Extra $22m for ‘failed’ Teach for Australia

Kerri Carr

Correna Haythorpe: students need trained, qualified, experienced teachers.

Teach for Australia is a failed program, a waste of resources and an insult to the profession, Australian Education Union Deputy Federal President Correna Haythorpe told Federation’s Annual Conference on June 30.

Ms Haythorpe was reacting to Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne committing a further $22 million to expand the Teach for Australia (TFA) program.

“The program’s results have never lived up to the hype. It has become an expensive way to recruit teachers from other professions, many of whom fail to last the distance as teachers,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“Figures recently revealed to Federal Parliament show that the TFA program will spend around $56 million over eight years to train 320 teachers. They also showed that, based on the first few graduating cohorts, around half will not be teaching just two years after graduation. This is a horrendous attrition rate, and far worse than that for teachers who are recruited through the standard graduate programs.”

The Minister’s plans to send Teach for Australia graduates with just six weeks training to disadvantaged schools also raises serious concerns for Ms Haythorpe.

“Those of us who have taught in these schools know that their students deserve experienced, well-trained and qualified teachers who have a proper understanding of how to deal with the complex issues in disadvantaged regions,” she said.

“Further, the idea that all you need is a six-week program and you are ready to hit the classroom devalues teaching as a profession and undermines the rights of all students to be taught by teachers with proper training and qualifications.

“The AEU sees teaching as a profession, and one that requires proper training before students enter the classroom, with consistent professional development throughout their careers.”