"You can't have an industrial revolution, you can't have democracies, you can't have populations who can govern themselves until you have literacy."
- Attributed to Howard Rheingold
Education is known to be an important marker for a wide variety of health, finance, career, and relationship success; and according to this article from the OECD, Australians receive more education than any other country between the ages of five and thirty-nine. According to the the OECD, we receive on average twenty-one years of education compared to the OECD average of just over seventeen years.
I wonder then at the continuing cries of back to the basics and improve teacher quality (slogans that certainly increase professional pride within teachers across the nation) that seemingly erupt after the release of NAPLAN results each year, or the PISA results every few years. The media and politicians seem out to harangue teachers for not being good enough, slogans that are taken up by parents, and talked about in front of the children around the house and then we wonder why there are increasing levels of disrespect towards teachers; and beyond that, increasing instances of teachers being physically attacked, such as this incident which occurred recently in Byron Bay.
What needs to change to reduce the level of animosity towards teachers that is displayed in the news, on social media, and by our nation's leaders? When did society shift and this ability to abuse and disrespect and devalue those charged with our children's education without any consequences occur? Is it any wonder, then, that early career teachers are leaving the profession in droves?