Trumpisms in NZ Education

An unfair Govt. tax on teachers

By Peter Corlett

Donald Trump’s idea of building an impenetrable wall between the United States and Mexico is one that met a fair degree of ridicule around the world for a number of reasons, but in particular because he said that Mexico would pay for its construction. (Scroll down to May 2 for the latest on the wall proposition.)

While it can be argued that a president can decide how taxpayer dollars might be spent in their own country, it is a totally different story and somewhat arrogant to dictate how another country will allocate their spending for their citizens.

Would New Zealanders accept President Trump trying to make us pay for something he wants but we don’t?  Hell no.

And yet we have a similar situation being proposed for all teachers in NZ by our own government with the Education Council. Many of our community will be unaware that you have to pay to be allowed to be a teacher.

Teachers have to be registered to teach, and there is a cost to do so.  Because the payment to get registered is paid to a government agency, not a teacher run governing body, it is effectively an additional tax that has to be paid if you want to teach.

Here are the underlying issues:

  1. Expanded role for the Education Council mandated by the Government, not by teachers.

What used to be a professional body for teachers was changed and taken over by the government to regulate and control teaching and teachers.

Unlike other professional bodies referred to by the Education Council in their justification for raising registration costs, teachers do not have elected representation – What used to be the Teachers Council with its members elected by the profession was changed by legislation to the Education Council where members are now appointed by the Minister of Education.

This was acknowledged by the government which has agreed to pay the registration fees on an interim basis for some of the teaching workforce (ie union members.)   This is a limited, fixed term arrangement and there is no guarantee that this will continue as The Education Council has included directly deducting registration for teachers pay as part of their proposal.

  1. All teachers are required to be registered in order to teach.

Paid registration is mandatory and it is proposed that the cost of being able to teach is to be increased, and those affected have no control over the amount that will have to be paid.

Registration costs are currently up to $302 for 3 years, to a new cost of up to $610 as the  Education Council is seeking to make up the projected deficit of $9.595 million from 2019.

The proposed increase applies to all registered teachers working in early childhood, primary and secondary schools, and in English or Māori medium settings.

Under the Education Act 1989 it is illegal to teach more than 10 days a year and be a classroom teacher if you do not hold current registration.

Therefore there is a mandatory payment imposed on all teachers to be able to do their jobs, and it is proposed that this be increased. Effectively this is an additional tax on teachers to pay for a legislated process for NZ education.

It is like a Trump’s plan for a wall between the USA and Mexico “You will have it and you will pay for it!”