Educators are joining with disabled people, families and service providers to rally at Parliament tomorrow, Thursday 22 September, to let Government know that their Special Education Update is totally inadequate and it is time to invest in inclusion.
“NZEI is concerned that the Special Education Grant (SEG) paid to schools through operational grant funding is failing to keep up with wage inflation and roll growth,” said Louise Green NZEI Te Riu Roa President.
“Between 2009 and 2016, the SEG fell by 1.8% when labour cost increases are taken into account, according to information released to Education Aotearoa under the OIA.
“In the same period, school rolls have risen from 760,859 students to 776,816 and the identification of students with special education need has increased dramatically. So there really needs to be much more funding going into SEG than the Government is current providing to ensure the value of the funding per student increases.
“The SEG is mainly spent on teacher aides to help meet students’ special education needs. The inadequate levels of funding puts real pressure on a school’s ability to provide the best education possible for all their students.
“Any parent or teacher of a special needs child can tell you that the level of learning support funded through the Ministry of Education is inadequate, and in many cases non-existent.
“The recent Special Education Update proposal to shift resources to pre-schoolers, without putting any additional funding into the system won’t work in the best interests of all children who need the support. They need more funding.
“We strongly support greater investment in early intervention, but that should not come at the expense of those who need support when they are older. Funding should be based on the need for intervention and support, not age,” said Louise Green.
Education for All Rally
Where: Parliament forecourt
When: Tomorrow, Thursday 22 September 4.30-5.30pm
Organised by Education for All, a collaboration involving the disability and education sectors, including NZEI Te Riu Roa
Pearson executives work hard to justify the company’s actions and frame their motives as some sort of kindness – almost a humanitarian effort. The trouble is, more and more people are convinced they are in it only for the money.
Pearson’s tagline “Always Learning” has been co-opted by those unhappy with its reach, to say “Always Earning” – understandable when the company is taking over everything from text books, to tests, to teacher certification and now owning its own schools. Its tentacles go far and wide, like a leviathan.
Yesterday SOSNZ took part in a Twitterstorm focused on Pearson Plc’s dubious behaviour around education. The protest was timed to coincide with Pearson’s AGM in London, and I was honoured to represent NZ alongside the UK and USA is spreading the word about the company’s behaviour.
At the AGM, Pearson executives had to face questions about the company’s behaviour in promoting and running for-profit schools in some of the poorest places on earth, where the daily rate to attend can be as much as half of a family’s income. As if charging such a high rate of such poor people was not bad enough, the lessons are on tablets and must be read word-for-word by the teacher at a pace set by the app not the teacher (tough if you have a question or need to pause for any good reason). All this to classrooms crammed with 60-200 children.
A joint letter from National Union of Teachers (NUT), Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) and Global Justice Now, delivered to the Pearson CEO John Fallon at the AGM, read:
“From fuelling the obsessive testing regimes that are the backbone of the “test and punish” efforts in the global north, to supporting the predatory, “low-fee” for-profit private schools in the global south, Pearson’s brand has become synonymous with profiteering and the destruction of public education.”
The USA’s voice was also heard:
“We fight this kind of profit making to get kids a good education and fight for governments which gives students a high quality education.”
said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, who had flown to London to attend the AGM and be heard.
As well as pushing privatised schooling, there have been many and repeated concerns about the role of Pearson’s in promoting high stakes testing, notably in the USA. Concerns have centred around the quality of the tests, the secrecy around them, the fact that markers are found via Craigslist and need have no educational training, and the scandal of Pearson monitoring students’ online activity for mention of the tests,
It’s shocked many to discover Pearson are not beyond tracking down a student and reporting them to the school authorities to deal with – all for Tweeting about a test. The fact that they misrepresented the student’s actions by getting the timing and the content of the Tweet wrong is of huge concern. A multinational company chasing down one student all based on incorrect information. Big Brother would be proud.
Regarding Pearson’s infiltration of all things education, Schools Week UK reports that ATL general secretary Mary Bousted said
“School curricula should not be patented and charged for. Tests should not distort what is taught and how it is assessed.
“Unfortunately, as the profit motive embeds itself in education systems around the world, these fundamental principles come under ever greater threat leading to greater inequality and exclusion for the most disadvantaged children and young people.”
Indeed. When the education ship is being steered by those concerned mainly with profit, it is seriously off course and in danger of sinking, taking our children’s education with it.
Sources and further reading:
Everybody hates Pearson – Fortune
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.
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.
This Bill replaces the Teachers Council with EDUCANZ, and it is imperative you understand what changes that will usher in.
It is even more important that you send in a submission if you oppose those changes.
Thinking others will deal with it is as good as agreeing to the changes: If you think the changes are wrong, then you really do have to have your say.
Write and register your own submission here (the link is at the bottom of that page).
Do you want teachers’ professional body to be led by government appointees, have your voice silenced, have your professional status undermined, be replaced by cheap untrained labour, have LATs with criminal convictions in the classroom, and then pay for the privilege of all that?
If the answer is NO, then please make a submission.
Installation by Martin Thrupp, Donn Ratana and Viv Aitken
Faculty of Education, University of Waikato, March 2014
This year the Key Government has become unusually upbeat about schools. Festivals of Education are celebrating innovations, collaborations and achievements within the sector. An ‘InspiredbyU’ campaign has been encouraging New Zealanders to write in praise of teachers who have influenced their lives. In January, $359 million of new funding for principals and teacher ‘super roles’ was announced, the so-called ‘Investing in Educational Success’ policy.
This enthusiasm comes after five years of being critical of schools and teachers and often applying damaging policies. It also comes in election year, and just in advance of an ‘International Summit on the Teaching Profession’ where education ministers, heads of teacher unions and teacher leaders from the OECD are gathering in Wellington.
New Zealand’s Education Minister, Hekia Parata, has claimed it is credit to the quality of our education system that this event is being held in New Zealand.
In these circumstances (i.e. in case anyone should get a false impression!) our video highlights how the Key Government’s policies are creating a grave situation for the New Zealand School System.
The site allows you to input your letter and details, tick the newspaper you want, and hit send. Easy.
The page allows you to search for MPs by party and name, and is easy to use.
– type your letter in a word processor, spell checker it, proof read a final time and then paste the text of your letter back over to the web page ready to send. (The web page doesn’t spell check your letter.)
– if you want to write to more than one newspaper and stand a good chance of being published, bear in mind that newspapers usually want exclusive letters (i.e. not the same letter sent to multiple newspapers). It pays to rewrite/re-edit your letter for each newspaper, so that you have more chance of them being published.
– speak to the issues not about the people involved.
Also, you may wish to:
– Share this page and encourage others to do their bit. No matter where you are in the debate, all voices are essential for a healthy discussion.
– Share your letter with others to inspire them
Thank you for doing your bit. Every voice counts.
Oh, and one more thing, please be sure to…
It is astounding the list of wrongs done to the Kiwi education system in a few short years. I’m not exaggerating – it is just beyond belief. To the point that when I try to think of it all, my head hurts and a thousand conflicting issues start fighting for prominence rendering me unable to sort through the spaghetti of information and in need of a big glass of Wild Side feijoa cider.
I live and breathe this stuff, and if I find it bewildering I can only imagine what it does to the average parent or teacher, grandparent or support staff.
So I am truly grateful that Local Bodies today published a post listing the long list of things public education has had thrown at it since National came to power.
This is the list. It needs to be read then discussed with friends, colleagues, family, teachers, students, MPs and the guy on the train. Because this is it – this is what has been thrown at education in a few short years. It is no overstatement to say that New Zealand Public education is under attack.
Take a breath, and read on:
A National led Government was elected and New Zealand’s public education system came under heavy attack:
You can add to the list the change to teacher training that allows teachers to train in 6 weeks in the school holidays and then train on the job in one school without varied practicums, just as Teach For America does to bring in low cost, short term, untrained ‘teachers’. (Coincidentally great for charter schools, especially those running for profit.)
The full Local Bodies article is here. It is well worth sharing and discussing (share the original, not this – the full article is better)
Please be aware that what has already gone on is just the preamble to far more extensive measures getting increasing more about Milton Friedman’s “free market” than about good, equal, free public education for all.
Unless you want NZ to descend into the horrors being seen now in England and the United States, you need to act. How?
Because three more years like this and the list above will look like child’s play.
“I think there are two ways in which people controlled. First of all frighten them, and secondly, demoralised.” Tony Benn
When I heard him say that, I actually started to cry.
This is exactly what is being done to our teachers (and others) and it breaks my heart.
The constant barrage of negative comments from Ministers, the changes to the education system, put there to erode decent working conditions and even our love for the job. Novopay – keeping enough teachers fearful of not being paid on time or at all that it demoralised whole rafts of them. Bring in untrained teachers – scare the trained ones into putting up with anything in the hope they keep their jobs when it all goes to pot later down the line.
It’s all control.
Goodbye and bless your heart, Tony Benn, for your inspiration and your integrity.
If you DO NOT support performance pay for teachers, please sign this petition to Hekia Parata.
She says teachers are in favour of it. If we are not, we need to make sure she is very clear that isn’t the case. It will also serve to inform the wider public that teachers do not want performance pay as it is detrimental to the very teamwork and best practice we need to do our jobs well.
Judging by the huge response to the questions Why are Kiwi teachers not up in arms?, it’s clear that many people want to do something. Want to be heard. And rightly so. It seems that many feel helpless and are not sure what they can do. But never underestimate the power of even one more voice.
This is what YOU can do:
Talk to others, share articles, blog posts (like this), memes, and so on. Share on your own blog pages, on Facebook, on Twitter, in groups and forums. Most people will scoot past, for sure, but there is always the chance one or two people will start to pay attention. Every voice counts.
All action is valuable – do your bit.
JOIN THE KIWI BATS (BADASS TEACHERS ASSOCIATION)
If you think the education reforms hitting the Kiwi public school system are not in the best interest of students, come and join us, whether you are a teacher or not, in a union or not, whatever your political persuasion, and make your voice heard. We all need to speak together, and we will make sure our collective voices are heard in simple but effective ways. https://www.facebook.com/groups/KiwiBATS/
MAKE SURE THE UNIONS ARE ACTING FOR YOU
If you are in the primary sector, make sure you go to your Paid Union Meetings (PUMS) that take place between 24th March and 4th April. A full list of when and where they are is here. Attend, find out what is going on, ask questions, make your own views heard, and discuss the issues with others. The unions can only speak for you if you let them know what you want of them.
BE HEARD IN YOUR COMMUNITY
Write to your local MPs, newspapers and school Boards of Trustees (BOTs) and make your voice heard. A list of MP and newspaper addresses to get you started can be found right here.
Parents, you in particular in are in a good position to make a difference – you have a lot of sway – your voices count, and count a lot.
RUN FOR OFFICE
Hey, go for gold. Just imagine what you could do if you were on a board or in the Beehive.
Are teachers just too worn out teaching to get into the battle to save public education?
Is there just so much being thrown at the sector right now that people don’t know what to tackle first?
Is it that people care but haven’t got the oomph?
Or do they just not care?
Are the unions doing enough to talk to us?
Should the unions’ leadership be doing more to lead us?
Maybe many teachers don’t understand what is going on, regarding world-wide education reforms (deforms)?
I really don’t know.
But I do know we have to galvanise and stand up for ourselves before it’s too late.
So what should we do?
Beware the global education reform movement (GERM)
Global reforms are just that. Global. The same damage is being inflicted worldwide to schools in large and small communities, causing distress and doing nothing to improve education. Often quite the opposite.
This is Cedar, a small community in Canada. I only heard about Cedar because my gorgeous friend James lives there. James isn’t a political soul. Or he wasn’t … until the GERM arrived in Cedar and started on his local schools:
Our school district wants to close down four schools in our community.
They’ve already voted to do so based on untruths and lack of information regarding the closures on the community as a whole. We’re a rural community.
They used to bus the grades 8-12 out of here to schools in town because there was no high school in Cedar. So they built one. Now they want to close all the elementary schools, merge them into one of 500 students, house them in the high school and bus the high school kids into town again!
It would be a stab in the heart for the community as a whole.
There are a lot of people not happy about this.
Closing schools? Merging schools? Leaving students to travel long distances? And all against the community’s wishes? Cedar, you really do need to speak to the good people of Christchurch, and in particular follow the Phillipstown School court case.
for young children to negotiate the Ferry Rd/Aldwins Road intersection [in Chch] always has me cringe since some years ago I witnessed a 10 yr old girl get crushed under the wheels of a giant truck as she cycled from school— this intersection could not be safely used with out direct supervision and who will the volunteers be — unpaid — because the dept wants to super school and destroy a community
Help Phillipstown School
A Campaign Fund for Phillipstown School legal challenge has been setup It is called WE ARE PHILLIPSTOWN. The bank account for donations is ANZ 06-0807-0114631-75
Help Cedar Schools
You can stay follow and help Cedar schools’ campaign here:
Good luck to all concerned and to everyone out there fighting reforms that put children and learning behind money and politics. The GERM is multiplying fast, but with loud and active enough parents and educators, it can be sterilised.