I'm not decrying discrimination, merely pointing out the levels that teachers' salaries reached during the Celtic Tiger years. The average female primary teacher in 2009 was earning €56,000.

Of the teachers defined as not being appropriately qualified to teach maths, 35 percent had a B.Sc. primary degree without a significant mathematics component. Another 34 percent had a degree in commerce or business, again without a significant mathematics component. And 27 percent had a teacher education degree without mathematics.

In short, when you had the biology teacher or business studies teacher doing double duty teaching maths, that person was defined as unqualified to teach maths.

Someone holding a degree was classified as qualified when a significant amount of mathematics had been studied throughout the degree (e.g. a B.Sc. with a focus on physics).

Sorry, it wasn't my intention to say you were. I was just saying that the media do this all the time - 56k vs 64k is automatically discrimination when it isn't.

They were doing odd comparisons earlier in the week too - I remember someone saying that (I'm possibly paraphrasing) "a manager in Aldi earns 40k therefore we should earn more than that because we are looking after children not produce". Which I found an odd thing to say.

But I'm dragging the thread off topic.

My mistake - I was jumping to the conclusion that the BSc degree involved as much maths as the BEng degree - ie: up to my ears in it. I was also equating "BSc" with doing Physics and App Maths which isn't the case. The newspapers however (this is a few months ago) were equating "qualified" with "maths degree" which isn't the case either!

No, it doesn't. Ireland's demography differs from other West European states. There is a younger population. Contentions such as the percentage of GNP spend on education or on pensions should be the same are misleading and lead to the present situation of generous pensions (fewer pensioners) and a not especially well funded education system.

The problem is that on boards and in public debate that those who had bad maths teachers do not require proper measures of these things and those who do know, but have an agenda, can get away with simplistic statements like the above.

The one thing we need to ensure emerges from this crisis is proper measures of things and a debate based on these, something still far away.

Every effort to hire every available qualified maths teacher (and there are some that have gone to Britain etc) and use the CPA to make sure they get where they are needed. The unions have said that the CPA must stay, so the Minister must push its provisions to get this kind of thing done. I think Quinn has some appreciation of this, whether he will push it through is another question.

Although hiring the qualified maths teachers is made infinitely more difficult because of the CPA. If the minister really wanted to get it done, then choosing the opt out provision within the CPA would accelerate the process of getting the right teachers int he right places.

Just to add to this

Using the average salary gives a very inaccurate figure for what most teachers earn. It scews it upwards. **A better figure would be the median.** But you never see that mentioned in articles!!! That way it would take into account the large number of younger teachers earning fair less than the average

But the average is what many posters on this thread are taking issue with - i.e. the still very large (although somewhat helped by the Feb retirements) number of very highly paid older teachers who's interests the CPA is protecting.

Many of us have no issue with younger teachers and their earnings. Many of us would like to see a clear out of the more expensive and protected older teachers to free up room in the education budget to hire younger teachers. A flexibility within the education budget to reward good teachers, and not to reward bad ones.

But that's just not possible with the CPA.

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But even if they did cut pay again that money won't go into hiring new teachers. it'll just be another step to close the gap in the public finances.

That's all true. You can get a B.Sc. in many field that are not maths intensive, e.g., biology. And while the media did make that mistake, the researchers counted anyone with a degree that had a significant mathematics component as qualified. I'm guessing the number of post-primary teachers with actual maths degrees is much smaller still. It's notoriously difficult to attract maths degree holders into the teaching profession because they can earn higher salaries in other fields — but again, this begs the question of why someone with a degree in maths has to be paid the same as someone with a degree in English, history, or Irish.

I'd argue strongly that the average salary quoted does not represent what most teachers earn.

Why?

Principals and Vice principals' salaries are included.

Yard supervision allowances are included. That is not actually part of the salary but is paid at the end of the year for extra work. (and its very heavily taxed)

I am not convinced by the scare stories of unqualfied maths teachers.

Maths forms a large part of other degrees - commerce, business, engineering, science etc - and many (but not all) who have those degrees are able to teach maths. In fact, I have come across a number of maths graduates whose inability to communicate a simple hello or goodbye makes them unsuitable for teaching.

To put it a different way, the best mathematicians are probably the worst teachers. The question is how do we create a situation where there is a minimum level of competency in maths required and that above that, the ability to communicate, to teach, to work with children become the attributes we require.

Surely they're supposed to learn the communication bit during teacher training? What do they teach them if not how to teach?

If my kids end up doing honours maths in school I'd personally want them taught by someone with at least a 2.1/1st maths degree. Nothing less. Actually I'd prefer it that way for every subject. Actually I'd prefer if my kids' teachers had Masters degrees... but then it's been wishful thinking since the beginning of this post.

I think it'd be rare for someone with a Masters in Maths to be a teacher! Maybe a lecturer!

I think you'd want them taught by someone who has a track record of success in teaching it. Now maybe that person might have a 1st in Maths but that is not always the case. Once a great teacher understands something they have the ability to communicate it. Maybe they did Physics/Science/Engineering/Computer Science or Maths but this is when the quality of teacher shines through.

In the courses mentioned above there is significant mathematical content from a range of fields.

Although I don't like it when I hear people saying " I did a certain degree and there was a bit of Stats in it therefore I could teach Maths"!

I could agree with that. I did a biochemical engineering course and there was a significant amount of maths involved. Our first year in college was effectively a review of the leaving cert maths course and overall the level of maths we were at by fourth year was well above and beyond what would be necessary for leaving cert maths. (sadly that was over a decade ago and all my maths is now forgotten)

I do think to encourage people to do maths etc, the leaving cert course could reflect that in the points. I did honours maths and honours geography. I had to work 3 times as hard at the maths than the geography to get the same number of points. Maths was 2 papers, over 6 hours and a more diverse range of topics whereas geography was 1 paper, 3 hours and simply required rote learning.

No, sums form a large part of degrees like commerce and business. Not maths.

But that said I do think that the problem is overstated, and that the system self corrects to an extent.

In my school how many teachers taught maths? Probably 20 of various degree backgrounds.

But how many taught leaving cert honors maths? One, with a degree in maths, physics and mathematical physics. He rarely taught junior cert science, the biologists and chemists generally did. But he taught leaving cert higher level maths, and indeed referred to the junior cert syllabus, and the ordinary level syllabus, as sums, not maths (and I have inherited my Daddy's prejudices here)

You really only need the "proper" maths background for the higher level syllabus, and indeed for what that syllabus ought to be.

While I take your point about mathematicians potentially having difficulty communicating, that it true of any subject and should come out in teacher training.

The degree should teach the subject, teacher training should deal with effective teaching.

I'd like to point out that statistics can be highly misleading. As my brother points out (he's a secondary school teacher - BEng, MSc. HDip in 2007, still temporary), the proportion of men in primary school education is vanishingly small and their age profile is very heavily skewed towards the upper end. When's the last time you saw a male primary school teacher that wasn't a principal?

Given that profile and the fact that years served sets salary level, then the male average salary is going to be higher than the general - something that's pointed out as "discrimination" by people who don't know any maths.

Which doesn't invalidate the underlying point, but I thought I'd be pedantic

Ahhh! Isn't that interesting use of language! Most people (like the Minister) say "don't have a maths degree" when you say "do not have an appropriate third-level qualification". A Engineering or Science degree is appropriate too.

I'm not sure what point I'm trying to make there other than the media compain about the wrong things.