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Government continues bid to remove political independence of teachers – NZEI

stressThe government has ignored the overwhelming concerns of New Zealanders in its bid to quash the political independence of the teaching profession.

The Education Amendment Bill has been reported back to the House with a recommendation that it be passed.

The legislation will makes it easier for unqualified and unregistered people to act as teachers in charter schools as well as removing the right of teachers to directly elect their own professional body.

“The government has completely disregarded the overwhelming number of submissions which called on it to allow the new teacher representative body to remain professionally rather than politically driven,” says NZEI National Secretary Paul Goulter.

“Instead, once the legislation is passed, the Minister will handpick representatives for the new EDUCANZ body being set up to replace the Teachers’ Council.

“What other professional body has their representatives chosen by the Minister of the day rather than electing their own representatives?”

“This legislation is about ideology and undermining the teaching profession – not about addressing the needs of all New Zealand children and ensuring their right to quality public education.

“The government has also disregarded the views of New Zealanders who have made it clear they don’t want unqualified and unregistered people teaching in our schools.

“This is a major step backwards and will put the education of many children at risk.

“I am sure that New Zealanders will see how this legislation completely contradicts the government’s rhetoric about wanting to improve the quality of education.”

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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