Kelvin Smythe once more hits the nail on the head, identifying that these latest proposals aim to bring in both performance pay and the entrenching of National Standards within NZ education. If those getting the extra pay do not jump on the National Standards bandwagon and promote it to others, they can say goodbye to the role and the money, and a more compliant puppet will be brought in.
Here are Kelvin’s observations:
“Because the education system is hierarchical, narrow, standardised, autocratic, and fearful – the new proposals will yield meagre gains. The proposals, if implemented within this education straitjacket, will have the appearance of a system suffering from ADHD.
The suggested proposals, because of the difference in the way secondary school knowledge is developed, structured, and presented will work somewhat less harmfully for secondary than for primary.
The proposals are a move by the government to buy its way to an extreme neoliberal and managerialist future for education – one part of these proposals is performance pay, the other, and associated, is a managerialist, bureaucratic restructuring:
There is performance pay to develop a cash nexus as central to education system functioning.
There is performance pay to divide NZEI and eventually destroy it (as we know the organisation), NZPF also.
There is performance pay and the wider proposals to divide NZEI from PPTA (PPTA is dithering).
The information I have is that there will be some obfuscation about the role of national standards but in practice performance pay will, indeed, be based on them.
There is making permanent the national standards curriculum by selecting expert and merit teachers on the basis of their demonstrated commitment to a narrow version of mathematics, reading, and writing and their willingness to promote it.
The proposals are intended to set up an extreme neoliberal and managerialist education system:
The executive principal for the cluster system will usually be a secondary principal, if one is not available, a primary school principal friend of the government will be employed.
This cluster structure will form the basis for the ‘rationalisation’ of schools when that process is decided for the cluster area.
The executive principal will be a part of a bureaucratic extension upward to the local ministry and education review offices then to their head offices, and downward to clusters, individual schools, and classroom teachers.
This executive principal will have the ultimate power in deciding expert and lead appointments.”
Read the rest of Kelvin’s insightful piece here.
This is no way to run education. If we treat the system and those within it this way, what on earth does it tell our students? That what matters in bowing down to money even when you know it’s wrong? That it’s okay to leave behind all that your expertise tells you, so long as you’re okay? That it’s every man for himself? What great lessons for life they are. Not.
We must insist our unions tread very carefully here, and not be blinded by the loaded promise of gold.