Responding to NT News attacks on the TRB
Recent reporting by the NT News regarding the TRB is not reasonable, balanced journalism, writes Branch President Jarvis Ryan*
If you are a regular reader of the NT News, you will have noticed that in recent months the newspaper has published a series of articles attacking the NT Teacher Registration Board (TRB).
The AEU supports transparency and the role of the media in holding institutions accountable. We acknowledge that in many instances the NT News has done an excellent job of this.
But we draw the line when the coverage crosses into sensationalist and irresponsible muckraking whose only aim appears to be generating fear among parents.
Barely a day goes by without another article slinging mud against the teaching profession with assertions that dangerous individuals, often with criminal convictions, are rife within our schools.
Barely a day goes by without another article slinging mud against the teaching profession
These articles allege, among other things, that the TRB is allowing numerous unsuitable teachers to be registered and work in our schools, and concealing this information from parents, the community and the public.
Our union does not view these criticisms of the Board as reasonable, balanced journalism.
If you are not aware, the Board is composed of a cross-section of representatives from the education sector, including two AEU nominees. The majority of Board members are practicing educators who serve on an honorary basis.
Whilst our union does not support every decision of the Board, we recognise it has an important role in maintaining professional standards and, where required, carrying out investigations into teachers. In our experience, the Board generally deals with these processes in a fair manner, ensuring the principle of natural justice is upheld for those who have been accused of misconduct or poor performance.
Continued sensationalised reporting by the NT News casts our profession in a negative light
The NT News has failed with its sensationalist reporting is keep matters in perspective. There are thousands of registered teachers in the NT, but according to TRB statistics from its 2017 report, only a handful of teachers had their registration suspended or cancelled in that year.
The AEU’s concern is that continued sensationalised reporting by the NT News casts our profession in a negative light, allowing the misdeeds of a very small number of individuals to outweigh the incredible contributions our teachers make to society and to the lives of the students you teach.
I know from conversations with members that there is significant anger about the NT News’ unfair portrayal of Territory teachers.
I have written to the the paper and suggested its journalists take a more responsible approach to reporting on matters involving teachers. Letters or messages from members reinforcing this view may help in convincing the paper to change its tune.
* This post was emailed to all members on Thursday 1 November 2018.
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