed to contribute $15 a student to raise half the cost of the coaches and the rest will be covered by the region. But Loddon-Mallee regional director Ron Lake says coaches will be hired in school networks only where the funding shortfall is not too great. Two networks will not get a literacy coach because of a $24,000 shortfall. In a memo sent to principals on 16 June, Lake supports hiring literacy and Ultranet coaches in the Goldfields, Macedon Ranges, Mallee, Bendigo and Sunraysia networks; and an Ultranet coach in the Sandhurst and Swan Hill networks. Lake said although all schools in the Campaspe network wanted to employ a literacy coach, he would not support it because the “knowledge base of good literacy teaching is significantly more widespread and robust” than teachers’ Ultranet knowledge”. Campaspe schools were not interested in hiring an Ultranet coach. In the Swan Hill network, all schools except three supported hiring a literacy coach but Lake said in his memo that this would be undesirable given a likely funding shortfall of $8780. In the Sandhurst network, all except four schools supported hiring a literacy coach, but Lake said he would not support this given a likely funding shortfall of $15,345. There are 159 schools in the Loddon-Mallee region and 38,000 students according to department figures. ◆

2011 Victorian Education Excellence awards for “sustained numeracy improvement”. A numeracy coach played a key role in the project that led to Copperfield College, Taylors Lakes Secondary College and Rosehill Secondary College winning the outstanding school leadership team award. The $20,000 award recognised the achievements in maths at the three schools, after principals and teachers worked with a consultant and the numeracy coach to improve their teaching. Copperfield College principal Tony Simpson said last month that the award highlighted the success

of the numeracy coaches. “The evidence in our case is overwhelming,” Mr Simpson told The Age. “I think it’s a great shame that the (teaching and learning coaches) program is going to go into the ether.” In The Age report published on May 17, Rosehill Secondary College principal Peter Rouse said the numeracy improvement project had helped teachers identify what students did not understand in maths. “Textbook teaching is no longer sufficient … we now have really in-depth teaching based on students’ individual needs,” he said. ◆

Promises, promises

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DUCATION Minister Martin Dixon, in an address to Parliament on May 31, said: Over the last 10 years Victoria’s performance in literacy and numeracy has flat-lined. In 2009, the Auditor-General said that despite over $1 billion having been spent on literacy and numeracy programs there was little or no i­mprovement to be seen. … Under Labor we saw no real, consistent or sustained improvement in literacy and numeracy. Over the next four years this Government will be investing more than $740 million in literacy and numeracy programs. We will be spending $100 million on maths and science specialists. We’ll be handing out 400 scholarships to science graduates in an effort to increase the number of maths and science teachers in Victorian schools. We want to work together with the Federal Government. We want Victoria’s education system to be the best performing system in the world. ◆

www.aeuvic.asn.au

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international

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Saving America’s PUBLIC SCHOOLS

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HILE several Republican state governors watch their ratings slip following their Goliathan struggle with teachers’ unions in the US this year, it remains moot whether nearly 75 years’ worth of work protecting the way public-sector employees negotiate their contracts can recover. The recently elected Republican governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, proposed and then passed a bill that stripped public-sector employees of most of their collective bargaining rights and reduced their take-home pay by about 8% — all in the name of reconciling the state’s US$137 million budget deficit. Anticipating unrest, the Governor threatened to bring out the National Guard against protestors. Restoring bargaining rights only to law enforcement workers and firefighters, the state saw its remaining public-sector employees — of whom nearly 70,000 are teachers — voicing their dissent. Wisconsin was the first battleground, but by no means the last. Later in March, newly-elected Ohio Republican governor John Kasich justified his support for the dismantling of public-sector collective bargaining by saying: “All this is rooted in job creation.” The notion that public-sector pensions and salaries — not Lehman Brothers or corporate tax cuts

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UT AZ

VT ME NH MN MA WI NY SD RI MI CT PA IA NJ NE OH IL IN DE WV VA MD KS MO KY NC KY OK AK SC MS AL GA TX LA FL ND

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A resurgent Republican right is trying to pin the US’s fiscal and educational woes on teacher unions and taking an axe to teachers’ bargaining rights. Sarah King Head reports.

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MT

OR NV

Source: GAO.gov, National Journal, State Net, lexisnexis.com

HI States that have introduced legislation this session that would restrict collective bargaining

States that allow collective bargaining States that allow collective bargaining only for some public workers States that don’t allow collective bargaining for any public workers

— were and are responsible salaries and benefits account for about for the dire financial situation 30% of the general funds available to of most American states most states, it is not surprising that has gained wide parlance in state legislatures looked here first. recent months. But, the question then becomes: However, there is no were restrictions on teachers’ collecevidence that collective tive bargaining rights also necessary? bargaining labour law Only 12 states guarantee collective reforms or union activities bargaining to public-sector groups can in any way be held that include teachers. Twelve others responsible for the collapse of deny this right to any public employee state budgets. — and 15 states this year alone have Before the dust had settled introduced legislation to restrict it. in Wisconsin or Ohio, mostly The reason seems rooted in the Republican-led state governanxieties of policymakers and the ments across the country — from public about the poor performance Washington to of American Maine to Florida elementary schools ❛❛... there is no — were on the in international starting blocks. rankings. Recent evidence that Notably, while OECD tests show ­collective ­bargaining that US students not all states historically have continue to lag or union activities permitted collecbehind those can in any way be tive bargaining in many other for public-sector held ­responsible for developed employees, many countries — even the collapse of state though they receive of those that have are considering or some of the budgets.❜❜ have passed laws biggest funding per reducing union capita. arsenals. Efforts to increase global competiNext on the hustings was Florida’s tiveness have inspired successive Rick Scott (R), who signed similar federal administrations to focus on legislation at the end of May. Most student performance. President recently, Tennessee added its Barack Obama’s iteration has been own law, replacing legally binding the US$4.35bn Race to the Top collective bargaining with a process program, which seeks to enhance euphemistically called “collaborative and standardise the way education is conferencing”. delivered in US elementary schools. Particular emphasis has been Fiscal crisis or fig leaf? placed on an external system for evalThe fiscal problems for American state uating teacher performance in relation governments are real. In the first to their students’ test results. Not only 10 months of the fiscal year, 23 states does this play to a myth that unreguwere forced to collect US$7.8 billion in lated, unionised workers perpetuate forecast shortfalls. Since public-sector poor performance in students, it also

opens the floodgates for policies eerily reminiscent of unchecked free market economics. No better is this seen than in Microsoft boss Bill Gates’ public school reform program. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation supports a range of measures including the replacement of “failing” local schools with privately run charter schools, standardised testing and more control over evaluating and firing teachers. Indeed, Gates and his educational reform counterpart, Eli Broad, sponsored the critically acclaimed but derisively one-sided documentary Waiting for Superman (reviewed in AEU News, April). In spite of this and other rhetoric to the contrary, the evidence reveals a positive correlation between those states that permit teacher unions and better school performance. But even without the facts and figures, some sections of American society are stopping to take stock of the situation. They are offering those checks and balances on which America’s constitutional commitment to accountability relies. Thus, circuit judge Maryann Sumi issued a stay on the Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill in mid-March that has kept the legislation in limbo (for the time being). Similarly in Ohio, teachers’ unions have joined other labour organisations and political advocates to force a referendum challenging Kasich’s bargaining law. However the battle plays out, one thing is clear: not all Americans are prepared to throw public education to the vicissitudes of free market forces. ◆ Sarah King Head is a journalist specialising in North American education.


Bring the house down U

NION Shopper has long helped union members make savings on everything from fridges to cars. Now it can help you save money on the biggest purchase of all — a house. Union Shopper is working with CS Property Consultants to offer union members free consultancy, advocacy and negotiation services — an average service fee saving of $10,000. CS Property Consultants acts as a buyer’s agent to help house-hunters make the most informed decision when purchasing a property. The agency will help buyers through the entire process, including property searching, detailed market and investment analysis, contract negotiations and settlement support. On average it will reduce the final purchase price by 10%. Through Union Shopper, CS Property Consultants will: • Waive the $550 appointment fee • Waive the consultancy fee of 2% of the purchase price. In order to receive this offer, members must contact CS Property Consultants at least 24 hours before contacting the listing agent. Union Shopper is a service available only to union members, using the combined purchasing power of Australia’s 2 million-strong union movement to secure lower prices and deals. For more information go to www.csproperty.com.au/union.html or check the Union Shopper website at www.unionshopper.com.au and follow the links. ◆

Women’s FOCUS

Stephanie Massow North Geelong SC

Immersed and enlightened An AEU rep gives an insight into the Anna Stewart Memorial Program.

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OR starters, you need to know who Anna Stewart was. She was a journalist and active Victorian union official whose life tragically ended in 1983 when she was 35. She was a woman who fought for the rights of members of the unions she was part of, and for the rights of all women workers. She drove a blue-collar union campaign for maternity leave award provisions, fought for childcare facilities in car plants‚ researched and argued work value cases‚ initiated campaigns against sexual harassment that led to employers recognising it as an industrial issue‚ and assisted with the ACTU maternity leave test case. After all this she became a founding member of the ACTU women's committee‚ established in 1977. During commission hearings Anna would breastfeed her young son or seek adjournments to do so. In her honour, the Anna Stewart Memorial Program began in April 1984. The program is a two-week immersion in trade unionism. Four days are spent with like-minded women from a variety of blue and white-collar unions at Victorian Trades Hall; the others are spent at a union of your choice. As an active member of the AEU, I chose to spend them in Abbotsford. I should explain what brings me here. I became a member of the AEU as a student when a representative spoke to our B.Ed group. I became involved in sub-branch meetings at my first workplace, and soon after starting at my current school I was elected sub-branch president. Being in the Barwon South Western region, I feel very comfortable calling the AEU Geelong office. However, the role the union plays did not really become clear until I experienced it first-hand. A few weeks ago, if you had asked me why I was a member of the union, I would have rambled on about being protected in an increasingly dangerous profession, and maybe about looking out for the rights of school staff. Now I feel much more passionate about this answer. Yes, the AEU protects its members, but ultimately it goes far beyond this. The knowledge its organisers and employees possess about the agreements and rights of members is commendable. There are no questions that cannot be answered by someone. From media meetings with Mary Bluett, to meeting ES staff at a school with ES organiser Kathryn Lewis, to time spent with the Membership Services Unit, we were busy learning. The political climate and recent budget announcements made this an interesting time to be immersed in the union. I would like to thank all the staff I met over the fortnight. The strength of our union can be attributed to all these wonderful men and women — and of course to our evergrowing member base. In the end, we are the heart and soul, and we can rally for the changes ASMP participants Helen Thomaidis, Williamstown PS our education system and Stephanie Massow, North Geelong SC deserves. ◆

www.aeuvic.asn.au

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inside the AEU

Member BENEFITS


inside the AEU

2011

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AEU TRAINING & PD Kim Daly and Rowena Matcott training officers

What do you want to know?

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Why attend an AEU Active training course? Where do you want us to start?

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O YOU know how to run a sub-branch meeting? Does the thought of trying to recruit new members make you nervous? Are the consultation structures in your school a bit creaky — or non-existent? Do you need a local agreement, and would you know how to write one if you do? If your answer to any of these is “No” or even “Not sure,” you’ll find the knowledge and skills that you need in our AEU Active training

courses or at one of our other workshops or forums. Do you understand the student resource package — your school’s budget — and what it means for your school’s programs next year? Do you really understand it? Are you up to speed on OHS issues and what they mean for industrial agreements in the workplace? Do you have your head around the teacher and ES agreements and how they operate in your workplace? Did you know that the default mode of

employment for teachers and ES staff is ongoing? Are you confident using Recruitment Online (ROL) and writing a job application? Our courses are there to help improve your skills and knowledge. You will come away with the ­confidence to improve your own situation and support your AEU colleagues as well. From our AEU Active two-day courses and modules, and our new reps training, our after-work forums,

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Get A Job events, OHS forums and more, we’re here to help. Check the calendar below or find further information and booking details at at www.aeuvic.asn.au/ training. Training notices are also sent out to sub-branch reps every Wednesday in our new regular Reps’ Email. Ask your rep to pass them on. If you have questions regarding any of our courses, please phone or email Rhonda Webley on (03) 9418 4844 rhonda.webley@aeuvic.asn.au. ◆

AEU TRAINING CALENDAR TERM 3, 2011 All courses and conferences are full-day events unless indicated. Upcoming events can be found at www.aeuvic.asn.au/calendar.

AEU ACTIVE Two-day courses Aug11 & Aug12.........AEU Abbotsford Aug11 & Aug 12....................Bendigo Aug 25 & Aug 26................Gippsland Aug 25 & Aug 26.......Bacchus Marsh Sep 6 & Sep 7......................Werribee AEU ACTIVE FOR NEW AND ASPIRING PRINCIPALS (one-day) Sep 21.......................AEU Abbotsford CONSULTATION AND EMPLOYMENT (one-day) July 29..............................Shepparton Aug 3.........................AEU Abbotsford Aug 9...........................South Morang Aug 16.......................AEU Abbotsford KNOW YOUR AGREEMENTS (one-day) Aug 23....................................Berwick Sep 9................................Abbotsford BRANCH CONFERENCE August 6....................AEU Abbotsford

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aeu news | june 2011

GETTING A JOB

Application writing (4.30pm–6pm) Aug 9........................AEU Abbotsford Aug 15..................................Geelong Aug 16................................Wodonga Aug 18..................................Ballarat Aug 23................................Traralgon Aug 25..................................Bendigo Sep 13......................AEU Abbotsford Applying for leading teacher positions Sep 14......................AEU Abbotsford

WOMEN’S PROGRAM Targeting leadership (9.30–4pm) July 26..........................South Morang Changing cultures and having those difficult conversations (4.30pm–6pm) Aug 3...................................Ringwood Interviews for success (4.30–7.30pm) Aug 2............................Taylors Lakes Refresher Courses Aug 2 to Aug 4.......................Ballarat Sep 14 to Sep 16..............Pakenham

Full details of all AEU training programs, conferences and events can be found at www.aeuvic.asn.au/ training.

EDUCATION SUPPORT

AEU PRINCIPALS

CONFERENCE AND DINNER August 25...................Langham Hotel Application writing for principal positions July 19.......................AEU Abbotsford Leadership and managing in the context of the VGSA Sep 21.......................AEU Abbotsford

CONFERENCE

Aug 31.......................AEU Abbotsford Twilight conferences Conference 4pm­–6pm Dinner 6pm–8pm July 28..............................Shepparton Sep 22..............................Yarra Valley ES Business Managers CONFERENCE July 27........................AEU Abbotsford ES Advocates Aug 1 – Aug 5...........AEU Abbotsford ES Recognition Month Aug 1 – Aug 31

NEW EDUCATORS Meet the Principals (4.30pm) Aug 30.......................AEU Abbotsford Aug 31.......................AEU Abbotsford Sep 6......................................Geelong Sep 8......................................Ballarat Sep 13.................................Traralgon Sep 15.................................Bendigo Sep 20..................................Wodonga Young Member Activists Program Aug 29 – Sep 2.........AEU Abbotsford

OTHER EVENTS Disability Services Workshop

Sep 16.......................AEU Abbotsford

CRT CONFERENCE July 13.......................AEU Abbotsford


inside the AEU

On the PHONES Membership Services Unit — 1800 013 379

Before you take that second job Fiona Sawyer MSU officer

T

IMES are tough, and many teachers are thinking of taking a second job. If you are one, be careful you don’t jump out of the frying pan and into the fire. You need permission from your employer (ie. the principal, as employer’s representative) to take another job outside of the DEECD. Permission will not be granted if that work may create a conflict of interest. If you wish to work as a tutor you can’t tutor your own students. This could fall under the definition of misconduct: “Improper use of information, or school or department resources, for private purposes or personal gain.” Ministerial Order 199 says an employee must “avoid any conflict of interest, financial or otherwise, that might affect, or may be seen to affect, the performance of the employee’s official duties. “An employee must not seek, accept or obtain any financial or other advantage (including gifts, rewards or benefits) for himself/herself, his/her family or any other person or organisation

if that advantage does or might compromise the employee’s integrity” (Clause 11.1.7). Teachers and their work technically come under the definition of resources. So check with your principal before taking that job. Questions for agencies We get calls from kindergarten and school members who are interested in finding work — or who have found work — through an e­ mployment agency. The AEU does not endorse any agencies; however, we recognise they provide an alternative that some employers prefer. Agencies primarily provide CRTs and you can expect them to take a cut of your daily rate, so check their commission. Questions you might ask include: • Do they charge upfront registration fees? • Do they charge contract fees? • Do they reimburse police checks or other expenses? • Do they provide PD opportunities? • Do they offer employment and CV advice?

• Do they offer alternative work during holidays? • Do they provide full records of employment activity each year? • Can they guarantee you work? It pays to do your research as agencies can vary in their approach. Be aware that your working conditions are still governed by our awards and agreements and not by the agency. And be sure to check whether the agency has an exclusivity clause that prevents you from working independently, or accepting a job without them being involved or taking a cut. It’s a long way to the top A reminder to early childhood teachers that moving up the pay scale from graduate to accomplished and on to exemplary teacher status requires validation. The Vetassess website —  www.vetassess.com.au — comprehensively sets out the procedure and requirements. The AEU runs regular workshops to help you — see www.aeuvic.asn.au/validation. You need to start the process at least six months before your incremental anniversary to ensure that validation (and any pay rise) occurs on time, so start planning now! ◆

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www.aeuvic.asn.au

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Thinking of resigning or retiring? Talk to us first. ESSSuper members* – get the facts from the people who run your fund. Our ESSSuper Member Education Consultants are experts in your fund. They can discuss the range of options available to you and provide detailed information about your benefits. This includes preparing free up-to-date estimates of your benefit, which are tailored to your retirement or resignation planning needs. So you can get the right estimates at the right time. Don’t let commissions drag your retirement savings down. Beware of planners offering free or low cost financial planning advice as you may be getting hit with ongoing trailing commissions – even by planners recommended to you. ESSSuper can offer its members true commission free – fee for service – financial planning advice through our partnership with Industry Financial Planning (IFFP)#. This means you only pay for the advice you need when you need it.

ESS2798_(06/11)_FP_AEU

At ESSSuper, we know that you’ve worked hard for your future. And we’re here to make your super work harder for you.

Call 1300 655 476 to make a FREE appointment with one of our Member Education Consultants. * Members include teachers who commenced employment prior to 1994. If you are not already an ESSSuper member you are not eligible to join (unless you are a spouse of an existing member). # IFFP is a division of Industry Fund Services Pty Ltd (ABN 54 007 016 195, AFSL 232 514). ESSSuper is not a representative of IFFP and receives no commission when making a referral to this service. Neither the Board, nor the Victorian Government, guarantee or endorse any recommendations made by Industry Fund Financial Planning, or are responsible for the advice and actions of Industry Fund Financial Planning. Issued by Emergency Services Superannuation Board (ABN 28 161 296 741) as trustee of the Emergency Services Superannuation Scheme (ABN 89 894 637 037) (ESSSuper).

Proudly serving our members

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aeu news | june 2011


inside the AEU

New Educators

Safety MATTERS

NETWORK

Riley Minns Richmond Primary School

Janet Marshall OH&S organiser

A matter of confidence

From little things …

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R

A week at the AEU helped one young teacher take on a leading role in his school sub-branch. ITH everything expected of teachers in their initial years it is easy to become absorbed in the classroom and not give much thought to the issues that affect our working conditions and our profession as a whole. In my first two years of teaching I generally rolled with the punches when it came to school decisions and rarely voiced my opinions as I did not feel confident. But I was recently fortunate to spend a week at the AEU as part of the Young Member Activist Program. It was a fantastic experience and I am very grateful to my school for letting me have the week away and to the AEU for giving me a peek at the day-to-day goings on of our union. From Mary Bluett to the receptionists at the front desk, everyone happily gave their time to discuss their roles and the issues facing our profession. Since returning to my school I have relished the opportunity to share my new knowledge. I recently took up the role of sub-branch president; before my week at the union I was unsure if I had the knowledge and skills to effectively carry out the role. The thought of representing staff who have been teaching longer than I have been alive added to my apprehension. However, the knowledge I gained from my week substantially increased my confidence and allowed me to successfully run my first sub-branch meeting. I also feel I am now an effective member of our school’s consultative committee. My advice to other young members is to make sure you remain informed and up-to-date with what is happening at the union and with the issues that affect our profession. I realise that a week at the union is a luxury not afforded to everyone. But there are other steps you can take. Make time to read everything the AEU sends you; investigate current issues by reading commentary from a variety of sources and become familiar with our agreement. I did not even know what it looked like before my training. Having up-to-date knowledge of your rights as an educator and the issues affecting our profession will increase your confidence and your value to your school. It is important that as young teachers we play a leading role in decisions made at school, regional, state and federal level. After all, it will be us and not our more experienced colleagues who will be affected most by these decisions over the next 30 years of teaching. ◆

The actions we take together can make a difference — as our resolution on sunscreen and nanoparticles demonstrated. ECENTLY, AEU branch council unanimously passed a resolution that workplaces use only nanoparticle-free sunscreen. This has now become federal AEU policy. You can find further information about the concerns that unions and environment groups have about nanotechnology at nano.foe.org.au. The full AEU r­ esolution is available on our website at www.aeuvic.asn.au/nano or in the recent newsletters sent to school members. The media reports that followed the resolution showed how the actions of unionists can resonate and raise public awareness about important issues that are rarely discussed. So what does the resolution mean for your workplace — how can you put this policy into practice and send a powerful message to your community and industry? To raise awareness, we recommend that this policy be discussed with members at a sub-branch meeting and then a request be made that any sunscreen supplied in the workplace be nanoparticle-free, as per the Safe Sunscreen Guide produced by Friends of the Earth. Where the workplace does not supply sunscreen, we suggest that the school newsletter or similar be used to inform parents of the AEU resolution. In the absence of adequate government regulations it is important that we, as consumers, employees, educationalists, parents and unionists, adopt a collective precautionary approach. Brodie’s Law and workplace bullies A series of courageous and decisive acts by many people and organisations, including WorkSafe and the Magistrates Court, saw record OHS penalties awarded

in February last year against those involved in the persistent and vicious workplace bullying that led to the death of Brodie Panlock four years earlier. Such was the impact and subsequent outcry over her death that this month saw the widely publicised Crimes Amendment (Bullying) Bill 2011 passed in both houses of the Victorian Parliament. AEU industrial officer Eddie Johnson said: “Offenders who commit serious bullying are now able to be prosecuted under the stalking provisions of the Crimes Act and be liable for up to 10 years imprisonment. “The scope of the stalking provisions has been broadened to include any conduct that intentionally causes, or could reasonably be expected to cause, the victim to physically harm themselves, or psychological harm that causes a victim to engage in suicidal thoughts.” While we urge workplaces and WorkSafe to act to prevent and protect against bullying, the new legislation is a further deterrent to abhorrent behaviour in and outside the workplace. There are calls for the legislation to be adopted nationally. Return to Work AEU kindergarten member Penny Vojtek is featured in a new WorkSafe clip about helping injured employees return to work. Penny tells her story to camera of the return-to-work process after a shoulder operation for an injury she suffered at work at Karobran Kindergarten in Melbourne’s western suburbs. It explains the support she got from her local council employer and doctor to ease back into part-time work. It’s a good insight into the return-to-work experience. Watch the three-minute You Tube clip at bit.ly/mS1u1R. ◆

www.aeuvic.asn.au

27


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FRANCE Five cottages for rent. Provence, Dordogne, Burgundy, Ile de France. Only $1175 pw. Contact maxtens@gmail.com www.stayinafrenchcottage.com

ROME Studio apartment, Piazza Bologna, beautifully appointed, sleeps 2, opens onto garden courtyard, $1100 pw, telephone 0419 488 865 or www.ninoapartmentrome.com.

FRANCE — LANGUEDOC Two renovated stone houses in tranquil village near Carcassone, sleep four or eight, from $600 a week. See website at www.frenchrentalhouses. bigpondhosting.com; or phone (02) 4757 1019; 0414 968 397; email marjen1946@hotmail.com

SEPTEMBER TEACHER TOURS: China Tour. Beijing, Shanghai, Yangtze Cruise, pandas, Xian and the Terracotta Warriors, Suzhou. Great shows and Hotels. All meals. $4299 p.p twin.

FRANCE — PROVENCE Restored 17th-century house in mediaeval fortified village of Entrevaux. Spectacular location, close to Côte d’Azur and Italy. Contact owners (03) 5258 2798 or (02) 9948 2980. www.provencehousestay.com.

LORNE COTTAGE Sleeps 4, panoramic views, 5 mins beach and shops. Available December and January. Phone (03) 9387 4329.

FRANCE — SOUTH WEST Renov 17thC 2 bdrm apart in elegant Figeac, “centreville”, or cottage in Lauzerte, 12thC hilltop village. Low cost. www.flickr.com/photos/clermontfigeac/ or www.flickr.com/photos/ les-chouettes/ Ph teacher owner (03) 9877 7513 or email jimmcdon@tpg. com.au for brochure. ITALY — FLORENCE Beautiful fully furnished apartment in historic centre. Sleeps 2-6, $1,700 pw, telephone 0419 025 996 or www.convivioapartment.com.

WILSONS PROMONTORY Promclose Cottage. www.promclose.com 0418 125 412.

ITALY — UMBRIA Apartment. Beautiful sunny 2 bdrm. Historic Centre Citta Di Castello €625pw 2p, €675 3-4p. 0414 562 659 darylhely@gmail.com

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aeu news | june 2011

PROVENCE — LANGUEDOC Large village house. Luxury plus location. Suitable for up to eight adults. (03) 5444 1023 www.houserentalfrance.com.au.

Census to set union agenda AEU members are encouraged to have their say in shaping the future of Australia’s union movement, by taking part in the largest ever national survey of workers. Australia’s two million union members, acting as one, can achieve great things, as the campaign to get rid of WorkChoices showed. The Working Australia Census will directly engage with workers around their priorities. The survey is open to all workers in May and June. Every AEU member taking part in the census is eligible to win a $1000 prize. Go to workingaustralia.org.au and make your voice heard today. ◆

Vietnam Tour. Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hoi An, Nha Trang, Saigon , Mekong Delta, Cu Chi. $3355 p.p twin. Both tours are 14 days, leave Sept 24 and are tax claimable.Terry Tremellen (Shepparton HS) (03) 5821 9493 0431 359 283. Email : terrytremellen@hotmail.com SOUTH OF FRANCE — LANGUEDOC Two charming newly renovated traditional stone houses with outside terraces. Sleeps 4 or 6. Market town, capital of Minervois, wine growing region, close to lake, Canal Midi, Mediterranean beaches, historic towns. From $460 per week. Visit, Web: www.languedocgites.com Email: info@languedocgites.com. SOUTH OF FRANCE Lovely village house in the "heart of a wine growing region." www.myfrenchhome.com.au. Julie 0403 314 928 VITA ITALIAN TOURS Grand Tour of Italy for Teachers 28/12/2011 – 14/1/2012 Join us on our annual personally guided tour of Italy designed especially for you to enjoy a well deserved holiday without concerns where to stay, eat or how to get around. The tour includes extended stays in Rome, Sorrento, Florence, Venice and visits to Perugia, Assisi, Urbino, Siena, Republic of San Marino and much more. Our all inclusive price allows you to relax and enjoy your experience. Call Mario or Viny for a complete itinerary on (03) 9460 7373 www.vitaitaliantours.com.au

NOTICES FINANCE Need money in a hurry? We offer short term personal loans from $500–$10,000 (conditions apply). CALL US NOW for a quick pre-approval. Tel: 1300 654 230. WEB: qef.com.au Quick and Easy Finance. The name says it all! (MPS) MELBOURNE PROPERTY SOLUTIONS Mark Thompson (former teacher and AEU member) — Licensed Estate Agent, Melbourne Property Solutions. Buyer and Vendor Advocate Services. Phone 0409 958 720 email: mark@mpsadvocates.com.au website: www.mpsadvocates.com.au. Ring or email for a brochure to be posted. RETIREMENT VICTORIA Visit us at www.retirevic.com.au. RETIRING SOON? Volunteers for Isolated Students’ Education recruits retired teachers to assist families with their Distance Education Program. Travel and accommodation provided in return for six weeks teaching. Register at www.vise.org.au or George Murdoch (03) 9017 5439 Ken Weeks (03) 9876 2680. TAX CLAIM FOR TEACHERS A tax claims check list for teachers is provided free of charge by Teachers Taxation Services Pty Ltd. For a copy email info@teacherstax.biz or telephone (07) 3821 1879. VISAS IMMIGRATION For the professional advice you need — contact Ray Brown. Phone (03) 5792 4056 or 0409 169 147. Email raybrown888@bigpond.com. Migration Agents Registration No. 0213358.

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culture

WINE

TALKING Paddy Kendler

Zilzie with a zing

Z

ILZIE on the Murray began as a very competitive producer of budget bargains, but the proprietors have more recently edged a little up-market with their regional collection. The winery now draws fruit from various distinguished regions including the Barossa Valley, Coonawarra, the Adelaide Hills and the Yarra Valley. The resulting wines amount to an impressive array of varietal styles true to their regional origins and are very reasonably priced between $14 and $16. To single out one wine from the range is probably unfair to the others, but the 2010 Yarra Chardonnay is especially enjoyable. Yes, it’s soft and simple but there’s plenty of fruit flavour here and, given the modest ask, it deserves at least a trial tasting. The Zilzie Regional Collection should be available through independent liquor stores. For more detailed information contact Lucien Dorman at ldorman@zilziewines.com.au. The following recent releases are also highly recommended: PETER LEHMAN CLASSIC RIESLING 2010 ($12): An excellent example of Barossa regional riesling featuring typical floral and citrus aromas and a fresh, lively, juicy palate. Arguably the best of its varietal style under $15 in the country. BOBBY DAZZLER SHIRAZ 2008 ($15–$19): Produced by Adelaide company Journeys End using the expert services of McLaren Vale winemaker Ben Riggs, the Dazzler is chock full of blackberry flavour laced with hints of plum and licorice. Love the label; love the wine even more sales@journeysendvineyards.com.au. HOLLICK STOCK ROUTE SHIRAZ CABERNET 2008 ($19): A perfectly poised blend made from Coonawarra and Wrattonbully material holding sweet and savoury flavours within a modest structure. mel@hollick.com. WOODSTOCK SHIRAZ 2009 ($22): McLaren Vale shiraz at its best and at a surprisingly ­reasonable ask. There are plenty of shiraz reds on the market at twice the price that are well short of this class. Phone (08) 8383 0156. ◆

Winter warmer H

ERE we are in the depths of winter. The season of report writing, mid-year exams and an overwhelming suspicion that every day has become an identical replica of the one before. Ah, the joys of the cold and blustery terms at school where students traipse from classroom to classroom in an interesting array of clothes, some of them uniform, many of them not, and hunker together along the walls of corridors, frantically texting their friends who are sitting in adjacent corridors. Not even dim sim day at the canteen offers enough temptation to lure them from their sanctuary. Instead of racing home to make a start on reports, I focus on what’s for dinner, what’s to drink with dinner and how warm the lounge room is. The mornings are also proving a challenge — what is the shortest amount of time I can possibly get ready in? Every morning I manage to break my previous day’s record. The marking pile continues to grow. “So, who’s finished their reports?” asks Louise, the office over-achiever. Her question is met with astonished stares all round. “Are they due in this week?” I ask, clearly flustered at the prospect of a few rushed evenings bonding with my Education Departmentissue laptop. “In three weeks,” she says. “I just like to get on top of things and start planning for next term.” Other office dwellers return to their coffee mugs and essay marking. Everyone knows a Louise. The teacher who has her next week’s worth of photocopying done by the time she leaves the school grounds on Friday and tackles report-writing season like a competitor on The Amazing Race — fast, furious and with little interest in her competitors’ wellbeing. She takes extensive notes in staff meetings, files all important documents in a timely manner and generally looks unflustered by the daily ebbs and flows of the school environment.

How does she do it? Does she start every day with a two-hour yoga session? “Miss, have you marked our essays yet?” “Almost. They are the next thing on my rather extensive to-do list.” Well, they’re about sixth — right after, start reports, set my Year 7s a test, mark the other class’s essays, buy a jumper and pay the electricity bill. The staff meeting focuses on our new, whizz-bang reporting system that is continually crashing and creating tension and stress. Our tired old system worked quite well. “It is important that you are all organised and starting to put your reports onto the system,” says Brian, the IT guru. “Yeah, so that when you have to redo them after your computer crashes you can still meet the deadline,” whispers Trish, an art teacher who has more than 200 reports to write. I look at Louise and decide that next semester I will start my reports at the same time she does. And start my day with a two-hour yoga session. ◆ Comedian and teacher Christina Adams gets dressed under her doona every year from June 8 to October 21.

www.aeuvic.asn.au

29


culture

Spaghetti LOOPS The Music Cubby will inspire even the most musically challenged. Cynthia Karena AEU News

I

ART of the Melbourne International The Liverpool Goalie Film Festival, Next Gen films is billed as “a program of intelligent and stimulating cinema for students”. All have free study guides written by the Australian Teachers Of Media. Films at this year’s festival include Africa United, where three young children travel across Africa to audition for the 2010 soccer World Cup opening ceremony. It gives us a taste of the dreams — and realities (AIDS orphans, child soldiers, refugee camps) — of Africa. The Liverpool Goalie and

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aeu news | june 2011

MIFF runs from July 21 to August 7. Find out more at miff.com.au/nextgen.

Book and CD retail for $37.50 or $29.99 to TLN member schools. Order at www.tln.org.au

BLAME Dir: Michael Henry Rated M Released June 16 EACHERS be warned: Blame is not for the fainthearted. When five young people invade the country house of music teacher (Damian de Montemas), their motives are a mystery but their ­intentions are clear. Amateurish but methodical, as the group drive away it appears its operation was a success — until they realise someone’s left his phone behind, and things start to unravel. First-time writer-director Michael Henry makes the most of a sparse music score, isolated location and solid performances (Sophie Lowe’s deadpan cruelty is particularly ­unsettling) to create a tense, compact thriller. His otherwise well-crafted script falters a little in the second act, perhaps missing an opportunity for a more sophisticated look at the themes, but shifting alliances and a series of fresh revelations keep this slow-burner suspenseful to the end.  — Rachel Power

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Jerry Speiser

Jerry Speiser

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animation The Ugly Duckling explore themes of bullying, acceptance and overcoming fears; while Winter’s Daughter has a young girl determined to track down her biological father. Winner of the Children’s Jury Award at the Montreal International Children’s Film Festival, On the Sly becomes a Girl’s Own adventure when a six-year-old disappears into the forest to test her theory that she is invisible to her parents. Two documentaries not in the Next Gen program are worth mentioning. I Am Eleven talks to 11-year-olds all over the world about what it is like to be 11; and The Black Power Mixtape 1967–1975 looks at the politics of the US Black Power movement. ◆  — Cynthia Karena

handbook

Sarah Cowan,

Sarah Cowan,

Africa United

Barry Carozzi, Barry Carozzi,

MIFF 2011 — Next Gen

“I’ve been writing and developing these songs for a long time. I initially wrote several of the songs for my daughter when she was in kindergarten and primary school. “We also trialled and developed the songs at song-writing camps. We asked kids what it means to have a bad day — “When I have a pimple” — or When they’re having a good day — “It’s sunny”. All the songs have been developed and workshopped with kids.” Last year Carozzi tested songs with two or three teachers. One, “The Echo Song”, had kids “spontaneously singing and doing the actions”. The Music Cubby is designed to be a joyful book that students will love.Making the Music cu music has never been easier. ◆ bby a teaching the music cubby

F YOU are a primary school teacher with no expertise or skills in teaching music, then this is a book for you. The Music Cubby provides a CD of songs with lesson ideas and activities and it is fun to use. You, too, will want to make a music shaker with beans and spaghetti and join in the karaoke sessions. “A teacher doesn’t have to know anything about the music,” says Jerry Speiser, former drummer of rock band Men at Work, who produced and arranged the songs. “They can just put on the CD and ask questions (suggestions provided). For example, what do you feel when you hear this music? What’s the first instrument you can hear?” Published by the AEU’s PD unit, Teacher Learning Network, The Music Cubby is designed for early years and primary teachers. Musical terms are explained and the handbook explores creating

sounds, beat and percussion, writing lyrics and aspects of music production. Fun sound effects for the songs include duck noises, alarms, screams, a dentist’s drill and breaking glass. “The Music Cubby creates an area in the classroom that is a music cubby, where kids can have a few instruments and muck around,” Speiser says. “One song has a make-a-shaker activity with a can with beans and spaghetti to play with the song.” Each song includes an explanation of how it was developed, giving teachers interesting insights into how music can be created that can be shared and discussed with students. “The idea is for kids to learn the songs and sing along, do performances or write their own songs or use the karaoke as backing tracks,” says Barry Carozzi, songwriter, Warrandyte High School English teacher and AEU member. Carozzi came up with the idea for the handbook when teachers at his daughter’s primary school told him they did not feel confident teaching music.

press 3

press

SPECIAL OFFER:

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HE Melbourne Theatre Company is offering discounted tickets for AEU members to its upcoming production, “The Joy of Text”. Robert Reid’s new satire set in a high school explores themes of invention and identity. Teacher Ami is in her 30s, while Diane is five years from retirement. Steve, the new acting principal, is ambitious but out of his depth. Danny, a brilliant but troubled student, has a talent for creative licence and a bent for mischief. Reid says the generational gaps reveal the characters’ attitudes to the issues under scrutiny. Book online using the promo code JOY and receive A-Reserve tickets for only $72. This offer is valid for Monday to Thursday performances only when booked online at www.mtc.com.au/tickets. Where: t he Arts Centre, Fairfax Studio Dates: 10 June to 23 July


AEU NEWS is giving members the opportunity to win a variety of Australian resources for their school libraries from our good friends at ABC Books, Text Publishing, Allen & Unwin and Ford Street Publishing. To enter, simply email us at giveaways@aeuvic.asn.au by 10am Tuesday, July 19, 2011. Include your name and school or workplace. Write “Win Teaching Resources” in the subject line. Prizes will be sent directly to the winner’s school or workplace with a special inscription recognising the winner. Good luck!

The Byron Journals by Daniel Ducrou ANDREW and his mate Benny have finished school and are heading for the holiday of their lives in Byron Bay. They are not sure what they’re looking forward to most: the surf, the girls, the music, the partying or just being away from Adelaide. The Byron Journals is an exciting debut novel by a fresh new voice in Australian literature. It takes a clear-eyed look at the desire to escape your past and the dangers of running headlong into your future.  Text Publishing, RRP $19.95 Snake and Lizard by Joy Cowley and Gavin Bishop TWO very different creatures learn the give-and-take of sharing a house in these warm and funny stories. As they approach life’s little adventures they begin to see past their differences and become firm friends.  Text Publishing, RRP $19.95 The Paradise Trap by Catherine Jinks IT’S a wild, exhilirating ride that will lead Marcus straight to oblivion unless he can escape the trap that’s been laid for him. Allen & Unwin, RRP $15.99

Cheeky Monkey by Andrew Daddo and illustrated by Emma Quay FROM the team who created the award-winning Good Night, Me comes this captivating picture book. The delightful and warm illustrations of a family moving through their day bring to life all the funny and silly names we call our children: cheeky monkey, lucky duck, sweet pea, silly billy and more. ABC Books, RRP $14.99

Changing Yesterday by Sean McMullen IT’S 1901, and Battle Commander Liore has travelled back in time to stop a war that will rage for over a hundred years. But time itself is against her. Whenever she changes history, a new beginning to the war emerges and the world once again teeters on the brink of disaster. Barry the Bag has stolen Liore’s plasma rifle, the most dangerous weapon in the world. Can anything prevent Liore from risking the world’s future for the sake of revenge?  Ford Street, RRP $19.95

Congratulations to our winners from AEU News issue 3, 2011: Noni the Pony (2 copies)— David Barclay, Doncaster Primary School; Kris Hickson, Osborne Primary School; A Giraffe in the Bath — Geraldine Deliu, St. Arnaud Primary School; Saltwater Vampires — Stephanie Massow, North Geelong Secondary College; Thai-riffic! — Stephan Megroz, Keysborough Secondary College.

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mecu Limited ABN 21 087 651 607 • AFSL/ACL 238431 Terms, conditions, fees and charges apply. Loans subject to normal lending criteria and approval. *The comparison rate is based on a secured loan of $150,000 for 25 years. Warning: This comparison rate is true only for the examples given, and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate. Interest rates expressed as annual percentage rates. Variable rates correct as at 1 June 2011, however, are subject to change at any time. Check mecu.com.au for the latest rates.

www.aeuvic.asn.au

32159 • AEU

Basic Home Loan

31

giveaways

WIN teaching resources

SUBSC RIB E-NEW E TO THE AE U S www.a LETTER AT e u v ic . a FOR T sn.au WIN M HE CHANCE T ORE G IVEAW O AYS!


NO gimmicks. Just great health insurance. CMYK

Call 1300 728 188 or visit teachershealth.com.au to find out more Teachers Federation Health Ltd ABN 86 097 030 414 trading as Teachers Health Fund VICAEU-0611


AEU News Issue 4 2011