This week, NZEI teacher members rejected the Ministry of Education’s second pay and conditions offer and voted to go on strike again. But what is it they want? And what’s been offered?
As you can see, what was asked for and what has been offered aren’t even close to each other. Only one condition was met as asked for, and that is the Pay Parity clause. Dedicated SENCOs to support students with special educational needs are not in Ministry’s offer, miserly release time in the first offer was withdrawn in the second offer, and the pay offer is less than asked for and over a longer period, and Diploma-trained teachers continue to get paid far less than their colleagues despite having the most experience (and often being team leaders, senior staff, and the ones that train new teachers)!
When we are hundreds of teachers short for next year, and we know we will be thousands of teachers short within a couple of years, you’d think Ministry would listen to teachers and make the job more manageable and attractive so that we keep the teachers we already have and attract new ones. But no.
Something’s got to give: Strike action dates and information can be found here.
If you want to see in full what NZEI teacher members are asking for and what was offered by Ministry, look here.
It was great, today, to see so many coalition MPs, including the Prime Minister, turn up in the Beehive’s grounds today to hear and acknowledge why NZEI members were striking.
Chris Hipkins spoke eloquently about his understanding of the issues, agreeing that more must be done for students with special educational needs and that staff workload and retention issues must be addressed, and for that we were very thankful.
And we understand that not everything can be addressed at once. We get that this government inherited a cesspool of bad policies from National and ACT. We know the pot of money is not bottomless. But we also know we are in dire straits right now. That the issues are happening all around us, and there is no time to waste.
So, whilst we are very glad this government treats education staff with respect and genuinely seem to listen to us, we need more than just sympathy; We need action.
Before it’s too late.
On Q&A this weekend it was said that the average teacher’s pay is $74k per year. Teachers up and down the country fainted, asking who this average teacher is!
SOSNZ would love to see what calculations were done to reach that figure, because it seems entirely unlikely to be accurate.
The NZ primary school teacher pay scale is here:
Note the top for most teachers, after many years in the profession, is $70,481.
The most you can get, with a Masters, PhD or Honours Degree is $74,460.
The only way to get more than that is to take on additional responsibilities, at $4k per unit.
Given a huge number of teachers leave within the first few years, it’s unlikely that the average wage is truly $74k as was mooted on Q&A.
Mean, mode, median, smoke or mirrors – I’d love to know how that figure was arrived at.
I have asked Q&A whether they can get details of how that was calculated (does it include principals, specialists, RTLBs, etc?). I have also asked Tracey Martin, Chris Hipkins and Catherine Delahunty whether they might ask about it in the House. I will keep you informed.
Dearest Mike Hosking,
I hear you’ve been setting the teachers’ unions right on Seven Sharp again tonight. Good on you. I totally get where you’re coming from – they’re to blame for teacher shortages, your receding hairline and the break up of The Beatles. I’m not saying Illuminati, but….
Of course the unions will say that the government are the ones that could sanction additional payments to attract shortage staff, and that housing costs and the price of living are factors outside their control, too, and then they’ll boo-hoo about the shitty 2% pay rise they got.
They’ll not trumpet the huge starting pay teachers get – some stroll on into the job on a whopping $35,267! And ten years later, after barely any work at all, Ministry will kindly have doubled that! All that for just three or four years of full time graduate study and ten years of work and a few upskilling courses every term. That’s nearly as much as the starting wage for an IT bod! Ministry are far too generous – the 2% rise was too good for them. Bloody spongers!
But you and I know the truth, don’t we? Unlike you, who works very hard to sit there on a chair at a desk making pronouncements (a very tiring and demanding job, which they clearly don’t appreciate) and who actually earns your pay, those union bods are only in it for the money and the fame.
The unions will then rattle off that there’s a mountain of research out there showing how ineffective, and even damaging, performance pay is. Pfffft. A few piffly research studies by a few dozen professors from highly respected universities and they call that evidence. I know what I know, and the reckons of an old, white, guy who has made a sterling career out of being a radio and TV host is much more reliable that all that university crap.
The unions just don’t get it! You’re helping, for heaven’s sake! Nothing encourages more people into teaching than having the media bad-mouth the job and the people every night – it draws them in like moths.
Keep up the excellent work, my good man.
Dear Mr Plested,
I had no idea that running a freight company gave one such insight, but since you clearly you know all there is to know about managing everything in the world, from trucking companies to education systems, I am hoping you will give me and my documentary making team permission to come and film at Mainfreight to see how perfect everything is there. So we can learn from it. Since you know everything.
We would like to do a one-to-one interview with you about your time as a teacher and principal, the pedagogies you use, your ethos, the professional development you have undertaken and your insight into child development. I feel we could learn a lot from you.
We would ideally like to film in the school you have running at Mainfreight and see the students in action. This will be inspirational for those poor teachers in the state system who don’t know what you know.
The mountains of evidence showing that performance pay for teachers doesn’t work (and not only doesn’t work but lowers student outcomes) needs to dealt to. Research is over-rated – all that peer-reviewed tosh! It’s time to show that none of that has any value by sharing your insightful reckons.
I for one am glad people like you are onto it. The education system needs more back seat drivers – that’s the very thing it’s been lacking all these years. Look how well it went when they handed all those English schools over to mobile phone execs and carpet moguls. It’s not like they had anything to gain from taking over all of those schools and taking the money that would have been wasted on students. Far better that it goes to businessmen such as your good self so that you can spend it on the important things like Vera Wang tea services, $1k meals and top-end Jaguars.
Let’s get this education system sorted. Get your people to call my people and we’ll Skype…
Dianne Khan & the film team
PS: It’s wonderful that you support experiments on school students, and I’m hoping that – as such an advocate – you will be happy to send your child/ren to the nearest charter school and let us track how they get on there in a fly-on-the-wall stand-alone doco.
NZEI is continuing to vigorously pursue its case on behalf of 6000 support staff members in schools who are going to have their pay reduced for 27 fortnights in 2016 because of the way Novopay is dealing with pay annualisation.
Our lawyers have met this week with Crown Law and the Employment Authority. The Authority had suggested a hearing in August and we have strongly opposed such a big delay in the proceedings. As a result, the Authority has agreed to meet next week to set an earlier date for a hearing.
We will inform members once a date has been set.
About 27% of support staff have been affected by Novopay’s proposal to have 27 pay days in 2016, rather than the normal 26 pay periods.
Novopay’s approach will reduce the fortnightly payments to these support staff by approximately 3.7% each pay day over the 27 fortnights from pay period 23 in January.
NZEI believes that this is unacceptable. Technical calendar reasons have been given for Novopay’s proposed approach but Novopay has not been able to adequately explain why the reduction in fortnightly pay must occur.
The reduction in pay affects members who are already on low incomes. We are also concerned that Novopay’s decision was made without any consultation or prior discussion either with members themselves or NZEI Te Riu Roa. The situation has been compounded by poor communication from Novopay, with resulting confusion and concern in the sector.
Please call 0800 NZEI HELP if you have any queries about this.
I am unclear, though, how treating teachers like miscreants that need rules, rules, rules to keep them in place, and forcing teachers to use practices and systems they do not agree with (and which know research does not support) makes teaching something job-seekers would put high on their list.
That and the fact you can get more for working 9-5 in an office than you do for teaching…
It hardly puts the job up there with lawyer or doctor in the status stakes, does it?
If Hekia is serious about her wish for people to think of teaching as a high status profession, and this isn’t just rhetoric, then she has a lot of work to do to redress the damage already done and ensure teachers are paid, treated and seen as the professionals they are.
Dear Mr Hughes
I am sure you are aware that a group of devoted and experienced teachers have been receiving an appallingly unfair remuneration deal in this country for a number of years now. I am of course referring to teachers who completed their qualifications either before or during the period in which the degree qualification was phased into Teacher’s Colleges.
I’m also sure you will agree, that it reasonable that these teachers who are can often be equipped with over thirty years of experience (and that’s after completing three years of education with world-leading institutions to boot) should be able to earn the same as their equally dedicated and hard-working colleagues that have more recently graduated.
The current scheme is not just puzzlingly inequitable to a number of dedicated and expert teachers, but it also undermines the reputation of our education system. By instituting such a needlessly dichotomised strata, we are now implying that the teachers who completed qualifications during this period are not worth as much as teachers who have studied more recently. Which as you can imagine is pretty insulting to people that have dedicated their life to education.
To illustrate the issue, the following is a real life example of a teacher in this situation:
Teacher X graduated studied for three years at The University of Waikato and graduated with a Hamilton Teachers College Diploma with Commendation in 1981. She has been teaching for over 20 years and each year has completed professional development, which has been very relevant and useful and has included training in Reading Recovery, Literacy Leadership and specialised teaching in The Arts.
In a role at her previous school Ms X held a permanent unit for leading The Arts and a fixed term unit for Literacy Leadership. The permanent unit allowed her to progress to a higher pay scale, but still not to the same rate as a younger, more inexperienced teacher who also completed three years of study with the same or any other university (just at a later date when it was called a degree).
Ms X then moved to a new location due to a change in her husband’s career. She was appointed a position at a local primary school on the spot at her first interview due to her experience, expertise, and glowing references. Her new role included a unit to lead literacy with a focus on writing, but because schools have the autonomy to decide how units can be used, she discovered that all curriculum units at her new school are fixed term and therefore went back to the maximum salary on the Q1 scale ($56,177) plus the unit allowance.
You must agree that this is somewhat confusing when comparatively teachers with a three-year Bachelor of Teaching degree can earn $68,074 after only seven years in the classroom. Especially when you consider teachers in the same position as Ms X also completed three years at Teachers College. The younger teachers have done nothing wrong and should be celebrated for having the courage to undertake an increasingly thankless career that has become cynically devalued by a government looking to shift the blame for their own social failings onto their most dedicated public servants. But it simply does not make any sense whatsoever for us to divide our teachers along these lines, when they are all there for the same reasons and are all equally qualified to do this work.
I realise this is an issue that the NZEI has been attempting to address for years with no resolution in sight. The Advanced Classroom Expertise Teacher (ACET) allowance is not an appropriate resolution. While it might help a few selected teachers who are employed by schools which are supportive of the scheme, it does not really address the inequity and it will take a long time to be implemented. The other issue with the already problematic ACET allowance is that it does not help rectify the damage done to the reputation of the education system or educators who gained their qualification from this period, who received sound professional training.
The most logical and easy solution that would completely eradicate the issue would be for The Ministry of Education to simply recognise the qualifications of those in the position of Ms X, and who are still teaching, as the equivalent of the current degree credentials (which they are). I fail to see any explanation of why this has still not happened, especially considering the relatively small number of teachers this would affect in 2015.
Mr Hughes, addressing the discriminatory system for older experienced, effective and dedicated teachers who haven’t had the opportunity to complete degrees is long over-due. I strongly urge The Ministry to remember that these teachers, who despite facing substantial financial disadvantages when compared to several of their colleagues, have made a significant contributions to young lives in this country for a number of years. It is well beyond time that their professionalism, expertise, commitment and loyalty is acknowledged and rewarded accordingly.
I look forward to the day these teachers are given a fair go. In fact I look forward to the day when all teachers are given a fair go.
With teacher pay bargaining just around the corner and politicians’ wage rises announced today, I thought I would compare the wage increases of primary school teachers and politicians over the past few years:
Very experienced primary school teacher – wages (rounded)
2006 – $56k
2015 – $66k
= increase over 9 years of $10k
Any Backbencher Politician – wages (rounded)
2007 – $126k
2015 – $156k (plus $28k accommodation allowance)
= increase over 8 years of $30k
Slap me with a kipper and call me Arnold, but that doesn’t seem exactly fair.
I won’t even go into the debacle that is Novopay or the fact that some are still being paid wrongly and some are still waiting on wages owed for over a year… No, we won’t open that can of worms. Except to say that Stephen Joyce and Hekia Parata’s $268,500 a year will be rising to about $283,300 and will be paid on time.
David Seymour, parliamentary-under-secretary-for-promoting-charter-schools-at-any-cost, will get a nice 5.5% pay rise on his $175,600 a year, bringing it nearer $185,000 per year. (Mr Seymour’s wages could pay for around three teachers.)
John Key pocketed an additional $23,800 and today said of MP’s pay rises:
“The money turns up in your account. You could say, ‘Well, you could write a cheque or donate it or give it back’, but it’s just not that practical across 121 MPs.”
“What do you do when you get to the next year, and they give you another pay increase? Do we take that one and not the other one?”
Such a difficult decision, Prime Minister – how you must suffer with that one.
Jeepers, people on minimum wage must be planning right now whether to spend that windfall of about $15 per week on a car or a yacht, don’t you think?
And if they can’t decide, then perhaps Hekia Parata can offer some suggestions, as I’m sure she’s been planning how best to spend her extra $283 a week. After all, it must have been a struggle getting by on just $21k a month this past year…
Where’s that kipper again?
Sources and further reading:
“Today’s announcement that the National Government will effectively nationalise Novopay, is an indictment on National’s blinkered ‘market knows best’ ideology and the entire teaching force are owed an apology,” Green Party Co leader Metiria Turei said.
“Teachers have been through hell for the last two years, while the Government has continued to deny there is even a real problem.
“Just a few weeks ago Finance Minister Bill English was blaming the principals’ collective agreements for Novopay’s problems, saying Novopay was as good as it can get and ‘it can be improved now only by making the underlying collective agreements less complicated than they are’.
“Now National is saying that Novopay is so dysfunctional it needs to nationalise the whole system – well which story is the one they want to stick to?
“It is well known that National wants to bulk fund teacher salaries and this is the obvious next threat on the horizon. With the Government in charge of teacher pay, National must not be allowed to use the Novopay fiasco to make this happen.
“Teachers have endured two years of hell, never knowing from one week to the next if they’ll get paid or what they’ll get paid and they need to be assured that the bulk funding nightmare is not set to follow that.
“Teachers are owed an apology and the promise of full and proper compensation for any losses. “It now looks like the people of New Zealand will be tens of millions out of pocket from this fiasco. Talent 2 must be made to pay the costs of any expenses the taxpayer or any individual teachers have incurred, any less is to let them off the hook.
‘The fact is there was a perfectly good payroll system operating before Novopay came along and National’s attempts to get a bargain basement deal are at the heart of this
whole fiasco. “Of course Novopay needs to be dealt with once and for all – teachers’ deserve nothing less – but they have been put through hell and I doubt they’ll ever forget that,” Mrs Turei said.
Your choice – actively work to change the direction of these reforms or accept that you are as much to blame as the reformers.
This from HuffingtonPost:
As I watch the education “debate” … I wonder if we have simply lost our minds.
In the cacophony of reform chatter — online programs, charter schools … testing, more testing, accountability … value-added assessments, blaming teachers … blaming unions, blaming parents — one can barely hear the children crying out: “Pay attention to us!”
None of the things on the partial list above will have the slightest effect on the so-called achievement gap or the supposed decline in [our] international education rankings. Every bit of education reform — every think tank remedy proposed by wet-behind-the-ears MBAs, every piece of legislation, every one of these things — is an excuse to continue the unconscionable neglect of our children.
As Pogo wisely noted, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” We did this to our children and our schools.
We did this by choosing to see schools as instructional factories, beginning in the early 20th century.
We did this by swallowing the obscene notion that schools and colleges are businesses and children are consumers.
We did this by believing in the infallibility of free enterprise, by pretending [our country] is a meritocracy, and by ignoring the pernicious effects of unrelenting racism.
We did this by believing that children are widgets and economy of scale is both possible and desirable.
We did this by acting as though reality and the digital representation of reality are the same thing.
We did this by demeaning the teaching profession.
We did this by allowing poverty and despair to shatter families.
We did this by blaming these families for the poverty and despair we inflicted on them.
We did this by allowing school buildings to deteriorate, by removing the most enlivening parts of the school day, by feeding our children junk food.
We did this by failing to properly fund schools…
We did this by handcuffing teachers with idiotic policies, constant test preparation and professional insecurity.
[The] children need our attention, not Pearson’s lousy tests or charter schools’ colorful banners and cute little uniforms that make kids look like management trainees.
[Our] teachers need our support, our admiration, and the freedom to teach and love children.
The truth is that our children need our attention, not political platitudes and more TED talks.
Read the rest of the article here.
It appears the government has earmarked millions of dollars this year for Novopay remedial work, says the NZEI.
Costs associated with payroll services had previously been included in the budget for “Support and Resources for Education Providers”, but in the 2014 Budget, $43.2m has been pulled from that budget to create a dedicated budget line called “Payroll Services”.
This year’s budget also shows that last year $9.2m was diverted from “Support and Resources for Teachers”, plus another $4.348m from other education budget lines to prop up the disastrous payroll system:
$1.025 million from Curriculum Support (p 20 of Supplementary Estimates document)
$1.5 million from the National Study Awards (p 207)
$1.823 million from Primary Education (p 210)
$300,000 from Special Needs Support (p 212)
NZEI Te Riu Roa spokesman Ian Leckie said students and teachers were missing out on resources to support teaching and learning because of a payroll mess that had been going on for two years and appeared to show no signs of improving.
“The ministry needs to fess up and tell us how much of this $43.2m is for normal service charges and how much is for projected cost overruns and fixes. We asked the ministry last week and they haven’t been able to supply an answer,” he said.
Mr Leckie said parents of special needs children would be particularly galled to hear that $300,000 had been scraped out of special needs support to prop up Novopay.
“Special needs education is extremely underfunded and kids are missing out on help that will enable them to succeed at school. Parents and teachers have been calling for more funding. Not only was there nothing for these children in the budget, but the government has quietly siphoned much-needed funds out of the previous budget,” he said.
Meanwhile a report by the Auditor General details the extent of the problems that the school sector faced in completing their 2012/13 audits. It shows that Novopay has caused significant delays in auditing school accounts and caused an extra $1.5 million in auditing costs.
Ian Leckie says he’s not surprised by the auditor general’s report.
“Novopay is continuing to cause ongoing issues for schools and this is diverting attention away from providing kids with education.”
I went to a union meeting yesterday. I’m not working at the moment, but wanted to know more about what is being discussed and how teachers on the ground are feeling, so off I trundled. I must say, I was so taken aback by some of what I heard that I came home and fell asleep for most of the night, shocked into stupor.
The first shock was when we were asked to quickly list with others on our tables what is going on in education at the moment. As I didn’t know anyone and was there to listen more than speak, I waited. There was a pregnant pause, then one someone quietly said:
“Well, nothing’s going on in education at the moment, is it …. because it’s an election year and they want to stay safe.”
Stunned, I paused to see what others thought…
“There’s performance pay,” said one.
“No, she was misquoted,” someone replied.
… and still I stayed quiet. (It was killing me, but I needed to listen not talk).
And that was it.
There seemed to be more talk at other tables, so this may not be representative, but it still made me want to cry.
I just kept thinking, is this really all the knowledge, interest and passion this group of 7 teachers has between them about their own profession? Do they truly not know any more than that, or do they not care? How on earth do we get them to care?
If there had been a bar, I’d have turned to drink.
Luckily, when the rep went around the room asking what people had identified, the list was long and people sounded more outraged by it all. Not all, but many seemed frustrated.
Between them, this smallish group of about 60 teachers listed National Standards, charter schools, PaCT, charter schools, the killing off of the Teachers Council, performance pay, decile ratings, funding of schools, change principals and the $359 for new roles.
The teacher that had said nothing much was happening in education was nodding – she had known about all of those things at the back of her mind.
The meeting went on. Performance pay was mentioned again. Two lots of teachers said they had asked Hekia Parata face-to-face when she had visited their schools in the past couple of weeks whether she was considering performance pay and Hekia had responded that she was misquoted and not to believe all they read.
This is when my cork popped. Performance pay, I pointed out, is something Hekia Parata has talked about since 2012 and they should perhaps not believe all they hear from the Minister either.
People looked a bit stunned. They had fronted up and asked the Minister first hand whether she was considering performance pay and they felt she had said no it wasn’t.
But, I asked, did she say it was OFF the table or merely say she was misquoted? And di they teachers realise she has been mooting performance pay since 2012?
The teachers were now confused as they had felt they had gotten an answer from the horse’s mouth and now it seemed maybe not. They asked the rep to ask the union to ask the Minister for clarification – is there to be performance pay or not?
No point, I mused inwardly. Because this is how she answers straightforward questions about performance pay (and anything else, in fact):
On the meeting went… and the horrors unveiled later are best saved for another post…
Meanwhile, concerned teachers and whanua reading this, you have colleagues, friends and family who believe nothing much is happening in education. Maybe you need to start some conversations to counter that belief, before it’s too late.
Further reading on Hekia’s performance pay stance:
“Thank you for the letter re the NUT industrial action on the 26th March. Please do not feel the need to apologise for any inconvenience, as we fully appreciate the reasons why the teaching staff are striking to defend quality education and their terms and conditions. As parents we understood the two issues are completely connected and have no problem at all fully supporting the action of the teachers recognising the excellent work they do all year around.
We appreciate as well, the dilemma of some staff being in the ATL union and on a personal level we would urge them to join the NUT too so they can fully participate in the industrial action, but that is of course their choice. However as parents we are not prepared to undermine the sacrifice that other teaching staff are making in their stand on the 26th at Ashmead and elsewhere. Additionally we are not satisfied that a partially opened school is fully health and safety compliant. We are therefore putting our children first before any political pressures from the town hall to keep any unsafe school open with inadequate staffing numbers.
Besides we believe for our children that the day of action will in itself be a fantastic educational opportunity to see their teachers, their mentors, engaged in an inter generational act of solidarity that protects the principles of free education and the living standards of all teaching staff.
When our children ask why this is all happening we will happily explain to them. That’s why our kids will all grow up being socially aware, politically conscious human beings and appreciate their collective power to change things for the better in society. After all that’s what a good education should be for too shouldn’t it?
[names witheld]” Source
I know so many parents in New Zealand would offer that same support, as they too have had enough of what’s going on in the name of reform.
It is astounding the list of wrongs done to the Kiwi education system in a few short years. I’m not exaggerating – it is just beyond belief. To the point that when I try to think of it all, my head hurts and a thousand conflicting issues start fighting for prominence rendering me unable to sort through the spaghetti of information and in need of a big glass of Wild Side feijoa cider.
I live and breathe this stuff, and if I find it bewildering I can only imagine what it does to the average parent or teacher, grandparent or support staff.
So I am truly grateful that Local Bodies today published a post listing the long list of things public education has had thrown at it since National came to power.
This is the list. It needs to be read then discussed with friends, colleagues, family, teachers, students, MPs and the guy on the train. Because this is it – this is what has been thrown at education in a few short years. It is no overstatement to say that New Zealand Public education is under attack.
Take a breath, and read on:
A National led Government was elected and New Zealand’s public education system came under heavy attack:
You can add to the list the change to teacher training that allows teachers to train in 6 weeks in the school holidays and then train on the job in one school without varied practicums, just as Teach For America does to bring in low cost, short term, untrained ‘teachers’. (Coincidentally great for charter schools, especially those running for profit.)
The full Local Bodies article is here. It is well worth sharing and discussing (share the original, not this – the full article is better)
Please be aware that what has already gone on is just the preamble to far more extensive measures getting increasing more about Milton Friedman’s “free market” than about good, equal, free public education for all.
Unless you want NZ to descend into the horrors being seen now in England and the United States, you need to act. How?
Because three more years like this and the list above will look like child’s play.