“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 A democratically elected council has been replaced by a group hand-picked by the Minister.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.”
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:
Add to those ….
… 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.
In a recent membership-wide ballot, 94.9% of those who participated voted in favour of a motion to not accept nomination or appointment to the Educanz council nor participate in the body’s consultation processes.
“Effectively, the ballot result means that anyone who puts their name forward for nomination or accepts an appointment won’t be in a position to claim to speak for secondary teachers,” she said.
“Members of Educanz must understand that they will serve the minister and the government of the day ‒ not the teaching profession.”
Last year the PPTA’s annual conference voted to empower its 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.
“The Educanz model as it stands allows the minister to hand-pick an exclusive club. By stripping away the professional voice of teachers and not allowing us to elect our own representatives to our own professional body, Educanz will struggle for credibility,” she said.
As a past elected member of the New Zealand Teachers Council I find myself profoundly offended by the Ministry of Education’s advertisement for EDUCANZ in today’s Dominion Post, headed up “We’re making changes to education so all Kiwi kids can fly. Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand.”
Why is it in today’s political climate, that any new initiative has to be accompanied by denigration of the previous, as if the previous policy was so flawed and so led by misguided and insincere people that it had no value at all?
The Teachers Council was a replacement body for the Teacher Registration Board which had been an effective organisation but one with limited powers. The Board, Director and staff of the Teacher Registration Board were wholly in favour of the new Teachers Council with its broader powers and focus on promoting the professional status of teachers.
Yes, the NZ Teachers Council had a rocky start. The first Chair was driven from her post by unfounded and politically biased accusations – she was later cleared but it was too late by then. This led to the appointment of a director who, while a good person in many ways, was not really up to the task.
This all changed with the appointment of a number of truly effective chairs and of Peter Lind as Director. Over time this hard work gained acceptance of the Council across the profession – even (remarkably) in the university teacher education faculties. What a fantastic effort to make something as bureaucratic as registration accepted by teachers! Now for pathetic political reasons, all that hard, dedicated work by Peter, all of his staff and a whole swag of Council members and chairs has been discarded, marginalised and treated as worthless.
The Ministry of Education has a website page listing the differences between the Council and EDUCANZ. (See also this version on the EDUCANZ website.) Their view is that key to this is the status of EDUCANZ as an independent statutory body rather than an Autonomous Crown Entity. Apparently this means that the Minister can select members to create a skills-balanced organisation rather than relying on the vagaries of the electoral process – so much for democracy. And of course the Minister appoints all members of the Council – that makes for real independence.
At least five candidates from this nomination process will be appointed by the Minister, with the balance being selected by the Minister.
This is a sham, a total sham. I am really pissed off!!
~ Ken Wilson
Government Press Release:
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.
The 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.
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
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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?
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
“This is the last chance teachers have to elect their own council before the Government replaces it with the newly formed Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand (EDUCANZ).
“Education Minister Hekia Parata has cited low voter turnout as a justification for doing away with elections altogether. That’s clearly caught people’s attention and the high interest in this year’s council election shows just how much teachers value their voice.
“For a professional body to be effective it must have the confidence and support of those that it seeks to govern. EDUCANZ won’t have that support because teachers feel so disempowered as a result of its creation.
“Submissions to the select committee considering this change overwhelmingly opposed the removal of democracy from the teaching profession. In fact, the Government’s wider education reforms were completely opposed by 91 per cent, or 855 of 937 submitters.
“Labour believes teachers should have their own voice.
“A Labour Government will guarantee their right to elect their own representatives to their professional body,” Chris Hipkins says.
For more information:
Parata is trumpeting her loving regard for teachers and how this respect has lead her to allow five whole teachers onto the panel of EDUCANZ, the replacement Teachers Council that no-one in the sector wants and that educators argued forcefully against at the recent Education Amendment Bill select committees.
She’s love us to believe that she has seen the light and is taking teachers seriously at last. NewsTalk ZB trumpets that “Minister of Education Hekia Parata supports the move saying it clarifies the intent for the council to have a strong core of teaching experience.”
What she and ZB are not so keen to mention is that she is the one that will pick the 5 teachers, and her alone.
Yes, that’s right – the teachers don’t get to choose their own representatives. Unlike doctors, lawyers or any other profession of note, we will have out so-called representatives chosen for us.
Why would that be the case?
Simple really, Hekia hand-picking them means she can be sure to get folk who will toe the line… yes men and women. EDUCANZ will be more a political tool than an educational one.
So, let’s face it, as back downs go, it’s a fizzer.
Parata in fact didn’t listen to the concerns of people at spoke at select committee over the course of many days, at many locations, and so eloquently explained why the proposed changes were not sound.
The Select Committee sat, Hekia pretended to listen, and she forged ahead with the plan as it stood…
(Can you tell I’m seething?)
Anyone trumpeting that one change is blind to the reality. And, given past form, the apparent change of heart was probably planned from the start so the spin doctors could whip up some media hoohah about how well they listened.
“Go in hard and make one pre-planned concession to look benevolent” could be on Hekia’s coat of arms.
It’s a farce. That is not democracy in action.
At select committee after select committee this government has gone through the motions and ignored all evidence in front of it. It’s done because it has to be done, for show, not to inform. They don’t listen. In fact, having attended some of them as a viewer, I can say that the left ask most of the questions for clarification whilst the right usually stay pretty much shtum. I assume they work on the old lawyer rule which is that one should never ask a question one might not want to know the answer to.
Meanwhile we are again in the position of the education system being sneakily undermined, bit by bit, while many teachers and the huge majority of the public are unaware of the repercussions of what’s going on.
Only when our schools are in the state of those in other reform-crazy countries like the USA and England will people finally take notice and ask what the hell happened. Then we’ll have a hell of a job to undo the harm that’s been inflicted.
Be warned, NZ, this will not end well.
As submissions to the Education Amendment Bill (No 2) closed this week, more than 450 NZEI members had made submissions opposing the legislation. The Bill makes it easier for unqualified people to act as teachers, removes the right of teachers to directly elect their own professional body and replaces a high trust model with a low trust, compliance-based framework.
NZEI President Judith Nowotarski said all students deserved to have a qualified and registered teacher.
“The legislation undermines quality teaching by extending the status of people with limited authority to teach and allows for unqualified people acting as teachers in charter schools.”
“There is no place for unqualified people acting as teachers in schools or early childhood centres.”
“The Minister of Education claims to be creating a more independent body, valuing teaching and fully trusting teachers. But this Bill is really undermining the teaching profession. It is putting students at risk by lowering teaching standards for staff in charter schools. To top it off, the Bill expands government control by introducing the right for the minister to directly appoint every member.”
“Extensive consultation last year showed the sector clearly wanted an independent body whose members were directly elected out of the profession by the profession, along with appointments made in the public interest,” said Ms Nowotarski.
The new Education Council will replace the Teachers Council as the regulatory and professional body of teachers.
This Bill replaces the Teachers Council with EDUCANZ, and it is imperative you understand what changes that will usher in.
It is even more important that you send in a submission if you oppose those changes.
Thinking others will deal with it is as good as agreeing to the changes: If you think the changes are wrong, then you really do have to have your say.
Write and register your own submission here (the link is at the bottom of that page).
Do you want teachers’ professional body to be led by government appointees, have your voice silenced, have your professional status undermined, be replaced by cheap untrained labour, have LATs with criminal convictions in the classroom, and then pay for the privilege of all that?
If the answer is NO, then please make a submission.