Coalition, Labor outline election education priorities, as experts say Australia a global ‘outlier’ on private schools

It was a bold move for a newly installed minister in a complex portfolio.

In a speech at an independent schools forum in March, Acting Education Minister Stuart Robert praised the teachers of that sector, while lamenting what he called “dud” teachers elsewhere in the system.

Or, as Mr Robert said, “the bottom 10 per cent of teachers dragging the chain”.

Public education advocates, including the Australian Education Union (AEU), called the comments “shameful” and “insulting”, while state Labor education ministers shared the outrage.

Today, it’s clear teacher quality is Mr Robert’s preferred electoral fighting ground, with the Coalition releasing a plan to block underperforming teachers from reaching the classroom, while the opposition pledges more for public schools and more money for high-achievers to study teaching.

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