20 May 2016
Today’s announcement that the government will fund another seven charter schools and an independent body to support them comes as a huge disappointment to Principals across the nation.
‘Only a few months ago, the Minister was closing the Whangaruru failed charter school which spent $1.6million on a farm and the government has no mechanism to retrieve that money, even though the school is now closed,’ said Iain Taylor, President of the New Zealand Principals’ Federation today.
‘We thought that lessons had been learned from that disaster,’ said Taylor, ‘but obviously not.’
‘No one is calling for more of these schools,’ says Taylor. ‘Parents already have more than enough schools to choose from. Charter schools are a political arrangement with the government and the ACT party.’ he said.
‘Charter schools are a business, not a regular school, and businesses market themselves to get more customers by offering enticements. That’s what charter schools do”
‘Kids are not flocking to charter schools. Parents have to be enticed to send their kids there. We see the incentives like free school uniforms, free stationery and no programme charges,’ said Taylor. ‘Charter schools are a business, not a regular school, and businesses market themselves to get more customers by offering enticements. That’s what charter schools do,’ he said.
‘The Minister has often said that the vast majority of public schools of all decile levels in this country are great schools. We want all public schools in New Zealand to be great schools and we don’t need charter schools soaking up precious funds that would make that happen,’ said Taylor.
NZPF President Iain Taylor, media spokesperson
Mob: 021 190 3233
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.
Here I will try to give the basic information on IES, so that you can get an understanding of the proposals and the issues and form your own view on whether IES might be a positive move for schools or not.
In late January, the Prime Minister announced that government would be investing $359m in education.
The announcement said this move was to raise student achievement.
The plans had not been discussed with teachers, unions, parents, or Boards of Trustees beforehand.
After the announcement, a Working Group was formed to give advice on how to progress the Investing in Educational Success initiative.
Hekia Parata has refused to rule out that the plans would be forcible implemented if unions fail to agree the proposals.
Working Group has now reported on Investing in Educational Success. The report is divided into two parts. Part one contains the Working Group’s advice on the design and implementation of Investing in Educational Success. Part two provides advice and members’ independent background papers.
The initiative has been received with caution. Broadly speaking, it has been received less well by the primary school sector than the secondary school sector.
The Labour Party declared at this weekend that they would get rid of IES.
The Internet Party have not yet outlined what they would do.
Mana do not mention it in their education policy document.
National are, of course, in favour of IES, and Hekia Parata refused to rule out imposing it by force.
A detailed overview of IES, the background to it, the conflicts between secondary and primary sectors, and other issues is discussed in detail here, by Martin Thrupp, Professor of Education at the University of Waikato.
Please feel free to add links to additional information, below, in the comments.
Following the announcement of the Government’s Investing in Educational Success (IES) policy in January, Upper Hutt School Principals and Boards of Trustees were concerned about the direction of spending for the $359,000,000. We are excited about the prospect of a large sum of money being injected into education, but we question the use of this going mainly into salaries for just a few teachers and principals. We believe the greatest need for the $359,000,000 is for it to be paid directly to schools to support children’s learning.
In order to be proactive and informed, principals and boards have since met with representatives from NZ School Trustees Association, NZ Educational Institute and the Ministry of Education. We have also kept up to date with all information coming from the NZ Principals’ Federation and the latest (limited) information from the Ministry of Education about the policy detail.
At this point in time, despite our insistence and perseverance to ensure we are fully informed about the policy, we remain concerned that:
• the Ministry of Education has not actively sought the direct views of BOTs, principals and teachers;
• a substantial amount of funding is going to individual roles and salaries, when our community of Upper Hutt schools has identified other priorities;
• there appears to be a lack of evidence about the effectiveness of this policy on improving outcomes for children in NZ, and in particular, the children of Upper Hutt;
• the policy appears to promote competition within the sector, as opposed to supporting the way in which we currently work together;
• the short timeframe for implementation does not allow for adequate consultation with BOTs, principals, teachers and parents;
• the model appears to be an inflexible ‘one size fits all’;
• experienced, effective classroom teachers may be out of their own classrooms two days a week to perform the role of expert teacher.
After meeting with Graham Stoop from the Ministry of Education, it became apparent the justification for this policy is to create communities of schools who work collaboratively for the benefit of students in their local area. It was acknowledged by Stoop that Upper Hutt schools already work in a collaborative model with a range of networks to support our children. In our view, we do not require executive positions to be established, nor do we want a salary to go to an individual principal. We were absolutely clear that we want and need the money to go towards funding projects to support students in our schools.
We acknowledge that there are some potential strengths with IES, but believe that without a longer timeframe for development, genuine engagement with the profession and communities, and a rethink on the allocation of funds, this policy will not meet the needs of Upper Hutt children.
In our view, this policy represents a significant change in education and has far reaching implications for the way in which our schools are self-managed. Upper Hutt schools are and will continue to be fully committed to working together to support our children, without the proposed financial incentives for individuals. We believe it is really important that the Upper Hutt community is fully informed about this policy and its implications for our community.
If you have any questions, we are committed to answering these as best we can and pointing you in the direction of further information. Please don’t hesitate to contact any of us.
Birchville School Simon Kenny (Principal),
Fergusson Intermediate School Paul Patterson (Principal)
Fraser Crescent School John Channer (Principal)
Hutt International Boys’ School Mike Hutchins (Principal)
Maidstone Intermediate School Kerry Baines (Acting Principal)
Mangaroa School Glenys Rogers (Principal)
Maoribank School Paula Weston (Principal)
Oxford Crescent School Leanne White (Principal)
Pinehaven School Kaylene Macnee (Principal)
Plateau School Nigel Frater (Principal)
St Brendan’s School Nicole Banks (Acting Principal)
St Joseph’s School Peter Ahern (Principal)
Silverstream School Mary Ely (Principal)
Totara Park School Joel Webby (Principal)
Trentham School Suzanne Su’a (Principal)
Upper Hutt School Peter Durrant (Principal)
Ara Te Puhi (Board Chair)
Wendy Eyles (Board Chair)
Rose Tait (Board Chair)
Murray Wills (Board Chair)
Heather Clegg (Board Chair)
Dave Wellington (Board Chair)
Kerry Weston (Board Chair)
Leanne Dawson (Board Chair)
Hayden Kerr (Board Chair)
Darrell Mellow (Board Chair)
Jason Wanden (Board Chair)
Matt Reid (Board Chair)
Margaret Davidson (Board Chair)
Chris O’Neill (Board Chair)
Gavin Willbond (Board Chair)
The glittering $359k pay bonanza National dangled before teachers has failed to impress. The NZEI is checking in with members about what they want from the roles, and the NZPF has called an urgent meeting with Hekia Parata to discuss mounting concerns.
This should really hit home with people. Workers turning down money? Saying no to the yummy carrots being dangled? Rejecting the pot of gold? Why?
Well, it’s simple really. Teachers can’t see how these proposals will help students. That’s it, pure and simple. There is no point at all adding new positions if they aren’t going to serve the very people we are there for – the kids.
Ms Torrey of the Education Institute says the problem is that “…the ministry wants us to sort out a plan that they’ve come up with.” In other words, it’s another pre-ordained reform and teachers were meant to be so blinded by the cash they wouldn’t ask questions.
But they have asked question. Teachers do that. A lot.
Teachers asked whether the money could be used to make the more important improvements to the education system. What about the lack of funding for special needs, they asked? What about the shoddy professional development situation? Surely those should be considered too, before spending such a huge sum of money?
I am so grateful that teachers have stood back and asked these and other important questions.
Thankfully, teachers are quite clever folk, used to analysing ideas and situations and not taking things at face value. (It’s kind of important to have those skills when you are in charge of helping students learn…) So, rather than rolling on a bed of dollars shouting whoopee, teachers are asking questions, demanding to make changes based on sound research and robust ideas.
However the money is spent, any new initiative must be thought through carefully, honestly and transparently by all concerned so that what is agreed upon is the best for the education system and for the students.
So, Ms Parata, thank you for the acknowledgement that education needs an injection of funds, and thank you for acknowledging that there are some amazing lead teachers out there in our schools. I hope you listen to the concerns teachers have and understand that we want to be very sure that any proposed new roles clearly and directly benefit children’s learning. That is what matters to teachers the most.
It’s often said that no-one goes into teaching for the money, and that’s something you really do need to take heed of.
Yesterday on Q+A, Hekia Parata deftly implied that the teacher unions and, by implication, the teachers, are totally on board with performance pay. Not just on board, but helping sort out how it will go ahead.
Some of us suspected this was smoke and mirrors, the ole Hekia misdirection that we are so familiar with. So I did what any sensible person should. I asked the unions themselves. And the opposition parties, too. I asked them, “Are you in favour of performance pay for teachers?”
Here are the responses I have had so far, and the tell quite a different story to Hekia’s:
PPTA referred a member to this document and also Tweeted me via PPTAWeb to say:
PPTA do not support performance pay.
NZEI have not sent an official response, but individual reps responded to say:
NZEI does not support competition between schools or teachers. PUM’s are being held in the next couple of weeks. Expect a statement AFTER members have BEEN consulted.
Metiria Turei of the Green Party messaged me to state:
We are opposed to performance pay. All teachers should be priority rewarded for their skills and experience.
Chris Hipkins (Labour) Tweeted me to confirm:
Labour does not support basing teacher pay on student achievement. It’s no measure of ‘performance’
Chris Hipkins replied in more detail to my query on Facebook:
Labour is opposed to paying teachers based on student achievement, which is no true measure of ‘performance’. I object to the whole term ‘performance pay’ because it inevitably leads to pointless arguments about how to tell a good teacher from a poor one, when really we should be focused on how we support all teachers to be great teachers (quality professional development, great initial teacher training, better appraisal systems etc).
No word yet from NZPF. I will update you as soon as I hear from them.
Meanwhile, make sure your union rep, your MP, your principal, and your local newspaper all know that teachers do not want performance pay because it adversely affects their performance and will therefore be TO THE DETRIMENT OF THE STUDENTS.
During Hekia Parata’s interview on Q+A today, Corrin Dann asks “Will National go to a full performance pay scheme in the future?”
Hekia answers (at 11.12 of video) “We already have very strong consensus from the teacher unions as well as the profession, they are on the working group, recommending the design features for this. We are very focussed on getting this implemented from 2015 and fully implemented by 2017″
Is she refusing to answer the question posted there, and actually continuing to talk about the new ‘super’ roles, or did she really just imply the unions are on board with performance pay? Because those are two very different things.
So, because she wasn’t clear, I need to check…
Because there is a loud voice from teachers that they do NOT want this. And with good reason backed by much research.
Is Hekia avoiding, evading, stretching facts, fibbing, or telling the truth?
We really do need to know.
National Secretary Paul Goulter says the organisation has been concerned for some time about the way in which commissioners and limited statutory managers have been appointed to schools, and how they run their interventions.
He says the interventions often have a crippling effect on school finances and this directly affects the ability of the school to provide quality education for children.
Mr Goulter says there are a number of issues that need addressing, including costs to schools, unclear goals for the intervention and the lack of oversight by the Ministry.
“Under the current system there is no incentive for a commissioner or LSM to finish their task. Perversely, the system incentivises them to draw the process out.”
He says schools have to fund a significant part of the costs of these appointments out of their operational grants. This inevitably affects the quality of education.
“In some cases the costs of commissioners and LSMs would appear to be extremely hard to justify.”
“Many communities simply can’t make up, from sausage sizzles, the many tens of thousands of dollars costs that a commissioner can impose on a school.”
“It would be fair to say the Ministry takes a very hands-off role and, quite frankly, some commissioners appear to have remained in place for questionable lengths of time and behaved in questionable ways.”
At least 18 primary or intermediate schools have had their boards replaced with commissioners, while another 27 have been placed under limited statutory management.
A strong coalition of principal and teacher leaders have rejected the Government’s decision to make a computerised National Standards assessment tool, PaCT, compulsory for every primary school student in 2015.
Cease and desist
The NZ Principals’ Federation, NZEI Te Riu Roa, the NZ Association of Intermediate and Middle Schools, and the Catholic Principals Association have called on school boards, their colleagues and the organisations developing the ‘Progress and Consistency Tool’ (PaCT) to cease any involvement in the further development of PaCT, including this year’s trials of the tool.
The Government plans to make the PaCT mandatory from 2015, claiming it will make National Standards data more reliable. This is rejected by many.
The PaCT asks teachers to judge students’ National Standards levels by working through tick boxes of illustrations representative of achievement outcomes.
The PaCT tool then generates a result for each student. Principals and teachers say making the tool mandatory will undermine teacher professionalism, reduce quality teaching for students and cement in a reliance on data from National Standards.
Introducing National Testing by the back door
‘Making PaCT compulsory will be no different from having a national test with all the negative connotations that implies. Most dangerously it assumes that every child is the same, learns the same way and can achieve the same results. Every parent knows that is a ridiculous assumption,’ say the leaders.
No Evidence Supporting Performance Pay
It also opens the floodgates for other initiatives like competitive performance pay for teachers. There is no research evidence to show that when teachers receive performance pay it helps students learn better.
Quality Education into the future
Sir Ken Robinson has spoken out about the reforms (deforms) sweeping education, pointing out that children are organic and individual, not robots to be programmed. He argues that this type of reform is taking us in the polar opposite direction of what is needed for a world-class education system that moves us into the future. You can watch one of his very amusing and informative talks here:
Sound Education Policies not Political Sideshows
‘We want our teachers focused on delivering the broad rich curriculum which keeps Kiwi kids amongst the highest achievers in a twenty-first century world. Parents don’t want them distracted by these political side-shows which follow an agenda that will never improve children’s learning or achievement but rather reduce children to “sets of data”,’ the leaders say, asserting that:
‘For the parents and children of New Zealand, we have a moral obligation to ensure nothing, including PaCT, threatens the delivery of the world class NZ Curriculum, or interferes with our children’s ability to remain in the top international achievement rankings’
Education leadership unites on flawed Budget class sizes
Tuesday, 5 June 2012, 4:42 pm
5 June 2012
The sector meeting acknowledged the current economic climate and agreed that the Government’s Budget announcements, including increases in class size, are educationally flawed, contrary to the best interests of students and are collectively rejected by teachers, principals and Boards of Trustees.
We urge the Government to reverse the staffing announcements made in the Budget, including increases in class size, and enter into immediate discussions with the joint sector leadership group on how to sustain and continually improve the quality of teaching and the achievement of students.
We ask the Government to listen to the combined voice of the school sector, parent and public opinion and scrap this policy before damage is done to our children’s education.
The group has asked for an urgent meeting with the Minister of Education and has called for a halt on any implementation of the Budget decision.
• NZEI Te Riu Roa
• NZAIMS – NZ Association of Intermediate and Middle Schooling
• NZSTA – NZ School Trustees Association
• PPTA – Post Primary Teachers Association
• NZPF – New Zealand Principals’ Federation
• SPANZ – Secondary Principals’ Association of NZ
• PPTA Secondary Principals Council