The new OECD report showing Australia’s educational performance is slipping has gained a lot of media attention this morning (e.g. Queensland students lag behind national average in maths, science and literacy) and should inspire policy makers to push for further reforms to our education systems. The most important thing we can do to lift our educational performance is to improve the quality of our teachers, a point that has been consistently made over the years by former ANU Professor, now Canberra Labor MP Andrew Leigh, and which I’ve discussed in an earlier post:
Given the strong link between teacher quality and educational outcomes, I was pleased to read on Monday that the Queensland Government is considering teacher performance pay:
Better pay for the best teachers would go a long way to retaining the best ones in the education system rather than losing them to higher paying jobs elsewhere. Over the years I’ve consistently come across very capable, inspirational ex-teachers who unfortunately had to leave the profession to take up higher paying jobs in the education bureaucracy. Introducing performance pay for teachers would undoubtedly improve the overall quality of our teachers. While it would come at a cost, it would yield large benefits through improved educational outcomes, and there would be some offsetting savings from holding back pay rises from teachers who don’t meet the standard required for the next level of pay.