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The ‘Better Funding’ Bus Tour

better-funding-bus-2

From Monday 10 October, three buses will set off on a Better Funding Bus Tour of more than 100 schools and ECE centres.

NZEI Te Riu Roa and the PPTA are launching an education bus tour in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch next week to raise awareness of the Government’s proposed radical reforms to school funding and the chronic underfunding of schools and early childhood services.

The bus tour aims to spread the Better Funding message to parents and whānau and the wider community, and educators will be talking to parents at drop-off and pick-up times about why children’s education needs more investment.

There will be Better Funding postcards to sign and send to Parliament, plus they’ll be asking the public to sign our Support Staff petition.

NZEI President, Louise Green explained:

“We are already seeing this with the Government’s freeze on the school operations grant, which funds support staff salaries and other general operating costs, and which has been frozen this year. Recent analysis of the 2016 operations grant shows that a majority of schools will be worse off when inflation is taken into account. 

“Meanwhile, bulk funding in Early Childhood Education has also been frozen for five years in real terms, with services now under huge financial pressure to cut qualified teachers and increase group sizes.

“The quality of our children’s education shouldn’t be put at further risk from underfunding and flawed funding models. We need to restore full funding for quality teaching in early childhood, and at least an inflation increase to the operations grant to ensure schools have enough money to cover basic running costs, and to pay and keep on support staff who are funded from this allocation. 

“No parent wants larger class sizes or fewer teachers for their kids. Our campaign is about valuing education and ensuring there is better funding to deliver the best education possible for New Zealand kids.”

This campaign is a great chance for families and wider communities to ask questions about what’s going on, so mosey on up and find out why educators are not at all happy with the Minister’s overall education policy and, in particular, the “Global Funding” plans.

Details of where the buses are going to be are here.

You can follow the campaign on Twitter at #betterfunding

Bad acronym, worse idea: online publicly funded private schools a disaster in the making – PPTA

PPTA logoThe Minister of Education’s announcement today that Communities of online learning (Cools) will be created to allow corporate entities to enter the education “market” is nothing but blatant privatisation, says the PPTA.

“Learning online is already here, ask any parent with children at school.” says PPTA President Angela Roberts, ‘What this does is open up a market for any provider to get public funding to offer online education, in competition with public schools.”

“Schools already have many ways of blending face-to-face with online learning. There will be no new opportunities created for our rangatahi with this change. The only benefit will be for business.”

“Coming at the same time that the funding review is proposing a standardised per-child amount being provided in a cash sum to schools, the proposal for ‘Cools’ sets up the possibility of student vouchers being used to fund private online schools.”

“There are two wildly incorrect assumptions that underpin this idea,” says Angela Roberts. “One is that online learning can substitute for face-to-face, and the other is that a more competitive market in education is going to lead to better results. Both of these fly in the face of all the evidence.”

“This policy would put New Zealand in the bracket of countries with the most free-market education systems in the world and similar to some US states. I don’t think this is what New Zealand parents want for their children.”

ENDS

Why ‘global funding’ isn’t a good thing

Today, Angela Roberts (PPTA) and Louise Green (NZEI) announced unprecedented joint action on Government funding proposals. The proposals are not welcome and are very much seen as a threat to the New Zealand education system – a threat that could lead to increased class sizes, less qualified teachers, fewer support staff and so it goes on.

Teachers, Support Staff, Principals and parents all need to be aware of what is being proposed and the impacts it could have. At the moment, few are being consulted with, and those that are ‘in the tent’ are under a gagging order, preventing them from telling the rest of us what is truly being proposed.

Here, Angela Roberts and Louise Green explain why they, as heads of the two NZ teachers’ unions, have taken the huge step of calling paid union meetings (PUM) for both unions together in order to look at the proposals:

The Paid Union Meetings will be held around the country between 5 and 16 September, starting with Auckland Town Hall on 5 September, Wellington’s Michael Fowler Centre on 6 September and Christchurch’s Horncastle Arena on 7 September.

Meetings will be held at either 9am or 1.30pm to minimise disruption to teaching programmes, children and parents.

Find more details on betterfunding.org.nz 

~ Dianne

Featured image courtesy of NZEI & PTTA.

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Educators join forces for better funding for learning

bulk funding nzei and ppta joint meme

PPTA and NZEI Joint Press Release

Educators from early childhood to secondary schooling are uniting to respond to the government’s latest funding proposal, saying it could result in fewer teachers and larger class sizes.

The government has also refused to explore any increase in funding for education.

PPTA and NZEI Te Riu Roa today announced they are holding combined meetings of their 60,000 members in September.  The meetings are to plan a response to the government’s “global funding” proposal, which is effectively a return to the failed bulk funding experiment of the 1990s.

The education unions have never before undertaken joint meetings of this scale, involving principals, teachers and support staff from ECE to secondary.
The government’s renewed attempt to propose bulk funding would mean all staffing and school operational funding would be delivered to schools on a per-student basis in the form of cash and “credits” for staffing.

This would mean parents on Boards would have to make trade offs between the number of teachers they employ and other non-teaching costs of running a school. This would incentivise:

  • Fewer teachers and larger class sizes
  • The loss of guaranteed minimum teacher staffing for specific year levels such as new entrants and senior secondary classes
  • Increased casualisation of teacher jobs which could undermine quality of teaching
  • Further downwards pressure on support staff hours and pay, which is already bulk funded through schools’ operational grants
  • Removal of the government’s responsibility for issues such as class size and curriculum breadth
  • Removal of certainty about increases in funding to keep up with cost increases or population growth.

bulk funding ppta

Early childhood education has languished under bulk funding for many years and most services have had to make cuts, hire fewer qualified teachers and increase fees to parents. Schools would face a similar threat.

NZEI Te Riu Roa President Louise Green and PPTA President Angela Roberts announced the nationwide Paid Union Meetings at a joint media conference at Wellington Girls’ High School today.

Ms Roberts said bulk funding was simply another back-door attempt to increase class sizes, which outraged parents when it was last attempted three years ago.

“This proposal would result in parents on school boards being forced to do the government’s dirty work the moment the budget gets squeezed. The complexities of juggling credits would also undermine the board focus on improving children’s learning,” she said.

Ms Green said early childhood education and support staff had suffered under a form of bulk funding for many years and to extend that across the sector would be disastrous.

“The past five years of a per-child funding freeze in ECE have forced many centres to compromise quality by reducing the number of qualified teachers. There is no reason to think bulk funding would work any differently in schools,” she said.

The Paid Union Meetings will be held around the country between 5 and 16 September, starting with Auckland Town Hall on 5 September, Wellington’s Michael Fowler Centre on 6 September and Christchurch’s Horncastle Arena on 7 September. 

Meetings will be held at either 9am or 1.30pm to minimise disruption to teaching programmes, children and parents.

Find more details on betterfunding.org.nz.

bulk funding nzei and ppta joint meme

 

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… 

“I love teaching, but…” Asking are the unions doing enough to fight poor reforms?

A teacher writes:

I love teaching, I love the spark in the eyes of the learners, I love to challenge myself and the kids to achieve the best they can.

I try supporting my colleagues as best as I can, I try hard to be the Teacher I wanted my kids to have. I am not perfect, but I extend myself, I learn, I try to take on board new ideas and new ways forward. I try hard to have an open mind.

I work in a supportive environment, with kind and wonderful people. I am not unhappy in my job.

I am saying that before I write the following because I want to make it clear I am not negative about education. I think there are amazing people out there, I think there is some, new and amazing stuff going on and I want to be a part of it, but…

This week I was at a union meeting again, and again I left angry and disappointed.

Not for myself, but for our students.

The real issues, are being swept under the mat.

The agreement we were presented with was toothless, there were some small steps, actually tiny steps.

The Rep was keen to point out the gains-the small victories, I feel the negotiating team no doubt had a hard job getting any sort of agreement in the current climate. The issue though is increasingly that we are presented with information and told to accept it, that there is no alternative.

ID-10067205.jpgBeing told that we would be ‘hauled back’ (words of the rep) to more meetings if we didn’t agree to the settlement – sounded like a threat. As did ‘we will lose the back pay if it is not passed immediately’.

To be honest, if their was an alternative-such as fighting for the rights of students, I would gladly give up the pay.

Being told the one day in 2017, was a bargaining chip for further improvements in terms of release time, will be no good to the increasing number of teachers suffering from physical symptoms of stress now. There is not another day in 2018. This is a stepping stone we were told to help further negotiation in the next round. I have a feeling, many of my colleagues in the room may have left the profession by then.

Where is the union’s responsibility to protect its members from undue stress and workload?

So when do we fight the real issues, the reduction of the Teachers in Early Childhood, measuring kids in core subjects before they have truly settled into school, setting unrealistic targets, manipulating funding to make it look like an increase, when in real terms it is a reduction.

Increasing the paper workload due to the nature of the changes and expectations, but not giving teachers time to do this.

Teachers who are so exhausted and stressed they are breaking down. How many high quality teachers will we lose as they burn out? How many have lost the passion they had?

I would gladly forgo pay increases to secure release time benefits for our Teachers and Senior Staff to protect their health.

I would again give back pay increases, to see clear provision of professional development that schools can afford in areas that they need, or that enhance expertise in areas beyond the ‘core’.
I would give back the small ‘gains’ we secured to see my colleagues able to cope again.

Sorry for the rant.

We need the Union to stand up for us and our students and be prepared to help us get the parents on side. It looks as if our union has lost its teeth.

Unions are so important; they need to represent and present, galvanise support and be prepared to go the distance.

The whole point of paid union meetings being in school time was to acknowledge that Teachers needed time to discuss issues in an open forum.

We now have these in our non contact time as a norm. We do not want to disrupt our pupils and their families, but our time is very precious too and it is time we use to support the learning of the students.

A meeting should be about discussion and a level presentation of the alternative to accepting the agreement, and a chance to validate how we are feeling.

I resent being stood over as I consider my vote and being asked for it before I was ready; there was an assumption that there was nothing to consider.

Teachers are too tired to fight, they can barely meet the demands of their jobs. In 10 years of teaching in New Zealand and after 27 years in the profession I love, I am seeing more newly qualified Teachers become disillusioned after a few years, and excellent high quality teachers considering their future in the profession.

Teacher Burnout is a huge issue. The union needs to study it, help us present evidence, and to assist the fight to stop it.

Sorry for the rant. Frustrated.”

What are your thoughts?

~ Dianne

Notes: Original post shared with the author’s permission; Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In reply to David Seymour’s question

 

Dear David Seymour,

in reply to the question in today’s Stuff article,  where you ask teachers whether they “want to be a member of an organisation that puts ideology ahead of kids”, I would like to be clear that I most definitely do not.  Which is why I’m not in the ACT Party.

Yours,

Dianne Khan, proud union member

 

Collaboration, competition and pitchforks

Another NZ Herald Editorial on education misses the mark. In a bid to explain why most of the money in the Communities of Learners scheme is going to high decile schools, the writer leans on the tired and weary trope “it’s the unions’ fault”.

The writer doesn’t seem to know the history of the Communities of Learners scheme, from its initial incarnation as Investing in Educational Success (IES) to what’s currently in place Communities of Learners (CoLs). Nor that CoLs came about after a long and hard road of teachers’ unions pushing to improve the original IES scheme, which was, in its first incarnation, really quite dreadful. And the article certainly has no real analysis of the widespread concerns with the policy (by any name).

So here, I’ll fill you in.

Pitchforks

Despite the tone of the editorial, teachers (and by extension, their unions) didn’t see the IES announcement and think “Oh yippee, I’ll dust off my pitchfork!” Instead, they looked carefully at the announcement, talked about it in great detail, asked a lot of questions, and found it seriously wanting.

So they did what any co-operative group would – they asked their unions to ask Ministry to go back to the table to make the policy more workable. Not so much mobs with pitchforks, more a hope for the education equivalent of a community farming co-op.

The Concerns

One of the biggest concerns about IES was the plan to pay a select few ‘super staff’ whilst adding to many people’s workloads and giving no extra funds for the students. It takes a team to improve things, and not recognising that was the first mistake. Teachers argued that the money for these select few jobs was over the top and, whilst a bonus for those taking leadership roles may be acceptable, the majority of the IES funding should be directed at the students rather than the staff.

That’s the other big problem educators had: the idea that a few super staff could turn everything around without a cent more for the students. No money for professional development or specialist programmes or teacher aides or therapists or equipment. Really?

Collaboration or Competition?

And what about this notion that IES aims to encourage schools to work together to improve educational standards?

The IES scheme as government proposed it expected schools to work together whilst simultaneously competing against each other. It’s somewhat counter-intuitive, is it not? But since most targets for schools centre around National Standards and NCEA pass rates, the scheme does indeed pose a competitive model. Add to that the fact that both National Standards and NCEA have very well known issues around reliability and parity, and we are opening the system up to all manner of problems.

A Seamless Education System

Another claim was that IES aimed to make students’ transitions through the education system smoother. An immediate question this posed was, why was Early Childhood Education (ECE) completely left out of the equation?

One the one hand, Ministry are extolling the benefits of preschoolers taking part in ECE, and on the other hand they are setting up IES without ECE. The message is contradictory – does ECE matter or not? Is it part of a child’s learning journey or not? Teachers believe it is – in which case any scheme aiming for smooth transitions through the education system and greater collaboration between education providers should include ECE.

So no, unions didn’t dust off their pitch forks for the fun of it. They did what their members asked them to do, which is to go back to Ministry and work to improve this faulty policy. Which, to the best of their abilities and against significant opposition from Ministry and the Minister of Education, they did. And we now have Communities of Learners.

The new incarnation isn’t perfect. It still rests on data that isn’t reliable and still pits schools against each other by comparing pass rates without considering the very many variables at play. But it’s better than it was, and that’s a start.

Trust and Collaboration: Setting the Example

Improvement takes collaboration. Improvement takes a shared purpose. Improvement takes honesty and trust. And while the Minister of Education and her Ministry are asking schools to do those things, they could do far better at leading by example. Perhaps if they had trusted educators and collaborated with them to form the IES in the first place, it could have been better, sooner.

There’s a lesson in there, somewhere, and if it’s heeded perhaps we can make Communities of Learners better still.

~ Dianne, SOSNZ

______________

Further reading/information:

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/education/news/article.cfm?c_id=35&objectid=11652326

Pitchfork and farmer image: Image courtesy of Simon Howden at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Charter school ‘pilot’ fooling no one – PPTA

charter-schools-look-before-you-leapAssurances that ACT’s charter school experiment was just a pilot have been proven false with this afternoon’s announcement of seven new charter schools.

PPTA president Angela Roberts was surprised a new round of charter schools were being opened when New Zealand tax payers had been promised the concept would be a trial.

With a poorly conducted evaluation of the existing schools lukewarm about their efficacy opening more did not make sense, she said.

“There are still a lot of questions to be answered.”

“We have been constantly reassured there would be just a handful of schools which would be robustly evaluated – both of those claims have been proved false,” she said.

“This is not a pilot, it is just a sop to the ACT party’s ideological commitment to favouring the private over the public sector.”

This was out of step with reality as illustrated by the disastrous Serco prison contracts and the closure of one of the first five charter schools, she said.

Current research shows our poorest schools are facing the deepest challenges in meeting their students’ needs.

“Public money should be going towards what evidence shows helps the most vulnerable, and that is professional support for their health and welfare needs and economic and social wellbeing,” she said.

Enabling schools to be hubs where students can connect with nurses, mental health and welfare support would have a much bigger impact than wasting money on an unproven experiment.

“The funds should be reprioritised to the state sector where they will have the greatest impact on the greatest number of students,” she said.

Should NZEI and PPTA amalgamate?

UK teachers’ unions, the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) are looking at merging to become a united force.

NUT and ATL are not the only teaching unions in the UK, so a merger would not mean all teachers and lecturers were in one single union. It wouldn’t mean one united force for all teachers.  But it would bring together the NUT’s 330,000 members and the ATL’s 124,000 members to create a far bigger force of almost half a million teachers and lecturers.

Should NZ teachers’ unions consider the same thing?

NZEI and PPTA

merger1In New Zealand, the NZEI has around 50,000 members, whilst PPTA has well over 17,000 members. Joining forces would make one super-union of around 67,000 members – not on the scale of the proposed merger of the NUT and ATL, but significant none-the-less. But is it needed and is it wanted?

NZEI and PPTA often follow the same or similar paths and policies but not always. For example, PPTA refused to put forward candidates for the then soon-to-be-formed Education Council, preferring not to engage at all with what they deemed to be a flawed situation, while NZEI opted to put forward candidates on the basis that if the formation of the Education Council was a fait accompli then they may as well be part of shaping it. Both paths have merit, and I don’t intend to debate them here, offering them only as an example of where the unions have gone down different paths and to ask whether one united voice in an amalgamated NZ teachers’ union is even possible.

Disagreement and Democracy

Disagreement between members is no barrier to a good, democratic, working union. Indeed, it’s exactly as one would expect in a democratic institution where everyone has a voice. There are already diverse views within each union, and that’s a positive thing. Both NZEI and PPTA are excellent at canvassing their members and making decisions through democratic representation so that the majority voice is represented.  So disagreement per se is not a barrier to a merger.

Barriers

So if amalgamation would give a united front, and all members would still have a voice, why not merge NZEI and PPTA?   One thing to consider is that perhaps amalgamation would be a negative thing:

Maybe it’s beneficial to have two distinct sets of representation at the table when changes are being proposed, irrespective of whether those views are different or the same? When there are not many organisations consulted, perhaps two sets of school representation is better than one?

It’s also worth considering whether amalgamation would dilute the strong focus each union currently has on a particular sector, to the detriment of both? Is bigger necessarily better?

For any number of reasons, it may not be what each union’s members want – and if there is no interest from members, then that’s that.

Consideration

One would hope, given the sustained attack new Zealand’s public education system from ECE to High School is under, the pros and cons of a merger to create a stronger unified voice would be given serious consideration.

I’m interested to hear your thoughts.

~ Dianne

Note: These views are entirely my own and do not necessarily represent those of the NZEI, of which I am a member and a branch secretary. I have not consulted with PPTA or NZEI or any other union or body before writing this, merely offering my ponderings as sparked by the news of a proposed merger of UK unions.

You and your union… my thinks

danger educated union member.jpgHello all. Happy 2016, and sorry I’ve been somewhat absent, but amusing a 6 year old banshee full time is (as most of you know) not for the faint hearted, and so I’ve been somewhat distracted.

I was hoping to have another few days before I burst into action. I even avoided posting about the charter school shenanigans from last week. Perhaps I’ll reflect on that one later. For now, I want to share with you some thought on our unions…

I’ve seen a few people over the years saying they don’t know what they pay their union fees for, what’s the point joining, and so on.  I saw another such comment this week, and it got me thinking that people really must not be aware of how bad things were before unions. Do people truly not know what huge benefit they are to workers? Perhaps not.

I guess if one has never worked in a non-unionised profession and seen the difference, it’s easy to take what benefit they bring for granted.

So, for those not in the know, here are just a few of the benefits of being in a union:

Wages: Your union works hard to get and maintain decent pay for us. If you think we are underpaid now, just look at the information on wages for non-unionised workers, for example…

union membership and wages huff post

 

PD: Your union provides professional development year-round. Did you know you can apply to your local branch to go on any of the union’s courses and the chances are they’ll be able to fund it for you or contribute? Coming up soon are the Pasifika Fono, the New Educators Network hui, to name but two great events. And there are all these ones. Go on – take advantage of this free and fabulous union PD.

Information: Your union keeps up to date with all of the changes and proposals relating to education and shares that information with you via branches, emails, press releases, social media, and meetings. Read the emails, check your branch’s Facebook page, go to meetings – make use of what is there. Because although the union does all this, you still have to make the effort to read it and be involved. It’s worth it.

ACET: This was hard fought for by NZEI, so that expert teachers would not have to take up management positions if they wanted to earn more but could stay in the classroom and teach. Members wanted it, the union got it. And it was achieved through hard bargaining.

Release time: This is another thing that was fought for and won. There was a time when there was no release time. That time could easily come again if the unions become weakened.

Legal help: If you need legal help, your union is there, whether the problem’s large or small. And all for FREE.

Advice: The unions’ helplines are there to help with all work-related queries. They are free and only one call away.

Death Benefit: When an NZEI union member dies, the family gets a lump sum from the union. Other unions may also do this – it’s worth checking.

Annual Conference: Amazing speakers, brilliant networking, loads of professional development and sharing, and all paid for by the union. Flights, mileage, accommodation and food. Again, ask your local branch if you want to go. Last year was my first one and it was well worth going.

I get that there are frustrations – I’ve had my own gripes – but here’s the thing; the union is only as good as its members. If something’s not working for you, tell them.

If we want the union to be strong, we must add our own strengths to it. In much the same way that teachers cannot tip information into a student’s head and make them learn, the union cannot help a member who doesn’t participate.

Or, to butcher an idiom, they can lead us horses to water and even ensure it’s drinkable, but we still have to tilt our own heads down and slurp.

Read the emails, go to meetings, pick up the pamphlets on the staff room coffee table.

Take part.

Trust me, it is worth it.

NZ Union websites:

NZEI: http://www.nzei.org.nz/

PPTA: http://ppta.org.nz/

TEU: http://teu.ac.nz/

E tū: http://www.etu.nz/

 

 

 

Primary job shortages not mirrored in secondary – PPTA

PPTA logoA survey from March 2015 shows that secondary schools are finding it difficult to recruit teachers for many positions.

“The experience in secondary schools is very different from that in primary with regards to recruitment of teachers”, PPTA President Angela Roberts said.

“While many teachers in the primary sector are finding it difficult to get secure jobs, in secondary schools the number of job ads has been climbing in recent years, and it is increasingly hard to recruit teachers in the sciences, maths, technology and Te Reo Maori,” she said.

A 2014 Ministry of Education report on teacher supply noted 47% of secondary teaching jobs were re-advertised, while the figure in primary is 22%. This was an increase from 2013.

The PPTA survey also showed the proportion of teachers leaving to non-teaching jobs has been increasing in recent years.

“As teachers’ salaries have been growing at a rate slower than inflation and significantly slower than many other professions, it’s understandable that other career options look more attractive,” Roberts said.

“Secondary teachers often have qualifications and skills that are readily transferable to other areas of the workforce. It’s a real shame to be losing teachers from the profession in these crucial subjects.”

Secondary schools also report a growing trend of employing teachers in areas other than their specialist subject, and one in nine schools surveyed had to cancel classes or use distance learning to deliver a subject because a suitable teacher could not be found.

“Students at secondary schools need to be able to access specialist teachers in a wide range of subjects to enable them to prepare for life as confident, capable and productive citizens,” Roberts said. “Ensuring that teaching is an attractive career and that we recruit and retain teachers in all areas, should be a number one priority for the government,” she said.

Massive surplus for cash cow charter – PPTA

PPTA logoWhangarei charter school has banked an operating surplus of more than $2.4million, thanks to funding well above the amount regular schools receive.

Audited financial accounts released to the charities commission show the He Puna Marama trust, which opened a charter school last year received $3,897,323 in government funding to the end of 2014.

Just $1,464,093 of this has been spent on setting up and running the school, which last year was funded for 50 students and six teachers.

PPTA president Angela Roberts was disturbed to see such a surplus when there didn’t seem to be a spare penny to spend on other schools in the area as their buildings rotted around them.

“It must be wearying for the rest of the Whangarei community to see all this surplus when other local schools are falling down,” she said.

While the trust was given $1.8 million as an establishment payment towards the end of 2013 to begin operations, only $123,000 of this was spent. In 2014 the trust received $2 million for property, staffing and operations, and just $1,355,782 was spent.

The salaries for six teaching staff came to $622,740, contributing to a drain of teachers from surrounding schools.

“I am aware state schools are losing valuable staff – they can’t possibly compete with that type of money,” Roberts said.

This is the same charter school that came under fire earlier this year for the purchase of a $100,000 waka. At the time the school leadership hit back at critics saying that other schools simply ‘need better accountants’ if they cannot afford to buy such things.

The audited annual accounts of He Puna Marama are available from the Charities Commission register or by emailing akirtlan@ppta.org.nz

Secret NZ trade deal would harm education

top secretA leaked document shows New Zealand has joined a small group  of countries pushing for education to be included in a secret  trade deal, the Trade In Service Agreement (TISA).

Teachers and education academics say that including education in the deal would be bad for teaching and learning.

“The proposed deal would restrict future governments’ rights to regulate the quality and provision of education and protect unique aspects of New Zealand’s education system,” said Tertiary Education Union (TEU) President Sandra Grey.

NZEI National Secretary Paul Goulter said this could result in foreign corporations suing any government that sought to legislate against the expansion of charter schools or to improve the quality of private early childhood education services.”

The deal could lead to further commercialisation and privatisation of education, with negative impacts on the equity and quality of education available to Kiwi students.

The TISA agreement would allow for easier access for multi-national private sector trading in services such as banking and healthcare.

Education unions NZEI, PPTA and TEU say the New Zealand government should withdraw its support for the proposal and instead back countries with high performing education systems – including the EU, Japan, Korea and Taiwan – in opposing the inclusion of education in TISA.

“The Novopay fiasco should be sufficient proof that privatisation of the education system is not the way to go,” said PPTA President Angela Roberts.

“But Novopay only affected teachers and support staff.  The kind of  marketisation TISA would open up would be extremely harmful for students’ education.”

Angela Roberts said examples of the impact of including education in TISA would be restrictions on the government purchasing local publications in favour of cheaper standardised foreign publications.

Background information on TISA

Leaked document

For more information or sector-specific comment :

Tertiary Education Union National President Sandra Grey 021 44 176 or 04 801 5098

PPTA President Angela Roberts 04 913 4227 or 021 806 337

NZEI Te Riu Roa National President Paul Goulter, 027 208 1087

– END

Further reading:

https://wikileaks.org/tisa-financial/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trade_in_Services_Agreement

Hey Teachers – Join Your Union

Labour UnionsThere are so many issues facing educators in New Zealand right now, from the swift privatisation of ECE to the increased working hours and everything in between.

Here are just some of the things causing concern across the sector:

  • Performance pay looming
  • Contract issues such as over-use and misuse of fixed term contracts
  • Unqualified teachers
  • National Standards/NCEA robustness
  • Working hours
  • Increased paperwork and admin tasks
  • EDUCANZ
  • Privatisation of the education sector
  • IES/Better Plan
  • Support for special educational needs
  • School funding
  • Socio-economic inequities

The list goes on.

Join Your Union
Being in the union starts as low as $2.29 per fortnight, and those on temporary leave from the sector for whatever reason can take our honourary membership at a lower cost still.

Click for details about joining NZEI and joining PPTA..

Independent School staff can join ISEA

 
 
Collective Benefits

Our unions are working on these issues constantly. It is worth being in the union to support that work and to have a voice in the union’s stance.

Personal Benefits

don't panic organiseBeing a union member gives you help when you need it most, whether that’s advice on your contract, help dealing with a work dispute, access to a lawyer for personal issues, ongoing professional development, or professional networks.

PPTA also has the membership assistance fund, which offers loans to help those who are in need of short-term financial help.

In many ways, union membership is like insurance – you don’t realise how valuable it is until you need it and it isn’t there.

Together we are stronger.

Please pass this info to new teachers or anyone who may not yet be a member.

~ Dianne

NOTE: This post was not paid for or sponsored or prompted by any union.

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