This tag is associated with 4 posts

Why Are Kiwis Taking To The Streets?

They are mighty pigged off, that’s why.

This Saturday, 13th April, thousands of teachers, parents, students and other supporters up and down New Zealand will march to protest some very disconcerting things that are afoot in GodZone.

What are we protesting?  Well I’m glad you asked.

Charter schools:  The government is hell bent on bringing in charter schools despite massive resistance and rafts of evidence that they just do not improve achievement, least of all for minority groups.  They are pushing an ideology that will privatise public schools.  No amount of questioning elicits from the government or Catherine Isaac any answers on just how charters will improve anything.

They have no answers – there are no answers.  The evidence is very firmly against them.  

Community involvement is not guaranteed in charter schools (goodbye BOT), teachers can be untrained, money paid to run the schools can be skimmed off as profit.  That’s your tax $$$ going not to resources of trained staff or even to pay for the building – just taken out as profit by the business owner.  Nice.

The largest study of charter schools, by CREDO,  showed that 47% of children did worse in the charter than in the local public school.  Only 17% did better.  Is that worth the cost, both financially and to communities?  I think not.

National Standards and Testing:  Teachers test all the time – we have to, to know where kids are and where to take them next.  Tests are best if acted on speedily by the teacher, to inform their practice.  National standards do nothing to inform teachers – indeed they eat up time best spent teaching or doing more useful testing.  National Standards do not look at the progress a child has (or has not) made, it merely pegs them against a standard that has been deemed to be about right for their age.  This is of no use to the child, to the parents, or to the teacher.  Each student is different – what matters most is not where they are in relation to their peers but how they are progressing.

Add to this the growing and very real concerns that the tests used to determine students’ levels are faulty and are giving inflated results, and we have a huge, huge problem.

Teachers’ Pay and Conditions:  You might think this is about Novopay; it’s not.  The Secretary of Education wants authority to change teachers’ pay and work conditions without consultation.  Like you turning up to work and finding your contract had been rewritten and there’s nothing you can do about it.  Nice eh?  Why would the SoE want to do that, you ask?  Most likely so that performance pay can be brought in.

Performance pay is an anathema to teaching.  By its very nature, teaching is collaborative, it means working in a team to get the best for the students.  The minute performance pay rears its head, that begins to change.  Why share your resources with someone who just got a pay rise when you got none?  Why agree to have more than your fair share of the trickier students if it might impact your wages?  Where it has been implemented, abroad, it has lead to some desperate teachers exaggerating test scores, and so on.  It’s human nature, and has been documented widely by many reliable researchers, including those at the OECD.  We just don’t want that.  We want to continue working together as a team within our school and with other schools in the wider community for the kids.

Christchurch school closures and mergers:  The schools in Christchurch just did not get a fair hearing.  Information was and still is being withheld by the authorities, preventing schools from being able to put up accurate arguments against the proposals.   Dame Beverley Wakem has deemed the Christchurch schools closures and mergers consultation process to be questionable enough to warrant an investigation.  No-one is arguing nothing needed to change post-quake.  But even schools with growing roles and good quality buildings and sites have been earmarked to go.  It makes no sense.

Christchurch has been bullied, there is no other term for it.  And teachers do not like bullies.

It’s time to say NO.

It’s time to insist it remains about the children and not about ideology.

It’s time to demand that changes are research based and not done on the whim of a one-man political party.

It’s time to include community MORE in schools, not less.

Join us – come and show your support.


Read more:

 On the Christchurch debacle

On CREDO’s charter school research

On National and ACT’s agreement to bring in charter schools

Protests – times and places

Stand Up For Kids – 13 April NZ-wide Day of Action

Marches and rallies all over the country to fight the Global Education Reform Movement (GERM) and stand up for kids. 

These are the events listed so far.  (There will no doubt be more that have not made the list yet, so please let me know of any more I should add.)

Whangarei – 11am march from Library (Rust St) to Laurie Hill Park

Auckland – Gather in Queen Elizabeth Square (bottom of Queen St) from 11am, march up Queen St at 11.30am, arrive at Aotea Sqaure for rally approx 12.15pm

Hamilton – Meet 11am at Band Rotunda (Memorial Park cnr Bridge & Victoria Sts). March across Bridge St bridge, into Grey St, through shopping centre to Steel Park for BBQ and speakers.

Rotorua – Meet 10.30am Kuirau Park BBQ area, march to City Focus for speeches and back.

New Plymouth – 11 am March from cnr Gover St & Devon St East through to the Puke Ariki Landing for speeches and sausage sizzle.

Hawera – 11 am rally in town square

Palmerston North – Meet 11.30 am Square (quadrant opp. Plaza) – march around the Square and back to Plaza quadrant for speeches and sausage sizzle.

Whanganui – Assemble from 10.30 at Chronicle offices in Taupo Quay. March at 11am to Majestic Square for rally & sausage sizzle.

Napier/Hastings – 11am gather at Civic Square, marching to Sound Shell for rally with speakers

Wairoa – 8.30am marching from town library to town bridge.

Gisborne – 11am march from Lowe St through Main st – Gladstone Rd

Wellington – Meet 12pm at the Cenotaph to march up the path to Parliament grounds

Marlborough – Meet 11am, The Forum, Market Square, cnr High St & Market Rd, Blenheim

Kaikoura – Meet 11am, Dolphin Encounter, 96 Esplanade, Kaikoura

Motueka – Meet 10.30am, Motueka Museum, High St

Nelson – Meet 11am, church steps, Nelson Cathedral

Buller – Meet 10am, The Clock Tower, Westport

Golden Bay – Meet 10.30am, The Village Green, Takaka

Christchurch – Meet 11am, Gerry Brownlee’s ofice, Grahams Rd, Burnside

Mid Canterbury – Meet 11am, East St, Ashburton township

South Canterbury – Meet 11am, Caroline Bay, Timaru

Dunedin – Meet at Dental School (310 Great King St) 11am march to the Octagon
Invercargill – Meet Middle School Jed St, 11.15am march down Tay St, rally at Wachner Place 11.30am

Take time to attend.  Voices are needed.  

Christchurch rally to show support for public education

Our schoolsNZEI Press release:

Christchurch rally to show support for public education

19 February 2012

4pm at the CBS arena, Jack Hinton Drive, Addington

Christchurch school communities and supporters will gather this afternoon to show support for schools that have been earmarked for closure and merger and to tell the Government that it needs to show more respect for the people of Christchurch.

NZEI National President Judith Nowotarski says educators are very concerned about the pace that the Government wants to impose these changes on Christchurch children and educators.

“We are looking at a much more accelerated process than originally planned. Some schools that had originally been told the changes would take place over four years have now been told that they will be merged by the beginning of next year.

“This is very worrying because it appears the timetable has been set more for political purposes than educational ones.

“Frankly, we have serious doubts about whether the Ministry of Education has the capacity to undertake this process within the proposed timeframe. The Christchurch rebuild has been extremely slow and the experience of other school mergers and closures gives us little confidence.

”We believe there is a very real risk that children’s education will once again be put in jeopardy.”

Ms Nowotarski says the past five months have been extremely difficult for the education community in Christchurch.

“This has been a botched and disrespectful process. The Minister will have to go forward in a much more credible and respectful manner than she has shown in the past.”

Today’s rally will take place at 4 pm at the CBS arena and will be followed by a march to the Ministry of Education offices in Princess St”



  • Update about the situation and processes for going forward
  • Vote of no confidence in the Minister – see below
  • March to the Ministry office

Getting There

Please go to to the latest update on road conditions and access to the CBS Arena. Parking is available.

What to Bring

  • Flags, banners, signs
  • Colleagues
  • Friends and family
  • Anything that makes a noise!

We will be seeking support for the following motion:

  • No schools or communities should ever have to go through the botched and disrespectful process that happened in Christchurch over the past five months.
  • We share the hurt and anger of the schools that have been identified for closure and merger today.
  • Given past experience, the Ministry will need to demonstrate it has the capacity to manage the accelerated timeframe for the merger and closure processes announced.
  • We have no confidence in the Minister of Education’s record to date. We demand that she commit to engagement going forward that is credible and respectful.

If you’re out of Christchurch:

Please support our Christchurch schools by encouraging your school to wear red and black tomorrow and posting photos to the Listen to Christchurch Facebook page.

NZEI’s top priority continues to be to stand up for teachers, support staff and kids in Christchurch and support all schools to remain safe and stable environments where great teaching and learning can continue.

We are committed to ensuring there are fair processes for all school staff through the next stage of the process. We have been listening to all schools in Christchurch and we will be offering a full range of assistance and support to those schools that have been identified for merger or closure. This includes offering schools assistance as they undertake further engagement with their communities about whether to accept or fight the interim decisions.

Today is a day for Christchurch parents, educators and communities to come together and have a voice on the future of learning in our city, culminating in a family friendly, city-wide event at CBS Arena.

All who care about the future of education in Canterbury welcome!

Matt Damon Loves His Teachers

The man talks complete sense.

He knows what teaching is.

He knows what learning is.


I love him.

Who in New Zealand would like to do the same for our teachers, before we end up in the same pickle the USA is in?

We need your voices now.



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