Herald misses the key element – GDP

September 15th, 2010 at 9:01 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

New Zealand teachers are some of the lowest paid in the OECD, despite working more hours than most of their overseas counterparts, an international report reveals.

The annual at a Glance report, which compares the systems of the 29 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, found that after 15 years’ experience, a New Zealand teacher made $10,000 a year less than OECD counterparts on average.

The entire article is peppered with stats designed to give the impression our teachers are underpaid. It reads like a and press release. But they have missed out the most important stat – our GDP. I blogged this in response last week, and need to repeat it again:

I am not surprised teachers in Australia get paid more. Everyone in Australia gets paid more – they are a wealthier country. The solution to this problem is to increase productivity growth.

The better comparison between countries is how much do teachers get paid, compared to the average wage, or how much does a country spend on education as a percentage of GDP.

The OECD report answers the latter.

In Australia 3.5% of GDP is spent on non-tertiary education, and in New Zealand it is 4.0%. So we are already paying more as a percentage of GDP, than Australia. Hence the solution is to increase GDP, not to increase the share spent on education.

Only three OECD countries spend a higher percentage of GDP on non-tertiary education than New Zealand.

So all these stats about how teachers are paid less than the OECD average – it is because we earn less than the OECD average, and it is basic economic that you have to generate the wealth to spend it.

What would be good is if someone did some proper comparisons, such as what do NZ teachers get paid, compared to the average wage for their country and/or what do teachers get paid compared to the average GDP per capita.

The OECD doesn’t seem to have up to date average wage data for NZ, but there is good data on GDP per capita. So let’s compare teacher salaries to GDP per capita. Taking a primary teacher with 15 years experience, the data is:

  • Australia $46,096 salary vs $38,911 GDP per capita = 118% ratio
  • UK/England $44,630 vs $34,619 = 129%
  • France $31,927 vs $33,679 = 95%
  • Luxembourg $67,723 vs $78,395 = 86%
  • US $44,172 vs $46,381 = 95%
  • NZ $38,412 vs $26,708 = 144%
  • OECD $39,426 vs $35,138 = 112%

So in fact New Zealand is paying primary teachers with 15 years experience far more, compared to our national wealth, than the OECD average, and than Australia, the US, UK, US, France etc.

Even if ones takes secondary teachers with 15 years experience, NZ at 144% pays far more relative to national wealth than even Luxembourg. So bear this in mind as you read:

They also started on an average of $10,000 less than Australian counterparts and earned up to $82,000 less than those in top-paying Luxembourg.

Again – that is because those countries are far wealthier.

New Zealand teachers get paid more, than almost any other country, compared to GDP per capita, and almost inevitably the average wage.

And if you think that this is not the relevant comparison, then you probably think money grows on trees.

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72 Responses to “Herald misses the key element – GDP”

  1. Brian Smaller (4,036 comments) says:

    Teachers also get 2 months off a year, or more. I have had one week off in nine months.

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  2. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    Good analysis DPF. Of course the whole notion that a teacher with 15 years experience is worth x dollars is complete nonsense. I could show you two teachers with 15 years experience …and one is worth 0.5x while the other is worth 2x.

    @Brian – the useless ones get two months off. The good ones do quite a bit of elective planning, prep work and subject material updates over that period.

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  3. Doug (408 comments) says:

    Teachers should have be able to work this out themselves, maybe they should sit the National Standard Test.

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  4. kowtow (8,114 comments) says:

    We’re also suffering from “othersideoftheworlditis”. Haven’t they heard there’s the mother of all recessions on and public servants the world over are losing their jobs? And the cupboard is empty.

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  5. wreck1080 (3,853 comments) says:

    After years of economic decline, our per capita GDP is really falling behind. This is despite Helen Clarks economic promises in 2000 and John Keys promise to catch Australia. Unfortunately she was never held accountable and neither will John Key.

    John Key had his chance to reform the economy, yet he chose to tinker with tax rates.

    The Teachers have themselves to blame for not voting Act. Act were the only political party who had any idea on fixing the economy.

    All the losers out there whining that they can’t see a doctor/specialist when needed, or , are underpaid, or can’t afford fish/meat etc, only have themselves to blame for voting governments with flawed economic policies. Of course things look expensive when your country is becoming poorer.

    Things are only going to get worse. There will be some medical horror stories in future. We just can’t afford to keep up. NZ has been on a downhill slide since the 1950’s, and, it will continue as long as we travel the same old worn path.

    Unfortunately Act has imploded somewhat, so they may not be viable now.

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  6. Nick R (504 comments) says:

    DPF – Have you ever seen any report, anywhere, that is not capable of being interpreted as meaning that teachers are overpaid, ideologically blinkered propogandists, poorly performing, etc.

    You just seem to hate teachers. You can never say this frankly (you only hate the bad ones, or the unions, or not the teachers you meet, etc). But you’d probably be happier if the Government used the new Canterbury Earthquake law to legalise teacher hunting.

    Why is this? Did you have a miserable time at school? Please explain – inquiring minds want to know.

    [DPF: You really should not invent things. I have said many times I'd like the top teachers to be paid over $100,000 - just for being a great teacher. The good teachers are underpaid - it is just sad their union won't support them to be paid more with performance pay.

    I had a great time at school, and my favourite teacher was Ken Wilson. He was inspirational, as was Bruce Reid, Marian Findlay and Wayne Jackson to name a few. Sadly Ken left Rongotai to become the Director of Advocacy for the PPTA!]

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  7. MikeG (425 comments) says:

    How about doing a similar comparison with say the PM’s and/or backbenchers salaries to put the teachers ratio in some sort of NZ context.

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  8. DeepScience (74 comments) says:

    I think the PM’s salary went up 10% didn’t it and kiwiblog was all for it?
    What you seem to be suggesting DPF is that cutting the teacher’s pay by 1/3rd would be logical.
    Clearly such a statistic link with GDP makes little or no sense in the NZ context.

    One of the main problems is 9 years of Labours spin on NCEA. The whole bloated affair imposes such a ridiculous work load and expense that they are looking to drop it in favour of the teachers doing all the marking unpaid instead of having external exams.

    [DPF: No I am not saying teachers should have a pay cut. What I am saying is that it is nonsense to compare teachers pay rates with pay rates in other countries, if you don't take account of whether those other countries are wealthier than NZ or not. If NZ does not produce more wealth, we can not afford to pay our teachers more. We already pay them a greater share of our wealth than most other countries. So the solution is not to have a 4% pay increase, but to improve our economy.]

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  9. Brian Smaller (4,036 comments) says:

    @Brian – the useless ones get two months off. The good ones do quite a bit of elective planning, prep work and subject material updates over that period.

    Well the good ones should be paid more than the slackers.

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  10. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    I had a great time at school

    Indeed. And some of the teachers remember you quite well :)

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  11. OTGO (535 comments) says:

    I saw a group of placard waving teachers on the footpath outside a National MP’s electorate office on the way to work this morning. Told the bludgers they should be at work teaching my kids instead of setting this sort of example. Blank looks all round. Of course everyone wants more money but the mood amongst them was one of enjoying a day off school. Much like the students actually!
    What with the young doctors, radiographers and now teachers under industrial action one would almost think it is planned by some central body?

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  12. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    @DeepScience – If you think knowledge attainment can be 100% measured by ‘external exams’ then the depth of your science does not include education. Measurement can and should involve various assessment methods – and NCEA provides for that. My beef with NCEA is the nonsense knowledge domains for which credits can be earned, not with the NCEA assessment mechanism.

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  13. MikeG (425 comments) says:

    DPF – could you please verify the numbers above. In the Stuff.co.nz article of 7Jul10 which discusses the Econmist article ranking the salary of various PM’s around the world it mentions a figure of $46,483 GDP per capita for NZ.

    The article also says “Mr Key ranks above United States president Barack Obama, Australia’s Julia Gillard and Britain’s David Cameron on the Economist’s table. The table is based on International Monetary Fund, press reports and official sources.”

    I don’t hear you saying that the PM is overpaid.

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  14. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    “I don’t hear you saying that the PM is overpaid.”

    Look for his post on it. It’s there, somewhere.

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  15. GPT1 (2,115 comments) says:

    Or alternatively – “NZ teachers amongst the highest paid in the South Pacific with only Australian teachers paid more. A New Zealand teacher earns approximately 6 times that of a teacher in Fiji and 8 times a teacher in Somoa…” (Those figures are just a guess although I suspect a conservative one).

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  16. kiwi in america (2,495 comments) says:

    I had this debate with my brother in Auckland who is a HS teacher. I told him why should the government go into debt more to pay them 4% when most in the private sector were having to live with zero pay increases plus enhanced employment uncertainty. Should doctors and nurses be paid less so teachers can be paid more. In constrained budgetary times, what government services should we all give up so teachers can each have a new laptop. He countered with the paid less than Australian teachers argument and I repeated that everyone is paid more in Australia because its a wealthy country. Its wealth is built on the very minerals NZ is too cowered by green sensibilities to properly exploit. The net result – a country that Jeanette Fitzsimmons feels comfortable in but gets poorer compared to Australia as each year goes by.

    Finally I said that you cannot legislatively close the wage gap with Australia and other countries. The only answer is for NZ to increase its GDP more rapidly but NZ politicians (and voters for that matter) won’t do the tough things needed to make that happen.

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  17. DeepScience (74 comments) says:

    @OTGO I don’t know any teachers getting “a day off school”. We all just had senior exams and most, when not out holding signs, are back spending a day marking exams without pay.

    @krazykiwi Nice one going straight for ad hominem without any argument. Actually, pretty much ignoring my point too and making a fine strawman along the way. What assesment mechanism are you talking about that you like? It has changed so many times and now is changing again towards pure internal assessment, only excellence questions in exams, multiple levels of A, M, E grades. “Assessment mechanism” I have to LOL.

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  18. Brian Smaller (4,036 comments) says:

    Deepscience – you still haven’t explained where the money is coming from to give a 4% payrise. Private sector workers are lucky to keep their jobs, let alone get a payrise.

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  19. burt (8,174 comments) says:

    DPF

    You must be nuts if you think that socialists are going to acknowledge that there is a relationship between GDP and real wages. When the socialist are in opposition they might occasionally concede that GDP is important but they know that as soon as they are in power it’s only a matter of a few short years before socialist policies stuff productivity and GDP starts to fall. At this time the socialists will stick their heads in the sand and pretend that GDP has nothing to do with wages and just start spending more money than they collect via taxes which guarantees we end up in a worse economic position than before they decided their short term popularity was more important than long term economic growth.

    But hey good luck DPF, I doubt the socialists will ever comprehend that we need to grow the pie rather than just change how it’s cut up. Redistribution satiates the policies of envy muppets and if you tell the low earners enough times that the high earners are evil they will vote for more redistribution and recession is guaranteed and the state dependence it generates is in the best interest of the self serving socialists who put being elected ahead of delivering good governance.

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  20. burt (8,174 comments) says:

    Brian

    The money comes from the gummit – it has heaps ya know cause it f##ks over them rich pricks…

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  21. Max Call (212 comments) says:

    Most of the teachers I know work very hard during the ‘holidays’.
    Most of the teachers I know will be working today (for no pay! at home, on their remote desktop). End of term 3 is a high workload time having just finished practice exams, reports to write and revision programmes to prepare for.

    ALSO – the negotiations are NOT JUST ABOUT PAY!!
    I am absolutely disgusted that class size maximum is up on the negotiation table. At present it is bad enough where they must ‘endeavour’ to a maximum class size (number depending on level) without actually properly resourcing it. Research has shown that one-on-one time with the teacher is one of the best ways to ensure effective learning.
    What do you think will happen if class sizes increase?????

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  22. Max Call (212 comments) says:

    also – they seem to have enough $ when it comes to their mates who have invested in dodgy finance companies…. that is what I call unrealistic!!

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  23. burt (8,174 comments) says:

    Max Call

    Last time we had a significant increase in class sizes was when Mallard started shutting down schools all over the place because administration was made more simple for the Min-Ed when there were fewer larger schools with packed classrooms. So yeah, class size is a big problem and teachers pay (like most people in NZ) is not internationally competitive. It’s OK though cause the teachers can get WFF and if they don’t have kids then they are not real people according to Labour social policy so stuff em.

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  24. Gosman (336 comments) says:

    What are the average class sizes in the OECD?

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  25. Brian Smaller (4,036 comments) says:

    Class sizes have been an issue since I was at school and we had 38 kids in Room 5 Durie Hill School in 1969.

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  26. Brian Smaller (4,036 comments) says:

    also – they seem to have enough $ when it comes to their mates who have invested in dodgy finance companies…. that is what I call unrealistic!!

    Your Labour mates were in power when the government guarantee scheme was made law.

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  27. wreck1080 (3,853 comments) says:

    @burt:

    “You must be nuts if you think that socialists are going to acknowledge that there is a relationship between GDP and real wages.

    At least, until ‘Greece’ happens.

    When there are 0 dollars in the government cheque account, no one will lend you because you are not even servicing current debt, and the ‘teachers’ are clambering for pay increases, then what ? THat is the direction the teachers are taking us.

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  28. MikeG (425 comments) says:

    Kiwiblog misses the key point – Context

    PM salary v GDP/capita ($US)
    Australia $286,752 v $47,400 = 629%
    New Zealand $271,799 v $30,050 = 904%

    Farrar is complaining that relative to GDP/capita NZ teachers are paid 22% more than their Aussie counterparts (118% v 144%), but this is insignificant compared to the 44% more that our PM is paid compared to Australia. I repeat what I said in an earlier comment – how about some context and look at other occupational classes using the same measure to see if teachers really are being greedy.

    Sources: The Economist and IMF

    [DPF: The PM has not gone on strike, and has not refused to turn up unless he is paid more. In fact he donates much of his salary to charity]

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  29. dime (9,788 comments) says:

    lol i love a teacher thread.

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  30. YesWeDid (1,048 comments) says:

    DPF, I’d like you to use this same ‘% of average wage’ argument next time doctors look for a pay rise.

    Really you argument makes no sense, the teachers don’t live in Luxemborg or the US they live in New Zealand and like most people here in NZ they would like their wages to at least keep pace with inflation.

    Your on going campaign against teachers seems to be driven by you dislike of unions and a dog whistle call to the usual gang of idiots who think teachers are all a bunch socialists.

    It’s funny I never seen you criticize the obscene pay packets some of our wonderful captains of industry get, but teachers, you dump on them any chance you get.

    [DPF: Again you are making things up. Captains of industry are not on strike - teachers are. I do not dislike unions per se - in fact I have encouraged many people to join a union when I think they should. I dislike it when unions make unreasonable demands]

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  31. Max Call (212 comments) says:

    it is interesting that people are replying to my comments with stuff about Labour…. I didn’t vote Labour. Labour is not who teachers are now negotiating with. It wasn’t Labour who renewed SCF under the deposit guarantees.

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  32. Brian Smaller (4,036 comments) says:

    The current PM donates his salary to charity.

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  33. Max Call (212 comments) says:

    Also; we have kids but don’t qualify for WFF (in reply to earlier comment).

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  34. Zapper (1,002 comments) says:

    Doesn’t John Key donate his salary to charity? I’m sure he’d be more than happy to reduce the salary for the next Labour PM, which hopefully occurs in about 30+ years.

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  35. burt (8,174 comments) says:

    Max Call

    Well I have kids and don’t get WFF either. Having made the decision that I couldn’t afford a large family and didn’t want to be dependent on state handouts forever I guess I deserve to be ignored by the socialists. I was never going to vote for them so they had no need to appeal to me.

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  36. MikeG (425 comments) says:

    “The current PM donates his salary to charity.”
    That is totally irrelevant to this thread. I would have preferred to have used a backbencher salary in my comparison, but couldn’t find that info as easily as the PM salary. BTW, what charity is the recipient of his salary?

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  37. Pete George (23,420 comments) says:

    If you look at education dollars spent being an investment in the future, both in trying to improve education overall and in addressing the cost to society of those who are now missing out on a half decent education then the best wages should be spent on early childhood and the first couple of years at school.

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  38. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    New Zealand teachers get paid more, than almost any other country, compared to GDP per capita, and almost inevitably the average wage.

    And if you think that this is not the relevant comparison, then you probably think money grows on trees.

    Its ONE comparison, but not the only one. We keep getting told we live in a global market, and that means its easier for teachers, and others, to head OS for $Bigger.

    How much does it cost us every time we train a teacher who then goes OS for higher wages and we THEN import a replacement from another country?

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  39. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    Pete George (6,954) Says:

    September 15th, 2010 at 12:12 pm
    If you look at education dollars spent being an investment in the future, both in trying to improve education overall and in addressing the cost to society of those who are now missing out on a half decent education then the best wages should be spent on early childhood and the first couple of years at school.

    Sorry Pete, this government doesn’t operate that way, they cut early childhood education and early childhood intervention programs so they can spend more building new prisons we wouldn’t need if we had better early childhood education and early childhood intervention programs.

    Gotta keep the flow of dough from the poor taxpayer to their rich mates via the shadow play of PPP (Please Privatise all Profits).

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  40. GPT1 (2,115 comments) says:

    Max Call said: also – they seem to have enough $ when it comes to their mates who have invested in dodgy finance companies…. that is what I call unrealistic!!

    And that has to be exhibit A of why this person should not be allowed to teach children. Gross stupidity.

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  41. Max Call (212 comments) says:

    whatever….
    http://www.interest.co.nz/opinion/opinion-dear-allan-hubbard-please-say-sorry-and-thanks-taxpayers-nz-and-investors-scf
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/personal-finance/4080615/Factbox-South-Canterbury-Finance
    ?
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/personal-finance/4081474/Bad-decisions-catch-up-with-SCF
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/personal-finance/4081472/SCF-A-giant-brought-to-its-knees

    why did National let SCF renew in the retail deposit guarantee scheme?

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  42. Ed Snack (1,829 comments) says:

    The teachers who come to this thread seem remarkably ignorant of the subject of the post, the fact that the Herald saw fit to make the claim that NZ teachers are paid less than teachers overseas (in OECD countries, because by world standards NZ teachers are no doubt paid a good deal more than most). Our host points out, and I suggest very appropriately so, that the correct comparison would be a relative one not an absolute; that is along the lines of pay compared to, say, GDP per capita as an example. On that basis the comparison falls flat on its face, NZ teachers are paid relatively MORE than their compatriots overseas on that measure, and surely that’s a fairer measure ?

    Frankly, I think many teachers do a good and sometimes a great job, it isn’t always (if ever !) an easy job, but, in many ways, what is these days ? The point being though, is anyone on the public payroll justified in pushing for a 4% pay rise when so many taxpayers (who pay their salaries after all) are under so much stress themselves ? Who amongst the private sector got across the board 4% increases this year ? I suggest that 1 to 2 % would be generally about it, if you got an increase at all.

    Times are tough for everyone, we’re all generally suffering a decrease in wealth, trying to grab more of a declining “pie” on the backs of those who can’t get more just appears downright greedy. Make as many stupid comparisons as you like (they paid out SCF, unfair !, the PM gets paid way more (and donating to charity don’t count, which “charity”, unfair !), makes it look like teachers are far too close to their charges in attitude.

    Face it, 4 % is unreasonable now, and whining about it isn’t impressing anyone.

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  43. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    Teachers also get 2 months off a year, or more. I have had one week off in nine months.

    Was that to look after your kids when the teachers were striking?

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  44. Max Call (212 comments) says:

    pffft.
    I’m not worried about a pay rise (not this year, due to the recession etc) – it’s the other things like class sizes that’s important to me

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  45. Paulus (2,589 comments) says:

    Having spent many years analysing statistics and producing computer programmes accordingly,
    please tell me what result you want, and from the figures, I will give you a meaningful analysis!!!!

    The Harald figures are in themselves rubbish, but it sells newspapers.

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  46. RightNow (6,961 comments) says:

    I fully support teachers being paid more. All they have to do is support measures to increase the wealth of this country, so there’s more money in the pot for education etc. They can start with calling for the ETS to be scrapped, and continue with a campaign for more mining.

    They can also increase their take home pay by not paying union fees.

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  47. edhunter (535 comments) says:

    early childhood education is nothing more than a glorified name for day care that helps ease the conscience of parents letting other people raise their children.

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  48. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    What are the average class sizes in the OECD?

    This OECD info may be of interest:

    Average class sizes in primary schools range from fewer than 20 pupils per class in Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg and Switzerland, to 31 in Turkey and 36 in Korea. The ratio of students to teaching staff in primary education, expressed in full-time equivalents, ranges from 10 students per teacher in Denmark to 32 in Korea.

    The ‘average class size’ figure needs to be treated with some suspicion. I seem to recall a former government installing a pile of Te Kōhanga Reo teachers with class sizes of <10 and suddenly the NZ average class size had 'dropped' – despite the ratio worsening of the Te Kōhanga Reo teachers were removed from the average calculation.

    @DeepScience – Hardly an ad hominem. Toughen up a bit eh? I get called Krazy all the time and am perfectly happy with that. My point was, and remains, that assessment mechanisms other than 'external exams' are valid and important. Moderated OTJ being one example. This isn't my space, but Mrs kk is all over assessment schemes.

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  49. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    Further to my point about class sizes, here’s the OECD spreadsheet from 2007. Refer tab T_D2.2. You’ll see NZ primary schools are showing as having 17.5 students per class (Cell E30). We have 44 schools with fewer than 17 students in NZ so I’m sure that helps bring down the average. Also in smaller schools the principal is also recorded as a part-time teacher, even if the board uses part of their operating budget to buy out the principal’s class ‘contact time’ obligations.

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  50. Mark Petersen (1,467 comments) says:

    I am confused. When it comes to executive pay and CEO’s of NZ’s larger companies the justification for paying them huge salaries (despite relatively poor performance) is that they live in a global market therefore to attract the best talent we must pay. When it comes to teachers given the lowly and unimportant job they do ( and that the OECD report rank their performance in the top bracket of performers) in educating our children the global economy arguement is thrown out very quickly in exchange for some bereft argument about relative GDP and average wages.

    Like all jobs that generate a global demand we pennypinch at our peril whether they be teachers, nurses, radiographers or linesmen.

    This blog demonstrates a certain flexibility in logic and ideology depending who is the victim under scrutiny.

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  51. bc (1,360 comments) says:

    Good point, Mark!

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  52. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    @Mark – If a large company pays too much for its staff it becomes a small company. If it continues to do this, it goes out of business and staff and shareholders are left out of pocket.

    By contrast if the government pays too much for its staff it simply raises company and personal taxation levels to support their increased costs. Remember governments are unique in that they can tally up their costs and set their income to match. Except the ‘setting income’ creates a tax burden that encourages people to emigrate.

    Oh, and the CEO rich-prick envy thing is a bit passé nowadays, but if you want to talk about relatively poor performance which state sector functions should we measure? eg how many extra billions have been pumped in to health with practically nil benefit for the average health-service consumer?

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  53. simpleton (174 comments) says:

    The OECD doesn’t seem to have up to date average wage data for NZ, but there is good data on GDP per capita.

    It would also be interesting to see the average wage of all those countries and then rated to the teachers. Would it be much different?
    Any way the GDP will have to be the guide.
    Also would be interesting to compare Nurses, Doctors and Police thru both the average wage and GDP.

    Perhaps the real issue is that the students that the average teacher has been producing for the past 15 years, should have a higher GDP out put for NZ, which in turn would show and prove the productivity of teachers and so their income would lift. It seems that NZ productivity is not lifting and the teachers are now getting the highest % in GDP of 144% copared to other countries

    Perhaps this gives more thought on just what are the teachers teaching? I know we can point to the curriculum and for me another part of it is the subtle attitude that rubs of to pupils. I do not think even the teachers are really aware of it.

    As I meet kids leaving school I find it rather sad when I have to help them with basic arithmetic, filling out forms, to be a little more disciplined, punctual and to have some basic ethics and honesty. Sure they can run rings around me on computers and some modern things. Sure I do recognize there is a crossover between school and parenting , but somehow to me the basics from schooling is often not there. Perhaps a big part is societal/cultural.

    I recall a conversation of talking to a friend who had been working for a repossion/baliff and I was surprised when he said that Police and Teachers were the most common occupations that he reclaimed on. I do not know if that is true today. I know it is anecdotal, and we conjectured if it was do with staff-room morning tea/ lunch breaks as discussions would occur with one making a purchase on hire purchase and so would then the rest of their colleagues to “keep up with the Jones’s”.

    Thru life I did notice that teachers never did really want and often the ones I met did have a lot of things on tick. Board of Trustees friends of mine have also noticed the different thinking that teachers display to other people in business. Their practical experience is often just not there.

    What I also realized as I looked back to my school days were that what I regarded as my best teachers had their own house (saved for deposit and had mortgage) compared to the many that rented. Also they may have had another pracitical career, and/or dabbled in business/farm ( one ran his own school bus and chartered it out). That practicability seemed to come thru in teaching us kids.

    I do know this is a generalization, and as I have mentioned this to my friends, many on reflection can recognize what I am saying.

    Hey I do know that teaching is not exactly easy, and in the old days the pupils were often put between a rock and a hard place, the school and the parents/society.

    Of course what future school student /worker wants to work hard and lift GDP and then pay a high tax.

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  54. Viking2 (11,338 comments) says:

    Of course the way to fix these constant give me give me demands is to privatize the system and then people will get paid their commercial worth, like the rest of the world.

    Too many in the classes. Would that be because young people cannot leave school and go to work these days? Is it because the teachers have caused the system to think that the only place kids can learn is in a classroom?
    Ask most 16 year old buys.

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  55. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    We’ve been busy since the march (Auckland) and didn’t catch the news, but we were filmed as the march set off and if you saw on the news a bonny blonde toddler in a bright pink chequered jacket perched on her mother’s shoulders beside a devastatingly handsome dude in a black shirt – hey! – that was us!

    I think the best short answer to all the teacherphobes above is that teachers are a mature workforce who well remember the ease with which they slipped behind in the past and are determined to keep up now.

    I remember at school (1969) one of my teachers was standing for parliament and his concern for his family was that he would be taking a paycut to become an MP.

    How’s that for a relativity claim basis?

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  56. reid (16,179 comments) says:

    Unfortunately Luc IMO even if the teachers had been offered 10% + laptops + overtime + class size of 15, the PPTA would still have recommended: strike, strike, strike.

    The exigencies of the current situation don’t exist as an obstacle, when your main, and sole aim, is to make a political point, which is:

    4 legs good, 2 legs bad.

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  57. wat dabney (3,751 comments) says:

    When it comes to executive pay and CEO’s of NZ’s larger companies the justification for paying them huge salaries…is that they live in a global market … When it comes to teachers …the global economy arguement is thrown out very quickly

    Wrong.

    The justification for executive salaries is simply that they are private businesses and it is absolutely no one’s concern but the shareholders’ how much they are paid.

    The same would be the case for teachers if schools were private ventures and the government gave parents vouchers for their children’s education.

    But instead, teachers insist on being state employees, for all the selfish rent-seeking benefits that accrue from being part of a government monopoly. No competition for them. No possibility of being sacked, no matter how incompetent they might be.

    So the answer to your point is that, by insisting on being state employees, they have made their salaries a political issue.

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  58. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    reid, I mean this affectionately, and my wife says this to me often,so hopefully no demerits, but sometimes your are just a fucking idiot!

    We don’t want to lose a day of my wife’s pay through strike action, and teachers in general, while supportive of the strike, are sad that it had to come to this.

    Wat, the state made teachers public servants, not teachers. Your comment is, as usual, a red herring.

    I’ll be back after a bit more research to apply the blowtorch to DPF’s selective and self-serving analysis.

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  59. Crusader (299 comments) says:

    Teaching is a very well paid part-time job.

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  60. wat dabney (3,751 comments) says:

    Luc,

    The Labour Party is the military wing of the trade unions. It exists solely to extort benefits for its paymasters at the expense of the rest of us, and the teachers are in the thick of it. As you well know.
    It’s the same all around the world: state sector employees leeching off of the productive sector until the inevitable Greek-style meltdown. In the UK the loafers on the bloated government payroll are preparing for prolonged industrial action to defend their ill-gotten gains. As the Institute of Economic Affairs put it:

    An overstaffed and overpaid public sector should be the first to face cuts in government spending. It is complete fantasy to pretend that substantial cuts are not required, and it is the public who should feel angry at being expected to support a union campaign which would see their tax money continue to be squandered.

    “Public sector workers earn, on average, over £2,000 more than their private sector equivalents. This is in addition to the more generous pensions they receive and the enormously reduced historical risk of being fired.

    “A reduction in the absurdly generous terms for workers in the inefficient public sector is long overdue. It is not an attack on the poor or oppressed, it is an attack on the privileged.

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  61. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    How do you know, Crusader?

    Is that why I have to cook dinner most nights while my wife is marking?

    Marking, marking, marking…I’m sick of that word!

    And the so-called holidays where marking still rules our lives. Not to mention finally getting recovery time from all the bugs students bring to her workplace every day! And that come home to us.

    I’m sure in other circumstances you would be quick to say “Pay peanuts and you get monkeys”. Why would you want monkeys teaching our kids?

    Anyway, here’s where DPF allows his prejudices to overrule facts:

    Nominal GDP is a poor statistic for comparison purposes because it does not take into account differences in the cost of living between countries. PPP (Purchasing Power Parity), as used by the OECD and the NZ Herald, includes this and inflation rates for a more accurate comparison. Not necessarily definitive, but statistically more accurate than nominal GDP.

    I suspect DPF understands this well, but he trawls for the information that suits his predetermined view.

    In any case, the PPTA website has lots of interesting stuff there, if only DPF had the intellectual courage to go beyond the boundaries of his ideological comfort zone.

    Here is an example.

    It shows how teachers should be calling for an 8.8% pay rise just to return to the inflation adjusted rates of 1985.

    But somehow that’s being greedy.

    Go figure.

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  62. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    wat

    That’s a fair amount of topic drift there, but for an up-to-date analysis of the efficacy of the welfare state you are complaining about, visit here: http://lanekenworthy.net/

    It’s a summary of the findings of “The Oxford Handbook on the Welfare State” which you can buy for a mere 85 pounds from amazon, if you wish.

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  63. reid (16,179 comments) says:

    I guess my point was Luc, how come the PPTA didn’t do this all through the nine-years of Hulun’s execrable reign, when times were great and the ground was fertile for significant catch up.

    It’s only when the [apparently hateful] tories are in power that the PPTA does anything more than mildly protest, and furthermore does this apparently ignoring the fact the country is palpably much less capable of giving them anything significant.

    I’m happy for education reform to occur as I too think teachers aren’t paid what they’re worth, but the reason why I’m against the PPTA right here and right now is that they undertake aggressive action purely depending on which govt is in power. This is a fact. Look at the history.

    And the PPTA is just the vanguard. You watch the others get going as the election year rolls around.

    If the unions collectively and publicly eschewed political support of any political party in any way, shape or form, and began to undertake industrial action without fear nor favour, I suspect they’d get more widespread support. Unfortunately, they don’t and they haven’t and so far, it looks like they won’t.

    So fuck em.

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  64. wat dabney (3,751 comments) says:

    teachers should be calling for an 8.8% pay rise just to return to the inflation adjusted rates of 1985. But somehow that’s being greedy.

    What has the return to an adjusted historical rate got to do with anything? Supply and demand changes all the time for every type of job. It’s called a market signal; you should look into it. The notion that a particular job should be paid the indexed equivalent of the rate from 25 years ago is a statist absurdity.

    Without a free market rate we’ll never know how greedy teachers are being, because we’ll never know how much people would be willing to pay (using their own money) for what level of service. Instead, we get a politicised monopoly which teachers seek to screw to their maximum advantage.

    Put another way, why are you so sure that teachers deserve money which could instead be paid to nurses, for example? Let’s see you make that case, because there’s only so much money to go around. If teachers win extra money it must inevitably come out of the pocket of other state employees. Why should the money go to teachers at the expense of nurses?

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  65. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    reid, if you had followed the link I posted above, you would have seen this comparison:

    1991 $41,039 4.25% National (Bolger)
    1992 $41,039 0.00% National (Bolger)
    1993 $41,039 0.00% National (Bolger)
    1994 $41,860 2.00% National (Bolger)
    1995 $41,860 0.00% National (Bolger)
    1996 $45,000 7.50% National (Bolger)
    1997 $47,100 4.67% National (Bolger)
    1998 $47,100 0.00% National (Shipley)
    1999 $48,600 3.18% National (Shipley)

    then

    2000 $50,300 3.50% Labour (Clark)
    2001 $51,306 2.00% Labour (Clark)
    2002 $52,076 1.50% Labour (Clark)
    2003 $56,393 8.29% Labour (Clark)
    2004 $57,803 2.50% Labour (Clark)
    2005 $59,537 3.00% Labour (Clark)
    2006 $61,323 3.00% Labour (Clark)
    2007 $63,776 4.00% Labour (Clark)
    2008 $66,327 4.00% Labour (Clark)
    2009 $68,980 4.00% Labour (Clark)

    You may not remember the major confrontation between teacher unions and Mallard, but teachers do and they are determined not to allow National to rort them again.

    A decade and a half between major disputes does indicate a trigger-happy union to me.

    I’m not aware that the PPTA endorses any political party and I can tell you that they do not tell teachers how to vote. So you should stick your delusions and conspiracy theories where they belong – which is where the sun don’t shine, Sunshine!

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  66. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    wat

    Let’s face it, like DPF, any relativity comparison that does not agree with your jaundiced, pre-ordained viewpoint is automatically rubbished. Police, nurses etc have their own negotiators and if it was meant to be one-size-fits-all, a government could always leglislate for that. In the absence of that, it’s up to the PPTA to advocate for its members – and the freeloaders who won’t pay the fees but take the pay rises.

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  67. wat dabney (3,751 comments) says:

    A decade and a half between major disputes does indicate a trigger-happy union to me. ” (sic)

    It indicates nothing except it was getting its full pound of flesh from the Labour government it paid for. At other people’s expense.

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  68. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    because there’s only so much money to go around

    Actually that’s the problem with socialists Wat. There is apparently an endless supply of other people’s money. One just has to get a majority of voters dependant of the largess of the state, and then pillage the remainder. Better still, implement welfare entitlement for the otherwise self-sufficient (eg WFF). All this has worked a treat in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy and UK.

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  69. bc (1,360 comments) says:

    Reid: “the reason why I’m against the PPTA right here and right now is that they undertake aggressive action purely depending on which govt is in power.”

    Not true, Reid (but hey why let the facts get in the way of an uninformed rant).
    One of the nastiest and prolonged period of teacher industrial action was when LABOUR was in power (Trevor Mallard was the Minister of Ed.) It got so bad that negotiations broke down and both parties had to go into mediation.
    In the mediators report it was noted that the industrial action had caused considerable damage to the teaching labour force -older teachers took early retirement (and teachers have a high average age compared to other professions), other teachers left the profession for jobs with less stress, better pay, and no doubt a better appreciation of their worth and of particular concern teachers colleges could not fill their quotas, no graduate would even consider becoming a teacher!
    So the teaching profession was in crisis. Schools were having trouble filling vacancies and were pretty much grabbing anyone with a pulse (usually from overseas).
    As part of the mediation, a working group was set up with the mandate of avoiding such a situation happening again. The recommendations included a longer term employment contract (the last two have both been 3 years), and that teachers salaries are indexed to inflation. Pretty sensible really and hardly extravagent. So there was a period of calm.
    But here’s what happened next.
    The Government disbanded the working group, and said that all bets are off effectively by refusing to negotiate on conditions and offering a pathetic pay rise less than the projected rate of inflation. It seems that this government haven’t heard of the adage that “those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it” because their is a real sense of deja vu going on!
    So things are going to get nasty again. My predictions:
    1) Teachers will up the ante with their industrial action. No teacher wants industrial action but teachers are used to difficult people – the deal with stroppy kids every day, they can deal with politicians!
    2) The Government (and no doubt DPF as well) will engage in ugly teacher bashing. This never works – teachers are well respected and supported by the public. Thankfully the boorish comments made on this site do not represent the public as a whole.
    3) Teacher shortages, combined with pressure put their MP’s by the public (remember it is an election year next year) will result in some sort of compromise.
    But the damage will be done.

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  70. bc (1,360 comments) says:

    Crusader: “Teaching is a very well paid part-time job.”

    Normally such idiotic comments are not worth responding to but crusader answer this: If teaching is such a wonderful job why aren’t you doing it?

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  71. bc (1,360 comments) says:

    wat dabney – what’s this infatuation with nurses? (maybe it’s the uniform)
    You say that If teachers “win money’ (to use your term – sounds like a lottery!) it comes out of the pockets of other state employees. What a load of rubbish!

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  72. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    @bc – There is a limited amount of tax money available for re-distribution. If you spend more on A there’s less for B, C & D. The term ‘win’ refers to internal bidding that goes on to secure slices of the budget. Happens everywhere – private and public sectors. Of course statist/socialists believe more government money can be invented by simply taxing businesses and rich-pricks more. Not a great strategy for the long term welfare of a country and its citizens

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