This afternoon PPTA members voted to empower the association’s executive to develop a range of responses to the Education Amendment Bill (no. 2) that aims to replace the New Zealand Teachers Council with a government appointed body.
Because the annual conference paper “Demolition or restoration – The election and our fight for the Teachers Council” was written before the election, changes had to be made to strengthen the union’s options to fight for its own professional body.
These changes included giving the executive the power to determine to what extent the association will co-operate with their new body and putting proposals for actions against the new council to a teacher vote.
PPTA president Angela Roberts said the association needed to have as many options available as possible.
“The legislation is so loose that we have no idea what we will actually be asked to fight against ,” Roberts said.
“The paper’s original recommendations offered the executive a hammer – now they have been given a whole toolbox.”
When the government first proposed a body to replace the New Zealand Teachers’ Council PPTA had four bottom lines – that it be a statutory authority, that it have a majority of practising teachers, that positions to the council be elected and that there be a position reserved for a union delegate.
The resulting EDUCANZ proposal provided none of these things.
Undaunted by the atmosphere and empowered by the truth PPTA members rallied making powerful written and oral submissions – which resulted the government conceding to include a majority of teacher members and pushed the bill back so it would not be debated before the election.
However the bill is still seriously flawed and cannot be allowed to pass in its current form.
“Two of PPTA’s bottom lines have still not been met: elections for teacher positions and the right of PPTA to nominate a member to a position. The minister of education retains the power to select all council members.
“The purpose and functions of the bill remain as wide as ever and are likely to distract the new council from its proper focus on the core business of keeping students safe and the offensive name for the council – which would make it the only teacher registration body in the world that’s name does not include teachers or teaching – remains.”
“The bill is still very poorly drafted, with problems that the NZTC’s submission highlighted as positively dangerous to the safety of students, that the select committee has failed to address,” Roberts said.
“But rest assured we are prepared to do some dragon-slaying if and when it is needed,” she said.
PPTA’s annual conference runs from September 30 to October 2 and is an opportunity for members to debate, discuss and vote on papers that will shape PPTA policy. Decisions are made by secondary teachers for secondary teachers.
The full papers are available at: http://www.ppta.org.nz/events/annual-conference