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Education Act

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What changes are proposed in the Education (Teaching Council of Aotearoa) Amendment Bill?

Below is the official outline what is in The Education (Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand) Amendment Bill currently before parliament:

The Education (Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand) Amendment Bill (the Bill) amends the Education Act 1989.

The purpose of the Teaching Council (the Council) is to ensure safe and high quality leadership, teaching, and learning for children and young people in early childhood, primary, secondary, and senior secondary schooling in English medium and Māori medium settings through raising the status of the profession.

It stands to reason, therefore, that the governance of the council should be directly elected by, and representative of, the teaching profession as well as appointed lay representatives, and that its name should reflect the central role teaching plays in quality education.

The teaching profession has less control of its affairs than most professions.

For example, the current Council provisions contrast with how members are chosen for the Nursing Council. In 2009, the-then Health Minister Tony Ryall led the modification of that appointment system to enable nurses to elect members of the council.

The rationale for that move was that it was an important step toward giving nurses greater say in decisions affecting scopes of practice, competence and safety.

The Education Act 1989 currently provides that the new Council comprises 9 members. The Minister of Education appoints all 9 members. There are no elections.

This Bill retains an independent statutory basis for the Council, but its governing body is a mix of teacher members elected directly by the teaching profession and lay representatives appointed by the Minister of Education.

It is possible under the current Act that 4 of 9 Council members are non-teachers. “At least 5 of the members must be registered under section 353 and hold a practising certificate under section 361”- Schedule 21, clause 1(1) and (2). This Bill proposes that teachers should be in a majority in the leadership of their own professional body.

Teachers expect that membership of the Council should include appointments in the public interest, but it is only logical to build teachers’ ownership of the organisation required to promote and monitor the standards of their profession by ensuring they have a direct vote on some Council members.

The teaching profession supports greater legal independence for the Council, but it cannot, and will not, be perceived to be independent of Government as long as all of its governance body members are directly appointed by the Minister.

This Bill proposes that the membership of the Council be increased to 13, to include a senior ECE leader and a teacher educator and 5 other qualified and registered teachers/teacher leaders. Ministerial appointment fills the 6 other member positions.

This link takes you to the full Bill, if you wish for more detail.

~ Dianne, SOSNZ

 

What National Has Done To Education in 2016 (so far)

id-100435177It’s been a year of non-stop changes and proposals. Some call it a war on free public schooling in NZ – indeed it feels like a continuous battery of skirmishes with little to no break between attacks.

If the Minister is purposefully undertaking psychological warfare to break teachers down, then she’s doing it well, because we’re worn out; We just want to teach.

So far this year, NZ public education has faced:

  • COOLs – out of nowhere and with no consultation at all, Hekia Parata announces plans for online charter schools for 5-18 year olds.
  • Global Funding – a raft of proposals to bulk fund schools, including giving schools a set payment to fund teachers with the provision for schools to spend that money any way they want (including not spending it on teachers).  This means government would cease to guarantee to maintain teacher/students ratios at current levels.
  • Special Educational Needs – the Minister has proposed significant changes, but appears to have largely ignored the information collected at select committee. It was confirmed that there will be no additional money for SEN, despite a real issue with under-funding. There are proposals to divert current funding towards early childhood education and reduce funding for 5-18 year olds. Proposal to stop ORS funding at age 18 rather than 21. (And Hekia lied in the house saying the proposals have support where none exists.)
  • Operations budget frozen – schools’ operations funding is frozen despite a hike in power and water bills, meaning a net loss of funds to schools. This means less money for things such as libraries, equipment, specialist classes, and teacher aides.
  • Teacher Education Refresher course – ill-thought-out and inappropriate targeting of teachers for retraining costing $4k (and no student loans available for the course) causes huge amounts of stress for teachers and put pressure on schools as it gets harder to find relievers.
  • Charter Schools – two more, despite the current ones missing targets set by Ministry of Education
  • National Standards – the ‘National Standards: School Sample Monitoring & Evaluation Project 2010-2014‘ report was published and reported that “evidence strongly suggests that [Overall Teacher judgements (OTJs)] lack dependability, which is problematic as OTJs are a central element of the National Standards system”.  Despite this, National Standards are still being pushed and continue to be used by government as if they are reliable.
  • Pushing PaCT – schools being pressured to adopt the Progress and Consistency Tool for National Standards. This includes workshops that give school staff very biased  and one-sided information. There are still concerns PaCT is being pushed in order to later use the data for performance pay, despite research and experiences showing  that teacher performance pay does not improve student outcomes and in some cases lowers it.
  • Education funding diverted to private sector – proposal to give a larger portion of the education budget to charter schools and private schools, leaving less for public schools
  • Untrained Staff unsupervised in classes – Minister proposed a law change to allow untrained ‘teachers’ to work unsupervised in public school classrooms (this while at the same time forcing trained teachers to spend $4k to upskill if they are deemed to have not done enough classroom teaching over the past few years).

I’m sure I’ve forgotten some things – there have been so many – so please comment below if there’s anything that needs to be added.

Meanwhile, look after yourselves – there’s still one whole term to go and, as we know, a lot can happen in a few short weeks.

~ Dianne

PS, more added below!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

QPEC: What’s going on in education policy?

QPEC logo no borderDr Liz Gordon, QPEC convenor,  says that QPEC supports the concerns of many other groups about two recently announced policy proposals.

“The first is that additional special education support be given to the early childhood sector.  We strongly support the policy of providing early intervention.  

“However it is also proposed that this be a zero-cost policy, with funding taken from later stages of education to fund the early interventions.  The government is well aware that there is already inadequate funding for special needs in school, and taking from Peter to pay Paul will leave ‘Peter’ with inadequate support.

“QPEC  supports additional funding for special needs in education, to give all children the best chance at a full life in the community”.

Dr Gordon notes that the second issue is the introduction of “yet another category of school” into the Education Act.

“The notion of an online school needs much further investigation before it is placed into our Education Act.  There are some extremely difficult problems to be overcome before a ‘school’ of this kind can be developed.  

“The New Zealand curriculum, which is compulsory in most schools, is not yet available in an online format and this would need to happen (unless the school is to be a private school, which would be a missed opportunity).

“We know that only certain children learn well in an online environment.  These are usually high-achieving young people who have the support of well-educated families and communities.  This group is not the target of the government’s policy goals, which are to lift the achievement of under resourced children.

“It therefore seems extraordinary that the Minister would champion this policy at this time”.

QPEC is concerned that once again, as with the partnership schools, the Minister is pursuing models that will lead to further privatisation and fewer opportunities in practice.

Dr Gordon concludes: “There is nothing wrong with extra resources in special education or pursuing models of online learning, but the approaches signaled appears out of step with the realities of schooling in Aotearoa.”
Dr Liz Gordon, Quality Public Education Coalition (QPEC)

Government silent over TPPA threat to public education – NZEI

nzei logoNZEI Te Riu Roa is concerned about the government’s silence over the potential dangers to our public education system as a result of signing the TPPA.

National Secretary, Paul Goulter says the TPPA is a major threat to our fee-free, high-quality public education system.

He says NZEI has written to the Trade Minister, Todd McClay, to seek assurances that the government will take steps to protect education from global edu-businesses seeking to profit from the New Zealand taxpayer.

“The wording is ambiguous but the TPPA appears to open the door to allowing international corporations to establish schools or supply textbooks and other learning resources and then demand “level-playing field” access to the public education purse.

Unlike Singapore, our Government did not carve education out of the deal.

Paul Goulter says this is even more concerning in light of another secret trade deal currently being negotiated.

“The Trade In Service Agreement (TISA) would restrict future governments’ rights to regulate the quality and provision of education and protect unique aspects of New Zealand’s education system.

“Together, these two deals would strike at the very foundations of our quality public education system and the outcome would be greater inequality for New Zealand children.”

NZEI is asking that the government’s current review of the Education Act specifically includes protections that ensure foreign corporations do not have free access to our annual $12.9 billion education budget.

“We need to ensure that the government reserves the right to retain education as a ‘social service established for a public good’ under the TPPA provisions.

“But so far, the Minister’s lack of response is cause for concern.”

Education Act Update – my submission

This is my submission. It’s my personal response, you can take it or leave it, and I welcome feedback.

Please make sure you do a submission, too. You can answer as many or as few questions as you want, and it’s very easy to do.

My Submission

1. What should the goals for education be?

To ensure all students become confident, connected, actively involved lifelong learners, as outlined in the New Zealand Curriculum document.

All children should have the same opportunity to engage in free, fair and equitable state education system that meets their needs.

 

2. What process should be used for setting a national priorities statement for early learning and schooling?

The education sector, education academics, students and parents should be consulted and listened to.

There should be a select committee that listens without agenda and uses good research and feedback to determine the way forward.

 

3. What should the roles and responsibilities of a school or a kura board be?

Schools boards’ responsibilities should include:

– ensuring all students are given the opportunity to work to their own best potential.

– ensuring all students have fair and equitable opportunities in school.

– ensuring parents, whanau and the wider community are consulted where appropriate.

– ensuring school is a mentally and physically safe place to be.

– ensuring the board puts the students at the forefront of their decision making.

– setting a strategic plan that reflects the goals and priorities of its students, their parents and the wider community.

A school board should NOT:

– in any way take part in evaluating staff performance.

– put government’s wishes ahead of students’, parents’ and the community’s wishes.

 

4. What changes should be made to simplify planning and reporting?

Support to allow school boards to plan together with other boards seems sensible so long as schools are explicitly allowed to retain their own methods and/or focus if they wish to and are not subsumed or swallowed up by others, for example, in a Community of Learning.

 

5. How can we better provide for groups of schools and kura to work together more to plan and report?

Have independent liaison staff that boards can call on to support them working together, to ensure all parties are given a fair chance to be heard and take part.

Have a fund to support those board members who have to miss paid work to attend meetings, professional development, etc. (Especially crucial for those doing shift work or working in other inflexible situations).

 

6. How should schools and kura report on their performance and young people’s achievements to parents, family, whanau and communities?

This should be a matter for each board and community to determine, so that whatever method is used it is what students. parents and the wider community want.

 

7. What should the indicators and measures be for school performance and student achievement and well-being?

Well-being should be ascertained through student and parent/whanau surveys, through reviewing information and data on such things as attendance and bullying, and through discussions with the student body as appropriate.

Student performance should be measured and evaluated in a number of ways, including teachers’ overall judgements, in-class testing, student self evaluation, school management evaluations or check on OTJs, and external tests and exams at post-primary level where appropriate.

School performance should be evaluated by the board of trustees, students, parents/whanua, the wider community and ERO, using observations, test data, students’ in-class work, teacher interviews, etc.

 

8. What freedoms and extra decision-making rights could be given to schools, kura and Communities of Learning that are doing well?

This is a loaded question – what is meant by “doing well“? Until that is determined, it is impossible to say what additional freedoms would be appropriate.

 

9. What ways could boards work more closely together?

Boards could be supported by external independent advisers/liaison personnel to allow them to meet and share best practice, discuss ideas and problems, and work more closely. External support for this is vital so that all voices are heard and all boards given a fair and equal chance to have input.

 

10. What do you think about schools and kura having the flexibility to introduce cohort or group entry?

It sounds like a good idea in principle but could be tricky in practice. For example, if a child moves from a school using 5th birthday entry dates to one using cohort entry and therefore finds themself unable to continue their school after starting already.

 

11. What do you think about making attendance compulsory for children once they have started school or kura before they turn six years old?

Excellent plan.

 

12. What additional supports or responses could be used to address problems that arise in schools and kura?

There should be a level of support available prior to a school needing serious intervention. If a school self-identifies or is made aware of an issue, there must be available support to help the school remedy the situation before it escalates. This should be promoted and seen as something positive and proactive rather than punitive.

 

13. How should area strategies be decided, and how should schools, kura and communities be consulted?

Area strategies must be decided in open, honest and fair consultation with the school community and all stakeholders, from the Ministry of Education to the students themselves.

It must be recognised that good schools are not just a place of education but are also the heart of a community and that this in itself is valuable and should be part of any consideration regarding mergers or closures.

Consultations MUST begin without a predetermined agenda.

Consultations should include written submissions, interviews, meetings, workshops and other methods that are appropriate the the community involved.

 

14. What should be taken in to account when making decisions about opening, merging or closing schools?

– area demographics and predictions

– the role of the school in the community

– other available provision for the students

– safety (mental and physical) of the students, staff, parents and wider school community

– cost

– quality of provision  

 

15. What do you think about the proposed changes to improve how enrolment schemes are managed?

The proposals as outlined look reasonable.

That’s my submission. Now go do yours. You have until 5pm on 14th December 2015.

~ Dianne

Have Your Say on the Future of NZ Education

engage

Term 4 isn’t the best time of year for Hekia Parata to announce a consultation as important as this – well, not if you genuinely want plenty of quality responses – but announce in term 4 she did, and so we teachers and parents must do what we do best – roll with it and make the best of things.

At first glance the consultation looks a little overwhelming. The questions are very broad and range over many areas, and the language is somewhat loaded at times, to say the least.  But it’s not as bad as it at first appears…

have_your_say02The first good news is you can answer as many or as few questions as you like.

If nothing else, all teachers and parents should answer at least the first question:

Q1: What should the goals for education be?

This is asking for your own view, so there’s no right or wrong answer. I took to the NZ Primary School National Curriculum to answer it, as I feel it covers things quite nicely already, but you may have entirely different thoughts, and that’s great. Just make sure you share them – that’s the important bit.

The second good news is that there’s no right or wrong format for replying. No-one is checking your spelling or grammar, no-one is expecting a specific layout or certain language. All that matters is that you have your say.

So what are you waiting for – go do it now!

More good news, you say?  Excellent! You can put your responses in online using the Ministry’s natty little submission doohicker. And it gets better – you can either just type in your replies, or you can upload a document if you have written them elsewhere or want to use photos, files or links. Great eh? Couldn’t be easier.

Your_voice_count-337x236I typed mine in as I went, and I answered most questions, and the whole thing only took me half an hour. Easy peasy over a cup of coffee.

I can tell you’re tempted now … go on, be a rebel, click here and do yours…

One last bit of good news – you can do your submission in bits if you want. Do a bit, save it, and go back to it. It doesn’t all have to be done at once. Just don’t forget, if you save it, to go back later and submit it!

The Education Act Update could prove to be one of the biggest upheavals in Kiwi education in around 30 years. Do make sure your voice is heard.

~ Dianne

 

 

Wide-ranging education changes shouldn’t be rushed, says NZEI

nzei logoThe announcement of wide-ranging changes via a new education Bill signals a potential shift in the structure of schooling. 

The Education Legislation Bill 2015 includes amendments to eight Acts covering issues from charter schools to student identification numbers and school opening hours.

NZEI Te Riu Roa President Louise Green said the changes could have wider effects than just administration and governance.

“Some of the changes indicate a big shift in the structure of schooling, such as enabling principals to ‘manage’ more than one school. Principals are leaders of teaching professionals, not a CEO across a chain of stores.

“Likewise, allowing tertiary institutions to sponsor charter schools is an unnecessary extension of the model, and enabling the State Services Commissioner to approve changes to terms and conditions of employment raises a raft of questions and concerns.

“We really need a national conversation about some of these larger changes, rather than rushing them through as part of a grab bag of tweaks and updates.”

– NZEI

 

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

Suggested changes to the NZ Education Act – what is afoot now?

target schoolsThe Considering Education Regulation in New Zealand report has been released today and provides much food for thought.

It is clear from reading the report that Taskforce members were far from agreed regarding what changes might be needed to the Education Act.

The report acknowledges that “[t]here was widespread nervousness among respondents about the possibility of any desired goals and outcomes being framed too narrowly,”  and stresses that there was “strong agreement that if goals and outcomes were to be developed for the education system, this must take place through wide consultation.”

The taskforce seems to have dealt with the issue of disagreement by concluding that it is essential there is widespread consultation before any changes are made.

Sounds great in principle.

Sector Consultation

It should be heartening that Ms Parata also acknowledges that “[a]ny review of the Act would require an extensive consultation process with the education sector and with parents,” shouldn’t it?

And yet…

… are we not now all too familiar with what she means by consultation?  Namely, go through the motions, don’t listen to much if anything at all, and then do what she planned to all along.  (Indeed, I am expecting Websters to update their dictionary entry for “consultation” accordingly this year, since it is now so widely understood that this is what it means.)

So promising consultation doesn’t give any comfort that sector views will be heard and acted upon or allay any concerns, sadly.

Double speak?

I took a moment to consider what is meant by Murray Jack, Taskforce Chair, when he comments in the report’s foreword that:

“… the Taskforce has concluded that there is a strong case to review the Act to provide a greater focus on student outcomes and more explicit roles and objectives

“A greater focus on student outcomes…”  Hmmm.

What, do teachers not currently aim to advance students?  Focus on it more how? And what outcomes?  Are we perchance only talking about things that can be measured in a test?  That seems to fly in the face of other comments in the report which made clear that “[r]espondents did not want a focus on just literacy and numeracy, but felt that these needed to be set within a holistic concept of student achievement.”

Holistic or focusing on test scores – which is it to be?

More explicit roles and objectives?

Also, I cannot help but wonder whether this “greater focus on student outcomes” and “explicit roles and objectives” might be somehow heralding performance pay, perchance?

After all. National Standards and the PaCT system are all set up and ready to rock and roll for just that purpose, despite the Minister assuring us that’s not what they’re for.

Something about that has left me uneasy.

outcomes outcomes outcomes

There are a number of other statement in the announcement that ring alarm bells:

“[The Taskforce] recommended a number of regulatory changes to ensure enough flexibility in the education system to keep pace with the ever-changing environment.”

What exactly does that mean?  How does the current legislation shackle schools?  Does the legislation as it currently stands truly stop schools from keeping pace with “the ever-changing environment”?

Or are we to read this as “we need to make the legislation privatisation-friendly, so we can shoe in more charter schools and the like.

Again, three years of following this government’s carry-on in education means that any such ambiguous statements lead to fretting about what’s going on behind the scenes.  I’d love to think it was just me and my paranoia, but so far my concerns have sadly been valid.

BOTs

Boards of Trustees get a wee mention in the report, which comes to the conclusion that in order to determine whether BOTs are doing a good job, they too need to be subjected to “reliable and valid measures of [the identified] characteristics … to assess their contribution to student achievement.”  (p.13)

Truly, it seems the taskforce believe if it can’t be measured, weighed or put in a pie chart is doesn’t count for a thing.

Don’t mention the “P” word

“The Taskforce noted that evidence from the OECD suggests governments can prevent school failure and reduce dropout using two parallel approaches: eliminating system level practices that hinder equity; and targeting low-performing, disadvantaged schools. From the evidence reviewed, the Taskforce concluded that good regulation and effective governance are elements of high-performing systems that support priority students.  Ensuring that they are aligned with other schooling policies and practices can help New Zealand achieve its educational objectives.” (p. 13)

I totally agree we all need to ensure schools are run well and teachers should encourage all students to aim high.  But to ignore the roles poverty and home environment have in the chances of a student succeeding is a failure to address the whole issue and an insult to both the students and staff living that reality day to day.

The bigger picture

I wonder what exactly is meant by “targeting low-performing, disadvantaged schools”?  Targeting for extra help?  Or targeting for a change principal?  Or being changed into a charter school?

Again, if a school is low performing, it may indeed need help and support, guidance and so on, but if all of that is done within a system that is blinkered to the realities of the students and the community that school is in, then it is not considering the whole picture and cannot be expected to adequately respond to the situation.

So, if improvement is really wanted, we do indeed have to mention the “P” word and get real about the big picture.

I await the unfolding of this next phase of the reform agenda with interest, apprehension and a large gin and tonic.

~ Dianne

___________________________________

Sources:

Considering Education Regulation in New Zealand:  http://www.minedu.govt.nz/theMinistry/EducationInitiatives/~/media/MinEdu/Files/TheMinistry/EducationInitiatives/Taskforce/TaskforceReport.pdf

www.minedu.govt.nz/trasp.

http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/report-education-regulations-released

 

Boards of Trustees unhappy with $359M IES plan

“We are concerned about the lack of democracy in these processes.”

“We are concerned that the changes are for political purpose rather than for sound educational reasons based on evidence.”

“We are concerned for the future of education in New Zealand.”

 

Below is a message sent home from Fergusson Intermediate to parents, explaining the very real concerns regarding IES (Investing in Educational Success).  It explains the concerns of many, and is well worth reading and sharing with your teachers, BOTs and parents so they, too, can consider the consequences of the proposals being mooted.

 

danger turn back

 

“Important Message from the Board of Trustees

At the last Board meeting the Board discussed and passed the following resolution.

That the Board

  • Endorses the need for further investment in education and in schooling
  • Notes that the Government’s proposed ‘Investing in Educational Success’ initiative has far reaching implications for teachers, schools and schooling
  • Expresses concern the government has not adequately engaged with or consulted Boards of Trustees on the initiative and its implications
  • Commits to engage with staff and the wider school community in a discussion about the initiative, its implications and the development of a whole-of-school position with regards to it.

These concerns arise as the Government forges ahead with its hastily announced initiative to spend $359m on education with ‘Investing in Educational Success’ (IES). None of this $359 million to be spent over the next four years around the new roles will go into new resources for schools such as extra teachers or teacher aides improving teacher pupil ratios or even into general programmes of quality professional development for existing teachers and principals where it could have done great good. Instead the money will mainly go towards salaries and allowances for those teachers and principals who are willing to be selected for, and prepared for, the new super roles and then willing to take them up, creating a new level of public servants within education.

We are concerned that this money is not being appropriately spent on areas where there is evidence it would have an impact.

As we have seen of this Government, the way these changes are sold to us does not necessarily relate to the actual outcomes.  They would have us believe that appointing Executive Principals to oversee 10 schools (while still doing their job in their own school) and Expert Teachers to go into other schools 2 – 3 days a week (while still doing their job in their own school) will improve student achievement. There is no evidence that this will work and we fail to see how removing a Principal from the running of their own school, or a teacher from the classroom for 2 days every week, will have any benefit for the students of that school and very possibly could be detrimental.

We are concerned about the effect on our students.

It appears that these Principals and Teachers will be appointed based mainly on their National Standards results – the unproven, unreliable and flawed system that this Government has introduced to measure one school against another.

We are concerned about the weight given to these unreliable measures.

Boards of Trustees, and those they represent – our community, have not been consulted, yet the management structure and the way in which staff are employed will change significantly under this initiative. We will lose the ability to staff our school as we believe best meets our needs. We, because of our success, would be penalised by losing our good teachers and management 2 – 3 days a week with no compensation.  We, as the community, are the consumers of this service, by far the biggest sector within education, with the good of our children, and tomorrow’s children, at heart, yet we have had the least input.

We are concerned that there is no ‘community’ voice, and that schools will lose their autonomy and individual character.

In addition to the IES changes the Minister has stated ‘The most successful funding systems narrowed the gap between high-achieving rich kids and under-achieving poor kids by strongly incentivising pupil progress (NZ Herald, March 16, 2014). We are concerned that changes to how schools are funded won’t be around the need of the school or its students but rather the academic results. This would see high decile schools most able to meet achievement targets and therefore meet ‘incentives’ for funding, while lower decile schools with poorer resources, less able to achieve targets, penalised – effectively the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.

We are concerned that this competitive model will create greater inequity in education.

As part of the ACT/National Confidence and Supply agreement (the tea cup meeting), the Government has initiated a review of the Education Act next year, already stipulating what will and will not be reviewed. They will not allow ‘matters that are currently the subject of Government initiatives, National Standards or new school types (Charter Schools) to be reviewed. However, it will review governance and management matters with a view to creating ‘increased regulatory flexibility’.

We are concerned that they will only review what they want to change – the Governance and Management model that is the key to Tomorrow’s Schoolsand that this could spell the end of a community voice in education. We are concerned that there is no opportunity to review the most recent and drastic changes to our education system.

We are concerned about the lack of democracy in these processes. 

We are concerned that the changes are for political purpose rather than for sound educational reasons based on evidence. 

We are concerned for the future of education in New Zealand.

We ask that you make yourself aware of the changes afoot. Think about not only today’s students, but those in 10 and 20 years time – your grandchildren, and their ability to access a quality education. Will the world that they live in give equal education opportunities to those less fortunate? Will we as parents and a community have a say? Will our children be on a treadmill from preschool onwards? Will we be growing great citizens?”

 

Read the rest of the article here.

Strong opposition to Teachers Council revamp

Teachers have expressed strong opposition to the government’s plans to change the Teachers Council, because of concerns it will undermine quality teaching for New Zealand children, said NZEI today.teamwork

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.

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