By Peter Corlett

Nearly 300 primary teachers from Kapiti, the Horowhenua, and as far afield as Palmeston North gathered in Levin today (19th March), to discuss educational issues and the effects on children.

One message was that there appeared to be a lack of value or respect for teachers as shown by the way that the teaching workforce has been excluded from the process of educational change, despite the expertise and insight teachers hold about the needs of children.  The government is wanting to implement a standardised form of education, as if all children are the same and have the same needs…. we work hard to provide personalised learning … each child is an individual and should receive individualised learning.”, said NZEI field officer Yvette Taylor. “There is no research evidence that the approach the government is pursuing actually works … overseas evidence is that such an approach as the Minister Hekia Parata is seeking to impose, is ultimately detrimental to quality public schools and children’s learning.”

George West, from the Horowhenua Branch of NZEI, spoke about the wider issue of a global education reform education (GERM) and led a call to commit to fight to protect NZs quality public education system.  This included school based actions aimed at informing parents and the community about how proposed changes will negatively impact students.

The second vote was in support of the NZEI national executive calling for further action from members, that would likely include strike action in Term 2, if progress was not made on settling a new collective agreement for teachers. Their collective agreement expired last year.  Such an event is rare, with  Primary teachers have only ever gone on strike nearly two decades ago, in 1995, over the issue of pay parity.

Both resolutions were passed with an almost unanimous support.