What a generous woman is Tanya Plibersek. The Labor education shadow minister helped out editors short of a story the other Sunday by warning universities that if they do not impose a top 30 per cent ATAR for teacher education students a Labor government will.
“We cannot afford to continually dumb down teaching degrees, to enrol people who will never be competent teachers. It’s a waste of time and a waste of money for those students. It’s a waste of time of public funding as well.”
Just as she said last September, “universities do have to, I think, tighten entry criteria to make sure that we are attracting and retaining the best and brightest, that it’s a first choice for students who passionately want to be teachers not the course that they do because they couldn’t get into anything else,” (CMM September 19).
This is not as tough as it sounds, as the Australian Council of Deans of Education points out, less than 25 per cent of initial teacher ed students are enrolled exclusively on their ATAR. To which Ms Plibersek agrees, “there have to be alternative pathways into teaching degrees for people who have the capacity to be a great teacher but don’t achieve a great mark.”