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Performance Pay for Teachers

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Dearest Hosko, regarding those pesky teacher unions…

heroDearest 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.

yours etc… 

Stop The Presses: lay person is expert on education!

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…

Naku noa,

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.

 

Why NZ should care that teachers in England are on strike

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On Tuesday 5th July 2016, thousands of teachers in England are striking, and the reasons that are doing so are very pertinent to what is happening in New Zealand.  Everything that is happening there is already being put in place here, bit by bit by bit.

Here, Charlotte Carson explains the reasons that the teachers are striking and why parents should care:

Parents – are you a wee bit pissed off that teachers are on strike again? And it’s all about their pay?!!

I am a teacher and I will be on strike on Tuesday. I want to explain why.

1. It’s not really about pay.
As a profession I think we are well paid. That is why we have good quality professionals working hard to teach children, inspire them and look after them. But this is about to change.

2. The White Paper
The government’s latest white paper proposes DEREGULATION of teachers’ pay and conditions. Currently all local authority employed teachers in England are paid according to the same contract. Like nurses and doctors, we have automatic pay progression (so the longer you serve the more you get – an incentive to stay in the profession), pay portability (if we move schools we get the same basic pay – they can’t pay us less – this stops a competition between schools for teachers based on money – without it richer schools will always poach good staff from poorer schools) .

3. What is performance-related pay?
The introduction of performance related pay will mean that teachers get paid according to exam results. As a parent I would never want a teacher to look at my child and think ‘is he going to wreck my data and stop my pay rise?’ We are not working in sales – it is hugely problematic to pay us based on exam results.

4. Why should non-teachers care about teachers pay and conditions?
Deregulation also means that our working hours, holidays, pay, sick pay and maternity pay will be individually decided by the employer – the academy that is. An Academy in Manchester has in its contract that maternity pay will be ‘subject to affordability’. Who will become a teacher if the terms and conditions are unattractive?

A mum said to me yesterday ‘but in my job I don’t get good maternity pay – why should I care about teachers?’. My answer is this: public sector pay and conditions set the bar for private sector pay and conditions. If we get screwed you will get screwed too.

5. What’s the problem with academies and free schools?
Academies and free schools are businesses. That means their primary concern is money. The government is paving the way for them to become profit-making businesses. Already many academies double up as wedding venues, conference facilities etc. No harm in generating revenue eh? Well only if it’s being ploughed back into the school and the children. Let’s remember schools are about children aren’t they? It seems not.

Many academies including Harris academies have recently got in trouble for deliberately excluding ‘problem children’ and paying local authority schools to take them off their hands – because they wreck the data. How can you publish your excellent GCSE results if some stubborn children just won’t make progress! The answer in some academies is to get rid of them – then you don’t have to report their results.

So if the money isn’t spent on the kids where does it go?

Good question!
Do a Google search on Haberdashers Free School account fraud. He ran off with £4million! How did he manage to do that? Answer – because he was only accountable to the board of governors and the head teacher. Local authority schools are overseen by a democratically elected local council. Academies don’t have to bother with that level of accountability. And the government also wants to get rid of parent governors. This would mean that academies would only be accountable to themselves. We’re talking about millions of pounds of public money. Already there have been many documented cases of fraud in academies and free schools.

6. Qualified teachers v. unqualified teachers
Academies and free schools don’t have to employ qualified teachers. Unqualified teachers are cheaper of course. But I know which one I want teaching my children.

This is all I have time to write just now.
The problem is that most teachers are so busy that they haven’t taken time to communicate all this with parents. I think we need to get much better at doing that.

But just think about your children’s teachers – do you trust them? If you do then please trust that they are on strike for the right reasons – for the future of our jobs and our schools – defending education from privatisation.”

New Zealand parents, take note – this is all coming our way, too.

~ Dianne

John Oliver explains the madness of standardized testing and teacher performance pay, with a dancing monkey thrown in for good measure

American students face a ridiculous amount of testing.

American teachers face ridiculous formulae using test scores to determine their pay.

Certain companies benefit hugely from this set-up.

Welcome to the global education reform movement – GERM.

Here, John Oliver explains how standardized tests impact school funding, the achievement gap, how often kids are expected to throw up. Enjoy.

#OptOut

Education Reform explained in 3 memes

Feel free to right click, copy and share these memes as far and wide as you wish.

Education reforms Explained - GERM

Education reforms Explained - teachersEducation reforms Explained - performance pay

Who ruined the education system? We did.

history is being written now

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.

A shameful shadow of an education system

The article below is about the saddest thing I have ever read about education, and fits exactly what I saw starting before I left the UK to come to New Zealand.  Sadly, this government is following the UK with this madness, and this horror is now here too.  I am devastated.  This is a shameful shadow of education and in years to come will be reflected on as a period of utter and total disgrace.

Secret Teacher, writes in The Guardian (UK):

speech marks blue bubbleWhen I began teaching I worked in early years. Back then, personal, social and emotional development was factored into every aspect of the curriculum. It was understood that to become a successful learner you needed to develop a love of learning and feel secure in your abilities to overcome challenges.

I remember rejoicing the first time a painfully shy child answered their name in the register and when another proudly taught the class to say hello in their home language. But these normal everyday achievements did not happen by magic; the children only achieved these things because they felt secure in their school environment and the right opportunities were available to them.

Roll on a few years and I recently found myself teaching key stage 1 in a new school rated good, and aiming for outstanding. But in this quest, levels and targets have become more important than anything – more important than the children, it seemed.

One Autumn morning I was summoned to the assistant headteacher’s office for the first round of target setting for the year. I was asked to predict the levels my year 1 class would get in their year 2 Sats. I should mention that 70% of my class arrived in year 1 below the expected reading age, which posed a problem; my literacy levels did not meet the targets and could not be submitted to the borough. Apparently, my predictions were “not ambitious enough” and were up levelled. The new targets were accompanied by a speech making the pressure of these expectations clear.

As a new member of staff, I was interested to see what approach the school would take to ensure the levels were met. Their preferred method was manipulation, making sure no one had access to enough information for a full picture. Parents were held at arm’s length and assistant headteachers were present in all formal meetings to monitor what information was shared and how. If a teacher was seen talking to a parent for too long in the playground, an assistant head would appear and join??????????????????????????????????????? the conversation. Nothing quite says you’re not trusted like being watched constantly.

In one meeting I was horrified to witness just how far they were willing to push the pursuit of targets at the expense of the children. My year group included four children that were in the learning support centre. Although they weren’t taught in mainstream classes, they were included in our all-important levels, which unfortunately meant our “quota” of children not at expected levels had already been accounted for.

One child who came under particular scrutiny had been a “problem” in reception. He fidgeted and struggled to manage his behaviour in certain circumstances. Compared to other children I had taught, he had minor behaviour needs, but he was behind academically. With a little bit of nurturing he was improving – the other children were not being affected by him and he was making academic progress. Even so, I was told to put pressure on his parent to take him elsewhere. At the sight of my horrified expression this softened to nudging them gently. Officially, the reason given was behaviour, but I have no doubt that unofficially levels and the extra time he required were the biggest factors in this decision.

When I didn’t follow orders, meetings began taking place that I was not invited to or informed of. I have no idea what the parent was told, but several secret meetings later they must have got the message and made the decision to move him to another school.

Read the rest here.

Food for Thought:

The comments below the article are food for thought. Below are some of the ones that stood out for me.

“This problem is now worsening due to the pressure being put on us by unrealistic performance management targets. If we don’t get the children to a certain place by the end of the year, we now don’t move up the pay scale. Horrid.”

“You aptly sum up why I, with deep regret, turned my back on headship. Loved the job but the conflict between doing what was morally right and what was demanded politically had moved beyond an uneasy compromise and into the territory of being expected to sell one’s soul.”

” This target driven culture comes directly from the DfE (past and present) and is enforced with an iron fist by Ofsted. If a school fails to meet targets it gets taken over, the head will be sacked as may be many other teachers. The only people willing to become heads and deputies now a days are those who are willing to play this game and whose ambition (and often limited talent) drives them to fiddle figures, bully and coerce others into making often impossible targets.”

“It’s obvious that the education system is broken to varying degrees across the country and in many schools. I have seen the type of behaviour, described by the secret teacher, towards children who ‘won’t make the grade’ happening more and more as the performance management has been directly linked with pay rises or lack of them, and the need for more and more children to make targets that are at best challenging but for many completely impossible. Those teachers who don’t get their quota of children to the grades required are not just not getting pay award but also in danger of the competency procedure. It’s a very very sad and bleak world for those children who for one reason or another cannot/ or will not make the expected grades and gain the results schools need to keep ofsted et al off their backs.”

Final Word

And the last word goes to this commentator, who I think speaks for so many of us when they say “This is just terrible. It’s not what we went into education to do.”

 

 

 

 

The global attack on public schools

STANDARDIZED Lies, Money, & Civil Rights: How Testing Is Ruining Public Education.

This documentary focuses on the proliferation, business,and inadequacies of state-mandated testing in our public schools.

It focuses on America but is every bit as pertinent to what is happening in New Zealand; we may not be as far down the track as the USA , but we are on the same path.

Whenever a new education policy is announced, I would ask you to come back to this:  follow the money.

Who stands to benefit?  Because with testing now a multi TRILLION $$$ industry worldwide, you can bet your bottom dollar it isn’t students or parents that are the main concern.

The doco will be out later in the year, but here is a sneak peek.

Join the Dots: What government is doing to NZ education

This explains what government policies are doing to public education in Aotearoa.  It outlines the huge and fundamental shifts being put in place and what the oppositions are. It is a must-watch.

What is going on?

Our public school system is being set up for privatisation and a hugely competitive model.  This push is being made via many measures, such as the proposed new lead teacher roles, charter schools, National Standards, performance pay, value-added models for funding, getting rid of the Teachers’ Council and replacing it with EDUCANZ, and so on.

Any suggestion that there is to be consultation with the education sector is misdirection.  The parameters are set, people on panels and committees are hand-picked to push them through, and teachers and parents have little to no voice at all.

Who should watch this video?

It’s a must-watch for all teachers, principals, and support staff.

If you missed your Paid Union Meeting (PUM) or left it unclear or confused, then this is essential viewing.

Anyone still out there that thinks there is not much going on in education at the moment, you owe it to yourself to watch, probably more than once.

You might also want to show it at school in a staff or union meeting, for discussion.

Parents, you may want to watch to help you formulate a list of questions to ask.

 

 

Moving towards businesses and profits as the motivator

Be clear that the shifts being put in place are huge and fundamentally change our education system, especially for primary school students.  No more the holistic approach – all that matters are standards, benchmarks and tests. And for many, profit.

If you are unclear just how drastic this is, look to the USA and England just as two examples of what is happening.  You owe it to our children and yourself to understand what is going on and to start asking questions.

LEARN MORE

Below are some links to get you going:

The Guardian – Education (England)

TeacherRoar Blog and TeacherRoar on Facebook (England)

The Anti-Academies Alliance on Facebook (England)

EduShyster – Keeping an eye on the corporate education reform agenda (USA)

The Network for Public Education (NPE) (USA)

Save Our Schools NZ on Facebook (NZ)

Stand Up For Kids – Protect Our Schools on Facebook (NZ)

There are thousands more.  Just Google ‘global education reform’ or ‘GERM’ or ‘privatisation of public schools’ and read away.

the joy of learning.

 

Nothing to see here: blinkers and bullcrap

nothing to see hereI 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.”

Huh?

For real?

Stunned, I paused to see what others thought…

“There’s performance pay,” said one.

“No, she was misquoted,” someone replied.

Silence.

… and still I stayed quiet. (It was killing me, but I needed to listen not talk).

Silence.

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.

A better list (but not the whole list)

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.

Hekia’s school propaganda tour 2014

wonka asks Hekia have you got an answerThe 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:

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1205/S00293/hekia-parata-on-the-nation-police-on-pay-for-teachers.htm (in 2012)

http://www.3news.co.nz/Parata-defends-performance-pay-scheme/tabid/1607/articleID/254861/Default.aspx (in 2012)

http://imperatorfish.com/2014/03/19/hekia-parata-on-being-misquoted/

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10803148

http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2014/03/08/the-problem-with-performance-pay-for-teachers/

http://publicaddress.net/hardnews/what-hekia-parata-actually-said/

http://boonman.wordpress.com/2014/03/16/hekia-parata-and-national-you-are-disgusting/

http://boonman.wordpress.com/tag/performance-pay/

http://www.3news.co.nz/Paratas-funding-plan-crazy-stuff—NZEI/tabid/1607/articleID/336162/Default.aspx

 

What I demand from the next government, by Miriam Pierard

“A strong, progressive education system that acknowledges the beauty of difference in our kids and supports its people on the front line is what I demand from the next government…”

I shared this meme on the SOSNZ Facebook page tonight, and it elicited the response below.  The author has given me kind permission to share (bold for emphasis has been added by myself, not by the author):

Pasi Sahlberg

 

“Thanks for posting, I was really moved by this tonight. I love my job so much. Every day for the last two months I’ve come home grinning, laughing or feeling really proud of my students. I am so happy to work with my colleagues and be teaching what I really care about. Sure, like any job it can be a pain and Sunday evenings lose their sparkle in the shadow of an impending Monday, but not a day goes by when I’m not laughing or smiling a lot about something in class with the kids or in the office with the staff. I love meeting other teachers, because they’re often interesting and nice people. I’m honoured to be able to proudly say I work in education, I’m a history and social studies teacher, I work here.

I believe education is the key to everything.

“And yet we lag behind countries like Finland because, for some reason I just can’t find logic in, our government has latched onto other countries as examples to follow, such as the United States (!!!)… countries whose education systems we can be quite critical about. Their policies are regressive and we are too happily taking them on, without much if any consultation with a range of the professionals (You’d think that would be a good idea right?).

“The result is that it is the most vulnerable in our society who get often left behind. This is NOT because the teachers in low decile schools are worse or their management is under par, but because the government does things like bring in National Standards and slash funding to integral and creative areas. They are not just perpetuating this system of inequality, they are worsening it.

“There isn’t enough room in here to explain all I would like to with this, but it’s possible to sum up this much quickly: kids that go to school hungry will not learn easily because they will not be able to concentrate. They are being set up for struggle and failure. They are the future, they are our future. This should not even be a political issue – Feed the Kids! 

“Our kids are leveled against all other children in standardised tests that only measure intelligence, competence, knowledge and development in one pretty narrow way. Their background, family life, artistic strengths, personality, challenges, ability to empathise etc. are not acknowledged. Kids develop at different levels at different ages in different ways. Now a lot of our kids are labeled as failures because they are below the expected or average, and they have to feel that. At age seven. What does that do to a generation? We’ve seen it in our older generations to realise that we don’t want that for our tamariki and mokopuna. Do we?

“From a number of things that Education Minister Hekia Parata has said, National looks like it would like to change the zoning system of funding school budgets (which granted isn’t perfect) to performance funding. For schools maybe at first, and then perhaps for teachers themselves.

“How insulting to pitch us against each other on a very unequal playing field, and worse, how rudely ignorant of what it is actually like to work in schools, to teach, to manage, to aid. There are far too many factors at play that make it almost impossible to make those funding decisions really fairly. 

“It wouldn’t be fair for me at a high decile school to get paid more than my mates teaching out west or down south, just because my kids are doing better in the exams. I know that I worked equally hard at a decile 4 whose students aren’t at the top of the tables like ours. I know that the kids there are just as deserving of a good education, and that they’re not necessarily less able or studious than mine. There are different parts about each, some that are harder and some that are easier, but it all levels out. My friends and colleagues at lower decile schools work hard and they have many difficult, often poverty-related external factors to deal with at the same time as the teaching. They are great and their students are great, but they would be punished with less money. Again it’s the poor who lose out. We cannot move ahead when we leave so many behind.

“The current government makes it harder for us to do our jobs really well and to live up to the potential of our profession.

“The next Minister for Education must talk to the professionals and experts, and make their decisions on that advice.

“A strong, progressive education system that acknowledges the beauty of difference in our kids and supports its people on the front line is what I demand from the next government, however it is made up.

by Miriam Pierard

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The List: What National has done to New Zealand education

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?

  1. Speak up. Talk about the issues with others – encourage them to think about what’s going on and what it means in the long run;  and most importantly,
  2. Vote.  VOTE.  Definitely vote. And encourage everyone you know to vote, as well.

Because three more years like this and the list above will look like child’s play.

~ Dianne

one person stands up and speaks out

Ravitch - public schools under attack

My submission to Stuff Nation, by Boonman

“They are developing policies not to benefit children but to benefit those who wish to invest heavily in a privatised education system.”

Since the current National government slipped through a policy on charter schools as part of their deal with John Banks and the ACT Party, the education system in New Zealand has started to resemble a chaotic mess.

This chaotic mess was started not to benefit New Zealand children but to open the education system up to wholesale privatisation. It has nothing to do with education children or improving standards or anything of that nature. These current education policies are drawn directly from Neoliberal Education Policy 101. They are utterly ideological and utterly doomed.

Their policies are full of contradictions. On the one hand the government say teacher quality is the single most important contributor to student success yet they are allowing unqualified and unregistered teachers to front classes in charter schools….”

A brilliant letter to the editor by Boonman.  Read the rest here: My submission to Stuff Nation.

via My submission to Stuff Nation.

Who’s misbehaving?

There are around 100,000 registered teachers in NZ. – of this maybe 10 have been in the much over hyped news. That’s one in 10000.

Parliamentarians on the other hand have been misbehaving at probably 500 times that level. On this basis the government has stolen our professional body [the Teachers Council] from us (would they also do this to the medical council or the law society!). Now they wish to replace it with a politically nominated body to control our registration and disputes. This becomes a vehicle for them to introduce politically driven policies which have nothing to do with professional standards.

misdirectionThey are removing our right to representation on our body as we see fit. They are denying natural justice by publishing names before ‘guilt’ or misconduct are established. Despite claims to raise the recognition of teachers as professionals, they wish to ignore our code of ethics and replace it with their own code of conduct (laughable given how they abuse their own one).

Please be aware that they are manipulating the media to make it look like there is a crisis in teacher standards.

Their agenda is to bring in performance pay and do away with our professional representation via the Teachers Council and the PPTA/NZEI etc. I have worked in the private sector where everything was performance driven and collegiality goes out the window as teachers hunker down in their own little cubicles jealously guarding their knowledge and skills. This is so detrimental to the strengths of education in New Zealand.

On top of this, teachers are still dealing with the debacle that is Novopay. As the minister whispers too complicated I hear cut conditions.

Charter Schools are still being introduced despite evidence showing they are a poor decision. Teacher standards for these schools have also been lowered.

As I hear the minister whisper Private Partnerships I see truckloads of tax money being poured into them and nothing from the private partners.

The $350m on offer for expert and lead teachers and principals is being foist upon us with the government expecting us to figure out how to make it work in a matter of weeks (unpaid consultative work I might add). There was no discussion on whether this was the best way to spend an asset sale windfall in education. Where the minister whispers raising standards I see performance pay and a whole new level of management structure being foist upon teachers who will be expected to do even more work for no more money.

The government needs to clean up its own act. Perhaps they would be willing to let teachers oversee parliamentary privileges and MPs’ code of conduct??

by Glenn Cassidy 

Background Research on Performance Pay

researchToday someone queried my assertion that there is a lot of research confirming the detrimental effects of performance pay.  The challenge seemed to be that volume of research does not equate to good research.  That’s a good point, and I think the person that made it is in a position to know it is true.

So, for anyone wanting to check out some of the research for themselves (which is always a good plan – you shouldn’t take my word or anyone else’s word for anything) here are some links to research and reports to start you off, along with some quotes to give you food for thought.

Eight brief points about “merit pay” for teachers, by Daniel Pinks

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Government proposal for education needs to be based on evidence, says The New Zealand Psychological Society (NZPsS)

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Credentials Versus Performance: Review of the Teacher Performance Pay Research, by Michael Podgursky, Department of Economics, University of Missouri–Columbia, and Matthew G. Springer, Department of Leadership Policy, and Organizations, Peabody College of Vanderbilt University (2007)

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We find that financial incentives may indeed reduce intrinsic motivation and diminish ethical or other reasons for complying with workplace social norms such as fairness. As a consequence, the provision of incentives can result in a negative impact on overall performance.”

London School of Economics 

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New York City abandons merit pay for teachers

“…in light of a study that found the bonuses had no positive effect on either student performance or teachers’ attitudes toward their jobs.”

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“We tested the most basic and foundational question related to performance incentives — “Does bonus pay alone improve student outcomes?” – and we found that it does not,” 

Matthew Springer, executive director of the National Center on Performance Incentives.

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Teacher performance pay alone does not raise student test scores

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Final Report: Experimental Evidence from the Project on Incentives in Teaching (POINT)

Rewarding teachers with bonus pay, in the absence of any other support programs, does not raise student test scores

National Center on Performance Incentives at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody

College of Education and Human Development in partnership with the RAND Corporation.

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Performance-Related Pay – Wikipedia:

Academic evidence has increasingly mounted indicating that performance related pay leads to the opposite of the desired outcomes when it is applied to any work involving cognitive rather than physical skill. Research[2] funded by the Federal Reserve Bank undertaken at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology  with input from professors from the University of Chicago and Carnegie Mellon University repeatedly demonstrated that as long as the tasks being undertaken are purely mechanical performance related pay works as expected. However once rudimentary cognitive skills are required it actually leads to poorer performance. These experiments have since been repeated by a range of economists…

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Pay-for-Performance (Federal Government) – Wikipedia

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Merit Pay – Wikipedia

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Dollars and Sense:

“…mixed findings underscore the challenge of designing a system of teachers’ compensation that rewards quality in a fair and equitable manner”

(Note this research deemed success to be raised test scores in maths and English, which raises the question of whether merit pay led to teaching to the test or whether things really improved for the students’ education as a whole)

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A Big Apple for Educators

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TEACHER INCENTIVES AND STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT: EVIDENCE FROM NEW YORK CITY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

“Financial incentives for teachers to increase student performance is an increasingly popular education policy around the world. This paper describes a school-based randomized trial in over two-hundred New York City public schools designed to better understand the impact of teacher incentives on student achievement. I find no evidence that teacher incentives increase student performance, attendance, or graduation, nor do I find any evidence that the incentives change student or teacher behavior. If anything, teacher incentives may decrease student achievement, especially in larger schools. The paper concludes with a speculative discussion of theories that may explain these stark results.”

Source

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Again, feel free to add links to other research in the comments below, so we can read, ponder and learn more.

Thanks, Dianne

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