For everyone News in brief: Term 3, 2021

OECD says high-stakes testing a failure

A new OECD report has found no evidence that the publication of school test results increases student achievement. Instead, the report found that test-based accountability does not relate to academic achievement. The study, which covered 63 countries, including Australia, where NAPLAN results have been published on the My School website since 2010, found no association between school autonomy, accountability and educational outcomes.

TWU wins against Qantas

The Federal Court has largely found in favour of the Transport Workers Union (TWU) against Qantas in a case challenging the outsourcing of 2,000 jobs, ruling that Qantas’ outsourcing of its ground crew work breached the Fair Work Act. The Act prevents employers from taking adverse action against an employee because they are a union member. At this stage, it is unclear whether any workers will get their jobs back as a result of the decision.

Private schools reap JobKeeper rewards

Private schools have received hundreds of millions of dollars in funding thanks to JobKeeper and other federal government schemes announced in response to COVID-19. JobKeeper payments ranged from $100,000 to $18 million, with payments directly related to the number of staff employed in the school.

IPCC reports urgent action needed

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released its latest report, confirming that the effort to tackle climate change needs to be accelerated. Australia is among the worst offenders, and one of the most vulnerable developed countries, with worsening heatwaves, droughts, coastal flooding and dangerous bushfire seasons. The report indicates that climate catastrophe can be averted if governments across the world agree to address the major issues, beginning with cutting the use of coal and fossil fuels.

Better Read Than Dead staff win better rights

Newtown bookstore Better Read Than Dead staff began protected industrial action after a year of organising by staff and the Retail and Fast Food Workers Union (RFFWU) to seek an enterprise agreement. In their campaign for more job security and a living wage, staff put a ban on handling cash transactions and refused to process web orders. The majority of their workers were employed on a casual basis, despite their experience and expertise. After nine days of industrial action, the store’s RFFWU members unanimously endorsed a deal with management, which delivers better conditions and marks a landmark agreement in the retail sector.

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