Ministry of Education`s Offer
By Peter Corlett
29th November 2012
Kapiti Coast teachers say Ministry’s claims will damage education for kids
Primary School Teachers from Paekakariki to Otaki met recently to discuss the Ministry of Education’s latest employment offer. The negotiating teams say the offer will be damaging to quality public education in New Zealand.
Many teachers wore black and red, in support of their colleagues in Canterbury, many who have or will lose their jobs due to the restructuring and merger of schools.
The Kapiti meeting, held at the Paraparaumu Bowling Club last Friday, 25th November, was part of a series of meetings around the country this month by teachers to discuss their collective agreement talks with the Ministry. The Kapiti meeting with 189 teachers followed a similar meeting in Wellington where over 1300 teachers attended.
“Teachers believe that the claims put up by the Ministry, are linked to a business model of education, driven by cost-cutting and competition,” says Peter Corlett, local branch president.
Known as the Global Education Reform Movement (GERM), these education policies based on competition, data-based accountability, standardisation and supposed choice have failed to boost student achievement in other countries. Of great concern to Waikanae School teacher Paul Forster, is the introduction of education reforms that have clearly failed overseas, as shown in the international data from the PISA research. “It concerns me greatly that the government wants to persist with a system that is proven to fail overseas and jeopardise educational achievements of children in New Zealand,” he said.
“The Ministry’s claims could open the gates to competitive criteria in the pay system, based on National Standards data. Given that John Key is on record as saying that such data is ‘ropey’, such a move has many inherent problems. While rejecting any government’s pay proposals with regard to performance pay based on subjective test results, the NZEI`s alternative proposal, based on skills and attestation criteria and open to all teachers who achieve those criteria, would be likely to receive support from teachers,” Corlett said.
“The current government approach would lead to greater inequity in our school system and have very damaging consequences to children’s learning” he said.
NZEI is instead proposing a new career path model for teachers to keep good teachers in the classroom and to recognize expertise and skills, while maintaining professional collegiality.
“GERM is a policy alien to the culture of New Zealand schools,” says Peter Corlett. “It’s first manifestations here – National standards, league tables and proposals for charter schools and performance pay are strongly rejected by teachers.
“It has become clear to us that the GERM agenda has infected the Ministry’s approach. These claims are not just an attack on teachers, but the whole of our education system as we know it.”
Raumati South teacher and Kapiti Branch vice-president Jim Swift says the antidote to GERM is quality public education based on fairness and equity, collaboration, professional responsibility, trust and personalised learning for each child such as the high-performing Finnish education system. We should be looking to countries where international research shows even higher student performance levels and be implementing their policies, not the failed policies from lower performing countries.”
“The GERM is none of this. It is the opposite. We will fight these claims not just for ourselves but for Kiwi kids because we believe it will undermine our world-class education system.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
NZEI Peter Corlett 027-2977946 or Jim Swift firstname.lastname@example.org
NZEI MEDIA: Debra Harrington 04-3822703 or 027-2683291 or Kate Drury 027-2767131