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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.”

Who’s misbehaving?

There are around 100,000 registered teachers in NZ. – of this maybe 10 have been in the much over hyped news. That’s one in 10000.

Parliamentarians on the other hand have been misbehaving at probably 500 times that level. On this basis the government has stolen our professional body [the Teachers Council] from us (would they also do this to the medical council or the law society!). Now they wish to replace it with a politically nominated body to control our registration and disputes. This becomes a vehicle for them to introduce politically driven policies which have nothing to do with professional standards.

misdirectionThey are removing our right to representation on our body as we see fit. They are denying natural justice by publishing names before ‘guilt’ or misconduct are established. Despite claims to raise the recognition of teachers as professionals, they wish to ignore our code of ethics and replace it with their own code of conduct (laughable given how they abuse their own one).

Please be aware that they are manipulating the media to make it look like there is a crisis in teacher standards.

Their agenda is to bring in performance pay and do away with our professional representation via the Teachers Council and the PPTA/NZEI etc. I have worked in the private sector where everything was performance driven and collegiality goes out the window as teachers hunker down in their own little cubicles jealously guarding their knowledge and skills. This is so detrimental to the strengths of education in New Zealand.

On top of this, teachers are still dealing with the debacle that is Novopay. As the minister whispers too complicated I hear cut conditions.

Charter Schools are still being introduced despite evidence showing they are a poor decision. Teacher standards for these schools have also been lowered.

As I hear the minister whisper Private Partnerships I see truckloads of tax money being poured into them and nothing from the private partners.

The $350m on offer for expert and lead teachers and principals is being foist upon us with the government expecting us to figure out how to make it work in a matter of weeks (unpaid consultative work I might add). There was no discussion on whether this was the best way to spend an asset sale windfall in education. Where the minister whispers raising standards I see performance pay and a whole new level of management structure being foist upon teachers who will be expected to do even more work for no more money.

The government needs to clean up its own act. Perhaps they would be willing to let teachers oversee parliamentary privileges and MPs’ code of conduct??

by Glenn Cassidy 

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