The Education Amendment Bill, which had its 3rd reading in the House last night, replaces the Teachers Council with a new body, EDUCANZ and removes the right of teachers to vote for representation on the new board. Instead, the Minister of Education will appoint all members.
NZEI National President Louise Green says that this is another attempt to reduce the influence that teachers have on decisions affecting their daily practice.
She says teachers have particular concerns around the introduction of a Code of Conduct which could effectively gag their ability to speak out and advocate for children.
“This is not about improving education for children, this is about trying to remove the professional voice from teaching.
Louise Green says that despite this latest move, teachers will continue to speak out against policies that undermine our public education system.
“Teachers are not state servants, we are public servants. We have commitments to learners, families and society under our Code of Ethics. This means we have a responsibility to advocate for the right of all children to have a great education.
“Parents need to ask why the Government is targeting the teaching profession in a way that it wouldn’t dare target doctors, accountants or lawyers.”
Parata is trumpeting her loving regard for teachers and how this respect has lead her to allow five whole teachers onto the panel of EDUCANZ, the replacement Teachers Council that no-one in the sector wants and that educators argued forcefully against at the recent Education Amendment Bill select committees.
She’s love us to believe that she has seen the light and is taking teachers seriously at last. NewsTalk ZB trumpets that “Minister of Education Hekia Parata supports the move saying it clarifies the intent for the council to have a strong core of teaching experience.”
What she and ZB are not so keen to mention is that she is the one that will pick the 5 teachers, and her alone.
Yes, that’s right – the teachers don’t get to choose their own representatives. Unlike doctors, lawyers or any other profession of note, we will have out so-called representatives chosen for us.
Why would that be the case?
Simple really, Hekia hand-picking them means she can be sure to get folk who will toe the line… yes men and women. EDUCANZ will be more a political tool than an educational one.
So, let’s face it, as back downs go, it’s a fizzer.
Parata in fact didn’t listen to the concerns of people at spoke at select committee over the course of many days, at many locations, and so eloquently explained why the proposed changes were not sound.
The Select Committee sat, Hekia pretended to listen, and she forged ahead with the plan as it stood…
(Can you tell I’m seething?)
Anyone trumpeting that one change is blind to the reality. And, given past form, the apparent change of heart was probably planned from the start so the spin doctors could whip up some media hoohah about how well they listened.
“Go in hard and make one pre-planned concession to look benevolent” could be on Hekia’s coat of arms.
It’s a farce. That is not democracy in action.
At select committee after select committee this government has gone through the motions and ignored all evidence in front of it. It’s done because it has to be done, for show, not to inform. They don’t listen. In fact, having attended some of them as a viewer, I can say that the left ask most of the questions for clarification whilst the right usually stay pretty much shtum. I assume they work on the old lawyer rule which is that one should never ask a question one might not want to know the answer to.
Meanwhile we are again in the position of the education system being sneakily undermined, bit by bit, while many teachers and the huge majority of the public are unaware of the repercussions of what’s going on.
Only when our schools are in the state of those in other reform-crazy countries like the USA and England will people finally take notice and ask what the hell happened. Then we’ll have a hell of a job to undo the harm that’s been inflicted.
Be warned, NZ, this will not end well.
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.”
NZEI National President Judith Nowotarski says this will go a long way to ensuring that teaching remains highly professional and that the best and brightest enter the profession.
“In recent years there has been virtually no oversight of teacher training and this has led to too many courses, too many students and not enough emphasis on quality.”
“There needs to be a very high standard of entry into such an important profession. Our children deserve only the best.”
Ms Nowotarski says Labour’s policy is a welcome shift from the current government’s policy of “dumbing down” the teaching profession by allowing unqualified and unregistered people into charter schools and early childhood education.
“It is ironic that the government constantly talks of improving teaching quality while at the same time allowing untrained and unregistered people to act as teachers in charter schools and early childhood education centres.”
Quality of education in early childhood would also get a big boost under Labour.
“We welcome Labour’s plans to require early childhood education centres to employ at least 80 percent qualified staff at early childhood centres.
“Once again, this is a big point of difference between the current government’s quantity over quality approach to early childhood education.
“Labour’s policies, including smaller class sizes, will go a long way towards improving education for New Zealand children, especially those who are vulnerable and struggling.”
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.
The changing face of teaching and how the replacement Teachers Council, EDUCANZ, will seal teachers’ fate as “classroom technicians that have to support politically prescribed programmes and data collection” says Dave Kennedy:
The New Zealand Teacher’s Council is the crown entity that is currently the professional and regulatory body for all teachers from early childhood through to most other educational institutions. The NZTC has done some excellent work in developing professional mentoring programmes, developing the Registered Teacher Criteria and maintaining professional standards. It has done this with a relatively limited budget and unlike the Medical Council, which operates independently from the Government, theNZTC has 11 people on the Governing Council, but only 4 are independently elected by the profession, the rest are Ministerial appointees.
Parents and children should be served by professionals who are motivated and driven by the ethics and ideals of the profession and a duty of care that is not corrupted by political ideology. For doctors, the sanctity of their relationship with their patients is paramount and without high levels of confidentiality and trust they would often struggle to treat their patients when a full disclosure of their life-style and medical history is necessary. Teaching and learning should be about meeting the needs of each child based on the professional knowledge of the teacher and parents need the reassurance that their child’s interests come before politically driven expectations. To truly operate as a profession teachers need to have a teachers council that is independent of both the Government and unions.
I find it appalling that we have a Government that is deliberately and dishonestly undermining the teaching profession by suggesting that there is a crisis in teacher quality and discipline and that political measures are needed to solve it. The idea of a teacher using their position to abuse children is every bit as abhorrent for teachers as it is for the general public and yet there is the encouraged perception that the profession had deliberately protected such people and that there is a widespread problem of offending teachers. The facts tell a different story.