chapter  6
10 Pages

Australian teacher education reforms: reinforcing the problem or providing a solution?

ByJames O’Meara

Educational reform represents a long-term focus of Australian governments. The 1989 Hobart Declaration and the 1999 Adelaide Declaration have promoted the provision of high-quality schooling for all young Australians for over 30 years. These documents contained the common and agreed to (AEC 1989) goals of the respective Ministries of Education. These common goals provided a set of broad directions on the achievement of common quality education outcomes for all students. Included in these directions was an agreed commitment to collaboration for a set of purposes, which included the enhancement of quality of the teaching profession (MCEETYA 1999). Improving teacher quality has been a core strategy for the enhancement of the teaching profession over this 30-year period (AEC 1989; MCEETYA 1999). In 2008, the Melbourne Declaration (MCCEEDYA 2009) continued the emphasis on the contributions of teacher quality to the achievement of common quality education outcomes for all twenty-first century students. This emphasis drew from research that identified the quality of the classroom teacher as the major inschool influence on student outcomes (Greenwald, Hedges, and Laine 1996;

Sanders and Horn 1998; Rowe 2003; Hattie 2007). In a country that promotes quality education for all, variations in the levels of teacher quality and its impact on educational outcomes (Dingham, Ingvarson and Klienhenz 2008) represent a problem for the Australian education system (ACER 2010). Reported effects of this gap include a difference in reading levels of almost three full years between students from the highest socioeconomic group and the lowest socioeconomic group (Thomson et al. 2010). The national response to address this condition includes a set of initiatives to standardise teacher quality.