PUBLIC school teachers are likely to reject the NSW Industrial Commission’s recommendation that they withdraw a threatened ban on national literacy and numeracy tests next month.Yesterday the commission urged the NSW Teachers Federation to dismiss the call of its national chapter, the Australian Education Union, to ban the NAPLAN tests in protest against the use of results to create school league tables. Justice Roger Boland said: ”I would strongly recommend that any pressure on the federation to engage in industrial action be resisted.”The federation’s executive will meet tomorrow to decide whether NSW teachers will take part in the national test ban. Yesterday its president, Bob Lipscombe, declined to speculate on the outcome of the meeting. However, the Herald understands that teachers are expecting to press ahead with the ban.The state government would need to seek an order from the industrial commission to put greater pressure on the federation to deliver the NAPLAN tests.It is also preparing a contingency of 3000 trained and experienced supervisors who conduct other exams. Education bureaucrats may also be drafted.The state Education Minister, Verity Firth, said yesterday that she welcomed the commission’s recommendation to the teachers’ federation.”As the judgment points out, a ban would be disruptive, jeopardise funding for public schools and expose taxpayers to millions of dollars of unnecessary expense,” she said.”The commission also points out the importance of this year’s tests in tracking students’ progress and that it would be severely compromised if they miss out.”We expect the teacher’s federation to do what the community expects them to do.”The Fair Work Ombudsman has also launched an investigation into the legality of the Australian Education Union’s threatened boycott of the NAPLAN tests, which may breach the Fair Work Act.The Ombudsman executive director, Michael Campbell, confirmed last night that his office was ”investigating the circumstances surrounding the proposed boycott to assess whether such action might constitute unprotected industrial action should it occur”.”If the boycott proceeds and it constitutes unprotected industrial action, the AEU and the teachers involved may have acted unlawfully,” Mr Campbell said in a statement.The president of the Australian Education Union, Angelo Gavrielatos, said it was ”appalling that governments are resorting to industrial legislation for what is an educational matter”.”The national tests can proceed uninterrupted provided the concerns of the profession are met.”The teachers’ union wants the federal Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, to stop test results on the My School website being used to create school league tables.Mr Gavrielatos said some state education ministers had expressed a desire for negotiations with the union and he had been contacted by the heads of three state education departments voicing support for a compromise proposed by the union.
Nanjing Night Net