Just as primary had a teacher organisation that headed rogue but was pulled back, secondary has one too, the PPTA executive, but not yet reined in. However, great news – from information just to hand, the PPTA is about to be provided with the opportunity to head back to good sense. But it will require its various branches to act decisively, publicly, and soon – soon so that it becomes part of the election debate.
I am now in receipt of a terrific declaration from a PPTA branch, sent to all branches – directly opposed to the PPTA executive support for the IES.
The main points set out in the declaration are:
We believe we are now in a position diametrically opposed to our sister union, NZEI, and such an opposition does nothing for the greater good of state education. We also believe that the IES proposals will not bring about the success envisaged.
This branch believes that the real cause of disparity in educational achievement is to be found in the composition of school rolls and no effective collaboration among schools can occur until the inequity inherent in such compositions can be addressed.
[All hail, the writer of this – whose name I know – you will go down in the annals.]
1. Although PPTA assures us it sought an early collaborative approach with NZEI as the two main state unions involved in the discussions, we believe that our emphasis on policy has outweighed any real attention being given to NZEI’s legitimate concerns.
2. PPTA should not have agreed to participate in confidential negotiations, thereby leaving its membership out in the cold.
3. This branch believes that if $359 million over four years can be found to improve educational success, then there are better ways of using the money than contained in these proposals.
4. This branch believes that the IES proposals will undermine the current working of schools by destabilising administration and teaching, through the removal of key people on an on-going basis.
5. This branch believes that the IES proposals will impact upon all current teacher workloads, not just those of the four categories of teachers envisaged under the scheme.
6. This branch recommends that PPTA should be looking at career pathways differently, to ensure the best teachers have the option of continuing to do what they do best, that is teach. Such scrutiny could involve:
Higher teacher qualifications on entry; a more rigorous teacher selection process; the quality of training programmes; a basic career pay scale that runs for 20 years for a qualified teacher; a separate MU pay scale that offers real incentives and rewards for responsibility both in time and money for middle management.
7. This branch also recommends that PPTA look at assessing the current classroom teacher workload, reviewing NCEA; its initial objectives and form, its subsequent modifications, its impact on teacher and student workload and learning. We propose that we as a union support the position of less assessment in schools.
So there you have it. As regular readers of this site will know, this declaration is utterly consistent with what has been expressed in various postings. And they will be aware of the fierce but defensive arguments in response by members of the executive.
The PPTA signing of the IES has seriously harmed discussion of the education manifestos of the opposition parties (Labour, Greens, and NZ First) and what a tragedy – these manifestos in total being the best manifesto expressions, in my memory, of the needs of children and teachers – early childhood, primary, and secondary. If we go down the farcical and dangerous IES track, it will be a heart-rending loss for education.
Organisers of this declaration, get it out there – this could be huge.