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Teacher Education Refresh – Education Council is asking for feedback

we are listeningHurrah! SOSNZ’s investigation into the Teacher Education Refresh (TER) programme has got the attention of the Education Council, and Lesley Hoskin (Deputy Chief Executive of the Education Council) has assured me that they are looking into things urgently.

When I spoke with her,  Lesley was very clear that concerns are being taken seriously and that EC is now aware that there are big issues. She said that EC will start by looking into requirements for itinerant teachers and relievers to undertake the TER programme, and will widen the net to look at the criteria in its entirety so that is can be applied fairly, reasonably and with flexibility.

It’s great that they listened, and great that PPTA and NZEI backed up the concerns we raised, but in order for improvements to be made, Education Council need your feedback.

That’s right, it’s over to you.

SEND FEEDBACK

If you have done the TER, please send your comments to  feedback@educationcouncil.org.nz  or use the online form here EC needs to know the positives and negatives, in particular regarding the criteria for having to do the course.

If you have not done the course but have concerns, you can also send feedback. Please make it as specific as possible so that the issues are clear. Email:  feedback@educationcouncil.org.nz or use the online form.

I am, of course, happy to receive your feedback re the TER and pass it on to EC for you (anonymously if needs be) but in order to get specific situations reassessed EC will need your full name and registration number, so please bear that in mind.

GETTING AN ASSESSMENT

If you want to have your own situation assessed to see whether you have to do the TER course or not, also email feedback@educationcouncil.org.nz or use the online form.

When asking for an assessment, make sure you give them your full name and teacher registration number so they can access your files and get all of your details. This is the only way to get an accurate answer.

If you want to email Lesley Hoskin direct, she is happy for you to do that. You can contact her at: lesley.hoskin@educationcouncil.org,nz

Lesley informs the that Education Council typically responds to email within 48 hours. If you don’t get a reply in that time frame, check your email spam box, and if there’s nothing hiding in there please call the Education Council and follow it up.

EFFECTING CHANGE

We’ve now got the Education Council in agreement that the course requirements are not as they should be; to get things changed, you have to let those with the power to change things know what your concerns are.

You know the drill by now: email feedback@educationcouncil.org.nz or use the online form

Over to you.

~ Dianne Khan, SOSNZ

 

 

 

Teacher Refresher Course Confusing & Exasperating

EC 2

Alerted to concerns, I met with a teachers as they completed the Education Council’s Teacher Refresher Course to get a sense of what they thought of the course and the need to undertake it. What I heard was unexpected and alarming.

The Cost

$4,000. Four Thousand Dollars. That’s how much the 12-week refresher course costs. And that’s just for the course. I expected people to raise concerns about that – I’d already had a few on social media – but there were issues I’d not yet considered.

Yes the course is expensive, they said – but why?  Compare it with the cost for the full one year graduate teaching programme – it doesn’t stack up, they said. So I did some research:

All of which begs the question, why it is $4,000 for a 12-week course?

It surprised me, too, to hear that attendees could not apply for student loans to pay for the course.  Teachers spoke of putting the cost on credit cards or using bank loans, and of overdraft bills being racked up as costs mounted.

They also pointed out that in addition to the course cost, they’d lost a term’s wages, often had to pay for accommodation, had travel costs (many people were from out of town) and had had to pay for childcare (especially those from out of town). Suddenly the actual costs were far in excess of $4k… For a twelve week course.

All of which, many noted, might be just about bearable if you felt the course was necessary…

Itinerant Teachers

One teacher explained that he is an itinerant music teacher. He does no classroom teaching at all, working only one-to-one or one-to-two teaching musical instruments in a number of schools across a large geographical area. The schools he goes to, he says, are very happy with his work – indeed he’s been doing this for well over a decade and everyone was just dandy with the set up – the teacher himself, the schools, the students and the Teachers Council. Then came the Education Council (EC).

Suddenly, this teacher was told he must do the Teacher Refresher Course if he wanted to continue working in schools.  “Why?” he asked. He explained to EC that he knows of many itinerant music teachers who are not even qualified teachers, and they were allowed to carry on teaching – so why couldn’t he?  He was informed that because he had at one time been a fully qualified teacher, he couldn’t do as the other itinerant teachers and work under a Limited Authority to Teach (LAT), but had to regain his fully registered teacher status. Which means, in a nutshell, he is being punished for having once trained as a teacher!

It makes no sense. If other itinerant music teachers can be unqualified teachers and work under an LAT as specialists, then why can’t he?

This teacher doesn’t want to be a full time teacher or a classroom teacher of any sort. He doesn’t want to take relieving work. He has no wish to do any teaching other than the one-to-one or one-to-two itinerant music teaching he has done for well over a decade. Like his itinerant music teacher colleagues do.

So he has undertaken the Teacher Refresher Course to allow him to carry on earning his living – a course that was focused around classroom teaching, National Standards, paperwork requirements and so on – none of which applies at all to the job he does.

How does the Education Council justify that?

Relief Teachers

Still reeling from the mind-boggling bureaucratic nightmare of the music teacher’s story, I was approached by a teacher who wanted to speak about their situations as a reliever.

This teacher said she has no wish to be employed as a full- or part-time classroom teacher on a contract, content with working as a relief teacher. She explained she is much in demand, has regular schools that she’d worked with for years, and is up to date with changes in the sector such as National Standards. She’d been teaching for decades.

Prior to the change from Teachers Council to Education Council, she had been able to continue relieving year on year with no problems, but with the Education Council, everything changed. Now, she was told, if she wanted to carry on relieving, she must do the Teacher Refresher Course. No ifs or buts.

So she, like the music teacher, had done the course only to find it focused on things that really had little to no bearing on her work as a reliever. “It’s not as if I’ve learned anything I need,” she said, frustrated that she’d been made to jump through hoops only because of what seems to be a lack of flexibility in the Education Council’s rules.

Inconsistent Information

What interested me with the above scenario was how the information she’d been given compared to the information I’d been given not weeks before by two representatives from the Education Council…

I was informed face-to-face in a room full of senior teachers and principals that I wouldn’t have to do the Refresher Course if I was going to continue “only relieving”. The EC staff were very clear that the Refresher Course was necessary only if I wanted to go back to an actual classroom teaching contract. I could carry on with my Subject To Confirmation status and still be a reliever. Yet this teacher had been told something entirely different and was now thousands of dollars in debt…  So which information is right?

Teachers with Medical Issues

Just when I thought I’d heard it all – and I can tell you, my head was reeling by this point – I was approached by this lady…

She has been teaching for decades, too. She sustained a head injury towards the end of her teacher training and as a result has never been able to work full time. This means she never completed the two year induction for new teachers. As a result, the Education Council informed her she must undertake the Refresher Course and become a fully registered teacher to continue teaching in any capacity.

This woman has a brain injury. She can only ever work part time. She can only ever work at the most as a reliever.  She is, she explained, unable to sustain what is needed to work as a contracted classroom teacher responsible for planning, testing, report writing and so on. She knows this, her schools know this, and all is well; She is a good reliever, with a number of regular schools that she’s worked for for years.

The Teachers Council would, at re-registration time, receive a doctor’s note explaining her condition and information from the schools she works with, and they would accept that she is a fully competent teacher in the role as part-time reliever. Teachers Council would re-register her. No problem. The Education Council, however, insisted on her undertaking the Refresher Course.

The course had been an enormous strain on her. It is full time, with in-class placements overlapping with research, essays and presentations in what is a busy twelve weeks for even an entirely well person. For someone with a brain injury, it was incredibly hard work. And yet, she was faced with either soldiering on at a potential cost to her health or not doing the course and losing her means of income.

Telling me the whole sorry tale, she looked tired, sounded exasperated, and had an air of defeat. “I don’t understand the reasoning,” she said. No, nor do I.

Competency

Everyone I spoke to accepted that teachers who never completed their two years as provisionally registered teachers would need a refresher course, having not had time to put their knowledge into practice and grow as a teacher after first qualifying. The course attendees I spoke to that were in those circumstances said the course had been beneficial and their only concern was the financial cost.

But those teachers who had no intention of being classroom teachers ever again and who usually had years (often decades) of classroom teaching experience felt the Education Council needed to look again at both the criteria for doing the course and the course’s content.

If itinerant and relief teachers are being forced to do it, then the course needs to reflect their roles and their needs. If competency is the issue, then the course must address their competency in the roles they undertake. At the moment, in many cases, it doesn’t – making the whole affair a very expensive and extremely frustrating farce.

~ Dianne

27/7/16 – EDITED TO INCLUDE LINK TO ARTICLE RE EDUCATION COUNCIL WANTING FEEDBACK:

Further Reading

Details of courses and requirements: https://educationcouncil.org.nz/content/teacher-education-refresh-ter-programme

Itinerant music programme losing teachers due to Education Council requirements:  http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/81854579/itinerant-music-programme-losing-teachers-due-to-education-council-requirements

https://saveourschoolsnz.com/2016/07/27/ter-education-council-is-asking-for-feedback/

Are teachers’ freedoms under attack?

warning red flagThe new Education Council has set out its agenda, and two things in particular are raising red flags.

Ethics or Conduct?

The Education Council also plans to develop a Code of Conduct for teachers that outlines expectations for teacher behaviour.

  • Will the code infringe on teachers’ rights as citizens to freedom of speech?
  • Is the Code of Conduct aimed at gagging teachers?

No Complaint Investigations

The Education Council can act on concerns about a teacher without receiving a complaint.

Education Council can “[a]ct on concerns about teacher conduct without relying on a third party complaint.” 

  • Ask yourself, if there has been no complaint, what – or who – has prompted the investigation?
  • Will there be a clear paper trail showing who instigated the investigation process, explaining clearly why it is taking place?
  • Does this have the potential to be used for (political?) bullying?

Is the Education Council free to truly work for education and does it fairly represent teachers, or is there undue political influence?

One to keep a close eye on.

——

Further reading:

http://www.childforum.com/blogs/1309-four-big-changes-to-teacher-registration-and-misconduct.html

http://www.educationcouncil.org.nz/

Education Council makes a sterling start. #Tui

Education Council - not off to a good start

Oh dear. The Education Council’s promise to deal with the hard issues like tightening security around teacher registration appears to have given way to bashing teachers about their IT competence.

As PPTA noted in its piece, Education Council and the deficit model of teachers: “On cue, the organisation that is supposed to be about teachers lets the government off the hook for the digital divide and ends up blaming schools and teachers for unpreparedness around ICT.”

Indeed.

Rather than pointing out that some teachers know more than others about IT, and that some schools have better equipment than others, Teachers Council might better use its energy to push for fully-funded, good  quality professional development undertaken in teachers’ normal work hours.

Or are we again expected to find the money and time ourselves? Should we do the tech stuff before or after the additional maths studying NZI wants from us?  Before or after all the sports and cultural activities teachers support unpaid?

Teachers don’t want the Education Council to spend its time pointing out the obvious – that there are differences in knowledge and application of skills.  We want practical solutions and support.

I know the Education Council is starting on the back-foot. Many teachers feel it was imposed on them and that it doesn’t represent them. So it has work to do to get people onside, and this is not a great start.

Neither was it a great start when Education Council sent a snarky Tweet  pointing out a spelling error I’d made and completely ignored the actual issue I had raised. This is worrying. Members of the Education Council themselves send Tweets with errors in – it happens, get over it. A wise educator would ignore the typo and focus on the points being debated.

What a very poor example to set.

Round of applause, Education Council – what a sterling start.

____________

Sources and further reading

http://www.3news.co.nz/nznews/tech-in-classrooms-prompts-teacher-training-2015070416#axzz3fFKA2IHl

http://www.ppta.org.nz/resources/ppta-blog/education-council-and-the-deficit-model-of-teachers

Sad day for teaching and learning as Minister handpicks new teaching council

nzei logoNZEI says there has been a lack of regard for democracy and for the teaching profession over the way the new EDUCANZ Council has been handpicked.

“Only one person on the new body replacing the NZ Teachers Council has been democratically elected by the profession through an electoral process run by NZEI,” says President Louise Green.

“This is a sad day for the teaching profession. A democratically elected council has been replaced by a group hand-picked by the Minister.

“How can teachers have any faith in a council that has been chosen entirely by the Minister and not by their own representatives?

“Despite the Minister’s claims, EDUCANZ is not independent and does not represent teachers or the teaching profession. Instead it will be seen by teachers as another vehicle set up by the Government to exert control over the teaching profession.”

– END

The Second List of What This Government Has Done To Education

The first list of what National has done to education was lonnnng. Very long. And scary. Verrrrrry scary, You get my drift.  But since it was published a year ago, there have been new horrors, many of which prove all the more interesting when you consider the $$$ involved:

  • Education Amendment Bill (2) was passed that brings down the Teachers Council and replaces it with EDUCANZ, where none of the members are voted in by teachers. Not one. On our own professional body.
  • IES is implemented at the huge cost of $359 Million and has minimal uptake. What uptake there has been is largely from high decile schools.
  • One of the first 5 charter schools is failing abysmally, and the report confirming that was mysteriously held back until after the election – cost, a couple of million.
  • Hekia implies she is considering performance pay for teachers, then fudges and backtracks and fudges some more.

Add to those ….

  • The Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill failed its first reading, meaning more unhealthy homes, voted down by National and ACT (60-60).

… and a picture is painted of a government concerned not a jot with the poorest or most needy in our society. What a sad indictment.

~ Dianne

Teachers Council v. EDUCANZ – spot the difference

As a past elected member of the New Zealand Teachers Council I find myself profoundly offended by the Ministry of Education’s advertisement for EDUCANZ in today’s Dominion Post, headed up “We’re making changes to education so all Kiwi kids can fly. Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand.

NO respect for teachersWhy is it in today’s political climate, that any new initiative has to be accompanied by denigration of the previous, as if the previous policy was so flawed and so led by misguided and insincere people that it had no value at all?

The Teachers Council was a replacement body for the Teacher Registration Board which had been an effective organisation but one with limited powers. The Board, Director and staff of the Teacher Registration Board were wholly in favour of the new Teachers Council with its broader powers and focus on promoting the professional status of teachers.

Yes, the NZ Teachers Council had a rocky start. The first Chair was driven from her post by unfounded and politically biased accusations – she was later cleared but it was too late by then. This led to the appointment of a director who, while a good person in many ways, was not really up to the task.

This all changed with the appointment of a number of truly effective chairs and of Peter Lind as Director. Over time this hard work gained acceptance of the Council across the profession – even (remarkably) in the university teacher education faculties. What a fantastic effort to make something as bureaucratic as registration accepted by teachers! Now for pathetic political reasons, all that hard, dedicated work by Peter, all of his staff and a whole swag of Council members and chairs has been discarded, marginalised and treated as worthless.

The Ministry of Education has a website page listing the differences between the Council and EDUCANZ. (See also this version on the EDUCANZ website.) Their view is that key to this is the status of EDUCANZ as an independent statutory body rather than an Autonomous Crown Entity. Apparently this means that the Minister can select members to create a skills-balanced organisation rather than relying on the vagaries of the electoral process – so much for democracy. And of course the Minister appoints all members of the Council – that makes for real independence.

At least five candidates from this nomination process will be appointed by the Minister, with the balance being selected by the Minister.

EDUCANZ Transition

The goals of the new organisation are listed. It’s worth looking back at the goals of the Teachers Council and trying to spot the difference.

This is a sham, a total sham. I am really pissed off!!

~ Ken Wilson

 

Nominations open for new education profession body

Government Press Release:

control pulling the stringsEducation Minister Hekia Parata today announced that nominations are now open for the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand (EDUCANZ).

EDUCANZ is the new independent professional body that will replace the New Zealand Teachers Council later this year.

“EDUCANZ is a quantum step for the New Zealand education profession. It will act in the interests of teachers, principals and educators across the education system from early childhood through to senior secondary,” says Ms Parata.

The new council will be charged with continuously raising the quality of the profession from initial teacher education to ever-increasing expertise on clearly defined career pathways, ensuring the highest standards of professional conduct and safety of students, advocacy for professional learning and development of the profession, and partnering in education research and policy.

“Nominations are encouraged from anyone with a strong interest in the development and strengthening of the education profession. All appointments will be on the basis of skills, experience and knowledge.

“Members will act in the interests of the education profession as a whole, rather than any one sector group.

“It’s an exciting time to be involved in education. Student achievement continues to rise and the Investing in Educational Success initiative signals a new era of collaboration in raising the quality of teaching and leadership from early childhood to senior secondary.

“I am confident the nominations process for EDUCANZ will attract huge interest and a high calibre of nominees.”

The EDUCANZ governing council will have nine members, at least five of whom must be registered teachers with current practising certificates. One of the nine will be appointed chair of the council.

Nominations close on 26 March. An 0800 number (0800 EDUCANZ) has been set up for those without internet access who wish to get involved or find out more.

PPTA and NZEI must stand shoulder to shoulder steadfast against EDUCANZ

Stand UnitedThe Education Amendment Bill (2) has passed meaning the dissolution of the New Zealand Teachers Council this year to be replaced by EDUCANZ, a body that will be entirely made up of members hand-picked by the Minister of Education, Hekia Parata.

This is not democracy.

Currently, teachers get to vote on their representation on the Teachers Council: That will be over.

Currently, teachers register every three years: It will become an annual registration, all paid for by teachers.

Currently, teachers are bound by a Code of Ethics: This is to be placed by a Code of Conduct written by the hand-picked members of EDUCANZ, and is likely to attempt to gag teachers from speaking out against education reforms they consider damaging to children and the education system as a whole.

Be under no illusion, this is a full frontal assault on educators.

We Must Stand United

This assault must be met head on by a united PPTA and NZEI. They must stand shoulder to shoulder saying no. There must be no wavering; this is a time for solidarity of purpose.

The New Zealand School Trustees Association should support teachers in this action and be staunch in doing so.

Whether the New Zealand Principals Federation (NZPF) or Secondary Principals’ Association of New Zealand will stand shoulder to shoulder, too, is debatable. I would hope they would show the courage.

Standing up to the changes this Bill imposes is no small feat and would not be undertaken lightly. But there comes a time when every one of us must say enough, and this is that time.

We must be united.

PPTA and NZEI, we are looking to you for leadership, guidance and strength.

~ Dianne

See also: https://saveourschoolsnz.com/2015/02/11/education-amendment-bill-2-passed-news-round-up/

Education Amendment Bill 2 passed – News Round Up

EDUCANT

Yesterday, with the passing of the above Bill, another blow hit New Zealand education.  The Bill passed 61:59 with National, ACT and United Future voting it through.

The Bill gets rid of the Teachers Council and replaces it with EDUCANZ, a new professional body for the teaching profession. The problem here is that EDUCANZ cannot and will not represent teachers: Clause 1 of Schedule 22 in the bill outlines that the nine members of EDUCANZ will all be appointed by the Minister of Education. Not one member of EDUCANZ will be democratically chosen by teachers. Not one.

Even the EDUCANZ transition board, put in place well before the Bill was even passed, was chosen by the Minister of Education. And, you guessed it, “[a]t least five candidates from this nomination process will be appointed by the Minister, with the balance being selected by the Minister.”

Compare that to the Teachers Council, which “has 11 members, with four members directly appointed by the Minister of Education, three members appointed by the Minister following nomination by NZEI, NZSTA (School Trustees Association), PPTA and four members elected by the sector.’

The Bill also shrinks universities and wananga councils and removes the necessity for student representation on those council. These changes were rigorously argued against by well over a thousand submissions to the Education Select Committee. The submissions were, like last time, ignored.

Are you spotting a  pattern here, of reduced representation? Of increased government control?

If you’re not convinced of that control thing, you may wish to consider that EDUCANZ will be writing a new Code of Conduct for teachers. That’s right, the Code of Conduct will be written by people entirely chosen by the Minister. Prepare to be gagged.

Reactions to the Bill Passing

The PPTA and NZEI both expressed their concerns over the EDUCANZ model.

Chris Hipkins spoke of a “string of bad decisions by the minister which have led to disastrous changes to the education sector” and called the move “the final nail in the coffin for teachers wanting representation on their own professional body”.

Sandra Grey, Tertiary Education Union national president, said the union will campaign at each NZ university and wānanga for their council to set aside one-third of council seats for democratically elected staff and student representatives.

In fact, the only people speaking in favour of the Bill, were Hekia Parata, Stephen Joyce and co.

Ask yourself why.

~ Dianne

Sources and further reading:

I’d love to tell you what was reported in The New Zealand Herald, but they ignored the event completely. Of course.

Education Amendment Bill passes Parliament – Dominion Post

CONTROVERSIAL EDUCATION AMENDMENT BILL PASSES ITS THIRD READING – Education Review

Is this Government really “backing our teaching profession to win”?

Politicians arguing for and against the Education Amendment Bill (2) at the third reading on 10.2.15

Government moves to sideline teachers’ voice – NZEI Press Release

nzei logoThe Government has once again shown its disregard for the teaching profession by pushing through legislation removing democratically elected teachers from their own professional body.

The Education Amendment Bill, which had its 3rd reading in the House last night, replaces the Teachers Council with a new body, EDUCANZ and removes the right of teachers to vote for representation on the new board.  Instead, the Minister of Education will appoint all members.

NZEI National President Louise Green says that this is another attempt to reduce the influence that teachers have on decisions affecting their daily practice.

She says teachers have particular concerns around the introduction of a Code of Conduct which could effectively gag their ability to speak out and advocate for children.

“This is not about improving education for children, this is about trying to remove the professional voice from teaching.

Louise Green says that despite this latest move, teachers will continue to speak out against policies that undermine our public education system.

“Teachers are not state servants, we are public servants.  We have commitments to learners, families and society under our Code of Ethics.  This means we have a responsibility to advocate for the right of all children to have a great education.

“Parents need to ask why the Government is targeting the teaching profession in a way that it wouldn’t dare target doctors, accountants or lawyers.”

Battle lines drawn over EDUCANZ – PPTA Press Release

PPTA logoPPTA members will not stand by idly while democracy is stripped from the teachers council, says president Angela Roberts.

Last year the association’s annual conference voted to empower PPTA’s executive to develop a range of responses to the Education Amendment Bill (no.2) which aims to replace the New Zealand Teachers Council with a government appointed body.

These included giving PPTA’s executive the power to determine the extent to which the association would co-operate with the new body and putting proposals for actions against the new council to a teacher vote.

With the passing of the bill last night it was time for battle lines to be drawn, Roberts said.

“We are still considering our options but I can assure you teachers will not be taking this lying down,” she said.

Until this point the association had tried in good faith to engage in a democratic process, trying to save teachers’ professional body.

“Six months ago more than a dozen credible teachers stood for and were elected by their peers to represent them on the teachers council. This is the last time that will happen,” she said.

It was an echo of the government takeover of university councils, Roberts said.

“Democracy appears to be so inconvenient for this government. The only way they can control and corporatize education is to legislate. They are telling the profession and the public to just trust the government.

“Don’t tell me to trust you when you can’t even trust us to represent ourselves,” she said.

More than a thousand submissions against the bill by secondary teachers alone were ignored, Roberts said.

The overwhelming message across the country from the community and the profession had been completely snubbed, she said.

EDUCANZ: How happy, how safe, how far, how much, and why?

question markThe Education Amendment Bill (2) has passed and, amongst other things, the Teachers Council is to be disbanded and replaced with EDUCANZ.

Given this government’s reputation for corruption, dishonesty and blatant targeting of opponents, and the current Minister’s clear disregard for teachers and advisors, I have some questions:

How happy are we that the Education Minister will now hand-pick all representation on the teachers’ professional body and we teachers can no longer vote to select even one member to act as our representation?

How safe should teachers feel now that the hand-picked body is responsible for misconduct hearings?

How far will a new code of conduct go to silence voices of opposition and dissent?

How much faith do we have that this body is independent of political interference?

Why are we teachers expected to pay for this?

~ Dianne

PPTA’s EDUCANZ battle continues – Press release

PPTA logoThe legislation around the government’s EDUCANZ body is so sloppy it is impossible to know what kind of monster will eventually be unleashed, says PPTA president Angela Roberts.

This afternoon PPTA members voted to empower the association’s executive to develop a range of responses to the Education Amendment Bill (no. 2) that aims to replace the New Zealand Teachers Council with a government appointed body.

Because the annual conference paper “Demolition or restoration – The election and our fight for the Teachers Council” was written before the election, changes had to be made to strengthen the union’s options to fight for its own professional body.

These changes included giving the executive the power to determine to what extent the association will co-operate with their new body and putting proposals for actions against the new council to a teacher vote.

PPTA president Angela Roberts said the association needed to have as many options available as possible.

“The legislation is so loose that we have no idea what we will actually be asked to fight against ,” Roberts said.

“The paper’s original recommendations offered the executive a hammer – now they have been given a whole toolbox.”

When the government first proposed a body to replace the New Zealand Teachers’ Council PPTA had four bottom lines – that it be a statutory authority, that it have a majority of practising teachers, that positions to the council be elected and that there be a position reserved for a union delegate.

The resulting EDUCANZ proposal provided none of these things.

Undaunted by the atmosphere and empowered by the truth PPTA members rallied making powerful written and oral submissions – which resulted the government conceding to include a majority of teacher members and pushed the bill back so it would not be debated before the election.

However the bill is still seriously flawed and cannot be allowed to pass in its current form.

“Two of PPTA’s bottom lines have still not been met: elections for teacher positions and the right of PPTA to nominate a member to a position. The minister of education retains the power to select all council members.

“The purpose and functions of the bill remain as wide as ever and are likely to distract the new council from its proper focus on the core business of keeping students safe and the offensive name for the council – which would make it the only teacher registration body in the world that’s name does not include teachers or teaching – remains.”

“The bill is still very poorly drafted, with problems that the NZTC’s submission highlighted as positively dangerous to the safety of students, that the select committee has failed to address,” Roberts said.
“But rest assured we are prepared to do some dragon-slaying if and when it is needed,” she said.

PPTA’s annual conference runs from September 30 to October 2 and is an opportunity for members to debate, discuss and vote on papers that will shape PPTA policy. Decisions are made by secondary teachers for secondary teachers.

The full papers are available at:  http://www.ppta.org.nz/events/annual-conference

Hipkins and Martin well received, Parata not so much – what happened at the Tick For Kids Education Forum 12.8.14

There was an air of excitement, tension and hope at last night’s Tick For Kids education forum in Wellington.  The room was packed, and people were very keen to hear what the parties’ representatives have to say about education policy.

Kiwis are no fools, though, with people well aware of what Chris McKenzie called the pre-election lolly scramble to present popular policy, only 10% of which we might see post-election.

Given what we have heard so far and what was presented at this forum, we can only hope that far more than 10% of the promises come to fruition should there be a change in government.

So, to the night.  

The panel comprised Hekia Parata (National), Chris Hipkins (Labour), Tracey Martin (NZ First), Peter Dunne (United Future), Chris McKenzie (Maori Party), Suzanne Ruthven (Greens), and Miriam Pierard (Internet-Mana) and was MCed very well by Dave Armstrong.

The candidates’ names were drawn from a bowl to determine the order in which they spoke – all very fair and orderly – and Armstrong made clear that people were welcome to mention each other, refer to other parties’ policies, and so on – unlike the shambles at Helensville the previous night.  That got a big giggle.

(Clearly the Helensville event wasn’t run by Tick For Kids, otherwise it would have been far more interesting and informative.)

First up was Chris McKenzie (Maori Party)

McKenzie outlined a credible background in education and then won a significant ripple of applause when he said the Maori Party will reinstate ACE (Adult and Community Education) funding.  

McKenzie also said they would make Te Reo compulsory and would look into the teaching of civics so that students understand the democratic process.  

Given I had spent 90 minutes the night before trying to explain that very thing to my babysitter, I could well understand the need for civics in the curriculum.  Maybe my high school colleagues can fill me in on what they feel is needed?

Peter Dunne (United Future) was up next 

Dunne spoke mostly in generalities, with lots of feel good stuff about great teaching and high expectations, saying he wouldn’t be more specific as United Future’s policy is not out until next week!  

He did, however, go out on a high note by stating UF would work to repeal charter schools.  

Cue more audience applause.

Hekia Parata (National; Education Minister) was the next to take centre stage

Hekia tfkWellyParata started by saying that student achievement had risen during National’s time in government and that now students are staying in school longer, saying that there was still more to do, especially for the neediest groups.

There was a wee round of clapping from one corner of the room.  I later spotted that group leaving with Ms Parata – whether anyone *not* in her entourage clapped, I cannot say for sure…

Parata then said that special education needs was a key area of focus, and this elicited mumbling from the audience, most of whom are no doubt well aware that SEN provision is diabolical and has only got worse under this government.  For my own part, it was all I could do to stay quiet and not shout “Tell that to Salisbury School!”

Parata continued on to say that Investing in Education Success (IES) policy would see to it that those issues are all addressed.  This did not go down well with the audience. There was muttering.

Parata ended with a flourish by pronouncing “decile is not destiny” and banging the lectern. It might have gone down well were it not for the fact that teachers KNOW THAT already and don’t take kindly to being patronised.  If she was waiting for a round of applause for her showmanship, she was disappointed.

And if showmanship is what was called for, we were in luck, because the next person to speak was Tracey Martin (New Zealand First), who always gives a clear and excellent speech.

Tracey Martin (New Zealand First)

Martin pulled no punches, opening by saying that teachers and the education system have been under constant attack by this government and it’s been relentless.  She listed what we have seen from National: increased class sizes, charter schools, national standards and more.  

Martin said parents were tricked into supporting (or at least not fighting) National Standards by the promise that they would be helpful, but said that’s not turned out to be the case.  

Tracey Martin tfkWellyMartin said that *if* Hekia Parata actually meant the things she said and did what she said, things would be far better, but she says one thing when she is means another.

In other words, the sales pitch doesn’t match what’s delivered.  

The audience seemed to agree, with a large clap and mutterings of “too right”.

There was no pause as Martin went straight into EDUCANZ and the assault on teachers’ democracy.  More clapping.

Martin then made absolutely clear that NZF would repeal both National Standards and charter schools.  Applause from the room.

She went on to say that the conversation about how to improve education needs to be given back to teachers, that the sector itself needs to be involved and listened to.  

She said change should be driven by teachers and facilitated by politicians, not the other way around.

Barely pausing for breath, Martin said Boards of Trustees (BOTs) would get compulsory training under NZF plans, ORS funding would increase to 3%, and there would be more money for special needs across the board.

This was all very well received by the audience, and Martin ended by saying (in a wee dig at Dunne) that New Zealand First’s education policy is already online, in full, and had been there for three months.  She urged us all to read it.  You should.

Suzanne Ruthven (Green Party)

Tracey Martin was a hard act to follow, but Suzanne Ruthven from the Green Party (who was standing in for Catherine Delahunty due to a family emergency) spoke to the effect of poverty on a student’s chances of success, said that education needed to be seen in its wider context, and outlined briefly the Green Party’s School Hubs Policy.  

Ruthven explained that School Hubs would be flexible, there was money there for a Hub coordinator so that teachers were not expected to run them on top of their workload, and that schools and communities to mould them in whatever ways best suited their own needs.

And now to Chris Hipkins (Labour)

Chris started by saying he got a top rate education in a state school, and thanked his maths teacher who he had spotted at the back of the room.

He won the crowd over further by quoting Beeby:

“…every person, whatever his level of academic ability, whether he be rich or poor, whether he live in town or country, has a right, as a citizen, to a free education of the kind for which he is best fitted, and to the fullest extent of his powers.” C E Beeby

Without a pause for breath, Hipkins said charter schools would be repealed under Labour. National Standards would be gone. IES would be gone.  School donations would be addressed. 

He then said the Advisory Service would be put back in place, and the audience erupted into applause and cheers.

He went on – ECE would be funded to 100% qualified staff – more clapping

– and EDUCANZ would be ditched – HUGE applause and cheers, again, from the audience.

Hipkins sat down with the clapping still going.

Miriam Pierard was next up

Pierard explainsed that until very recently she was a teacher, and she believes once a teacher always a teacher.  

It is, she says, time to take the education system back.

Pierard was clear that poverty and education need to be addressed together and that any government must work alongside teachers to find solutions.  She stressed that the Internet Party want to hear from teachers about what they believe needs to be done. 

Pierard reminds the crowd that ACT Party describe teachers as “vile” and says not all politicians feel that way.

Pierard ends by asking how many teachers in the room have been stuffed over by Novopay? Over half the hands went up.  There’s applause for the recognition of the scale of the problem. She nods, sagely.  

We all nod.  

And sigh.

And with that, the candidates’ speeches are over, and we are onto Question Time… which deserves a post all of its own….

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Other articles about the event:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10378693/Hekia-Parata-put-in-corner-at-debate

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11307961

https://storify.com/Dianne_Khan/tick-for-kids-education-forum-wellington-12-8-14

http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/election-2014/252029/crowd-puts-tough-questions-to-parata

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