Even President Obama has recognised the need to raise the status of teaching. “In South Korea, teachers are known as ‘nation builders,’ and I think it’s time we treated our teachers with the same level of respect,” Mr. Obama said in a speech on education on Monday.
Obama’s comments came in response to a report based on PISA data noting that in high achieving countries the teaching profession holds high status. The poor status of teaching is also an issue in Australia.
“Make a concerted effort to raise the status of the teaching profession” was the top recommendation of the US report. I’m certain that recommendation resonates with Australian teachers too.
University teaching programs in the high-scoring countries admit only the best students, and “teaching education programs in the U.S. must become more selective and more rigorous,” the report says.
Raising teachers’ status is not mainly about raising salaries, the report says, but pay is a factor. It is vital that the teaching profession attracts candidates of the highest level.