As a past elected member of the New Zealand Teachers Council I find myself profoundly offended by the Ministry of Education’s advertisement for EDUCANZ in today’s Dominion Post, headed up “We’re making changes to education so all Kiwi kids can fly. Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand.”
Why is it in today’s political climate, that any new initiative has to be accompanied by denigration of the previous, as if the previous policy was so flawed and so led by misguided and insincere people that it had no value at all?
The Teachers Council was a replacement body for the Teacher Registration Board which had been an effective organisation but one with limited powers. The Board, Director and staff of the Teacher Registration Board were wholly in favour of the new Teachers Council with its broader powers and focus on promoting the professional status of teachers.
Yes, the NZ Teachers Council had a rocky start. The first Chair was driven from her post by unfounded and politically biased accusations – she was later cleared but it was too late by then. This led to the appointment of a director who, while a good person in many ways, was not really up to the task.
This all changed with the appointment of a number of truly effective chairs and of Peter Lind as Director. Over time this hard work gained acceptance of the Council across the profession – even (remarkably) in the university teacher education faculties. What a fantastic effort to make something as bureaucratic as registration accepted by teachers! Now for pathetic political reasons, all that hard, dedicated work by Peter, all of his staff and a whole swag of Council members and chairs has been discarded, marginalised and treated as worthless.
The Ministry of Education has a website page listing the differences between the Council and EDUCANZ. (See also this version on the EDUCANZ website.) Their view is that key to this is the status of EDUCANZ as an independent statutory body rather than an Autonomous Crown Entity. Apparently this means that the Minister can select members to create a skills-balanced organisation rather than relying on the vagaries of the electoral process – so much for democracy. And of course the Minister appoints all members of the Council – that makes for real independence.
At least five candidates from this nomination process will be appointed by the Minister, with the balance being selected by the Minister.
This is a sham, a total sham. I am really pissed off!!
~ Ken Wilson