Yes – performance pay is coming

March 24th, 2012 at 10:12 am by David Farrar

John Hartevelt at Stuff reports:

for teachers will be developed by the Government, with secondary principals told by Education Minister Hekia Parata to start “sorting the wheat from the chaff”.

Figures obtained by The Dominion Post show millions of dollars are already being paid to scores of secondary principals partly on a performance basis, but Ms Parata has revealed she is “very keen” to develop performance measures for teachers and start rewarding them accordingly.

The choice of rewards for quality teachers were “pretty obvious,” she said.

“Whether it’s promotion, pay, opportunities to attend conferences or representative roles, or whatever – there are a mix of rewards that I think would be reasonably easy to settle on.”

The Government was in the early stages of devising an evaluation system that would have “integrity and regard” and capture all of the different dimensions of quality teaching.

“Typically, you get a response that it’s not possible to design something like that, because this is so difficult. Well, I don’t agree,” Ms Parata said.

“The precursor to being able to reward monetarily or in leadership opportunities is to have a really reliable evaluation system and one that has real integrity and regard for it.

It is good to see the Government finally embracing performance pay so hopefully the best teachers will get paid more than the worst teachers. However I have some doubts about a centralised system of performance pay.

My preferred model is to delegate school budgets to boards (that wish to have them delegated) and allow the board and principal to pay staff as they see best. So they could pay (for example) a brilliant science teacher with five years experience $90,000 and pay a mediocre science teacher with twenty years experience say $60,000.

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102 Responses to “Yes – performance pay is coming”

  1. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    DPF’s example would assume that there is an average of $75,000 per teacher available to share. But regardless of the sums, what are parents going to ask for for their kids: the $90,000 science teacher of the $60,000 science teacher? And will we see the same for Police – a $90,000 constable alongside a $60,000 constable?
    What nonsense.

    [DPF: What stupid arguments. Do you know how much your doctors are paid in your local hospital? Salaries are private to the employer and employee]

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  2. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    DPF

    The challenge is however to implement a system that isn’t just reversed next time the we get the Labour party back in power.

    What would be really good for NZ would be for there to be bi-partisan support for this plan such that it endures. None of this spend millions changing and rearranging (flip flopping) every 3-6 years all the time just fucking it up more and more.

    Oh, once that’s been done for education, do it for health and tax polices as well. I know it’s a strange idea but lets change the landscape such that the really important stuff isn’t a political football in a constant state of flux in the best interest of electoral popularity rather than working in the best interests of NZ.

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  3. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    mikenmild

    It’s a shame the real world is so offensive to you. Stay in socialist la la land where we are all the same and the only important thing is making sure your red team are popular and win elections while the county goes to shit.

    Wake up dude, unions don’t run the world and socialism has never worked anywhere, not once ever!

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  4. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    Long overdue, but as burt has said very likely to be reversed when we next get a union appeasing government. This will be fought hard against. Expect hows of outrage from unions, academics, teachers, leftists commentators.

    mm- from your comment, are you expecting that parents will/should know how much individual teachers are paid? Do you ask the pilot how much he/she is paid before boarding your flight?

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  5. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    krazykiwi

    Lets pretend that we are all the same and implement that via collective bargaining – it’s so much better for unions and the Labour party that way. Remember what all these things are for – making the Labour party and the unions strong……

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  6. Pete George (23,559 comments) says:

    The Government was in the early stages of devising an evaluation system that would have “integrity and regard” and capture all of the different dimensions of quality teaching.

    Very difficult target to achieve. Any system will have some degree of flaws and unintended consequences, it will be a major task devising a system for this in which the benefits are clearly superior.

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  7. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    kk
    You really think no one would find out? Interesting. The real question though is how you would determine that one teacher is one and a half times better than another.

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  8. Rob Salmond (246 comments) says:

    DPF: “My preferred model is to delegate school budgets to boards (that wish to have them delegated) and allow the board and principal to pay staff as they see best. ”

    I think Boards of Trustees already have an ability to pay top-up units in $4k increments to whichever teachers they like, with a fixed cap of units per school. Isn’t this what you are seeking here?

    [DPF: No. I support full flexibility for salaries at board level. ]

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  9. lcmortensen (38 comments) says:

    The easiest way to introduce performance pay and keep everyone psuedo-happy would be to keep a centralised pay system for base salary, and then get the schools to pay the performance bonus on their own funds. Then again, schools could take the money from the performance pay to cover their other shortfalls and put the extra pay on the weight of school donations.

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  10. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    Rob Salmond

    Your comment sounds like something Mallard would say about asTTle….

    We already have a great assessment system that works…. just don’t tell anyone it’s optional and there is no standardisation in how it’s implemented or how the information it provides is used. Oh, don’t mention that there are other systems schools can use instead and how “great” it is that this variety of methods and implementations boils down to – ‘we do something somehow but we can’t compare and grade performance across schools because that’s not in the best interests of the teachers unions.

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  11. Put it away (2,878 comments) says:

    Good news for good teachers. Bad news for bad teachers. Good news for kids. Well done.

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  12. Rob Salmond (246 comments) says:

    burt – Calm down, please. I’m just asking a simple question. Deep breaths. -Kisses, Rob

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  13. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    ***It’s about time.***
    Welcome to the post-dinosaur era, teacher unions.

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  14. adze (2,126 comments) says:

    MM

    You really think no one would find out? Interesting. The real question though is how you would determine that one teacher is one and a half times better than another.

    Unless the teacher charges parents directly I doubt they would even care – more important from the parents’ point of view would be the reputation and track record of the teacher concerned. And notwithstanding your question of how one might measure teacher performance, are you against the concept of performance pay in general? You said the other day it was “meaningless”.

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  15. Yvette (2,814 comments) says:

    My preferred model is to delegate school budgets to boards (that wish to have them delegated) and allow the board and principal to pay staff as they see best.

    I trust this is because on a national scale there is no way to compare an excellent teacher in a decile 1 school who may raise a class from 10% literacy to 40%, doing a better good, but still a lower apparent achievement than a lazy and/or poor teacher in a decile 10 school with a class already averaging 50% raising them to 55%.

    So on a school to school internal rating system – have there not been enough examples of school Boards of Trustees fucking up in just getting the basics of what they do now right? Why turn these volunteers into referees in a bear-pit of inter-teacher fighting and bitching for pay?
    Will schools be allocated a possible top rate [your $90,000] for each teacher they have, and return any surplus if they establish some of their teachers do not qualify for that top amount, or will schools get a range of salaries and have to grade a number of teachers to fit it – see? its very concept may be fucked from the start.

    And of course why teachers?
    How about doctors [most of them now seem to be grouped in health centres] why not rate them – those who prescribe a few expected pills and bang! – are onto the next patient, or thoise who listen and actually endeavour to find out what is wrong with a person.
    Dentists would be good – perhaps rate them on how often they repair a filling they have already done.
    And police – may be a little harder, where team situations are involved, to rate individual outcomes.

    A child’s learning is most likely as greatly effected by their parents [or, so often their parent] as it is by a teacher. So just what do you rate? A brilliant teacher under-minded by a fuckwit parent?

    Perhaps look at whether Teacher Colleges should have qualified passes – you pass as a teacher but are graded on more measurable qualities then to be a A pass, B or C or whatever.

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  16. Paulus (2,626 comments) says:

    The next Labour Government will scrap anything which impinges upon their relationship with the Teacher’s Unions, who finance them.

    He who pays the piper calls the tune.

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  17. ObligatoryMarxist (37 comments) says:

    *ponders* Giving all the power to the board is problematic, since school boards are rarely made up of educationalists, you run the severe risk of political performance pay. Centralizing it’s a bit of a problem too, since they’d only be looking at raw statistics which forces teachers to teach to the test.

    What about if it went hand-in-hand with a reform of school boards – perhaps adding a couple of staff and student representatives? And get rid of co-opting – if you can’t get elected, then you shouldn’t be on it. With that, might make people more interested in actually helping the school, instead of just dumping their kids there and criticizing.

    I’d like to think, being an unappeasable optimist, that were you to do it in a way that gave a fair (not absolute, but fair) role to peer assessment for teachers, you’d find the teachers much more agreeable.

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  18. rg (214 comments) says:

    Another ACT Party policy about to come into force. I am amazed how supportive you are to all these ACT Party policies yet you didn’t vote for them. How is a country supposed to proceed and prosper if voters do not support the Party which offers the best options, namely ACT. In 2014 I encourage you all to question your loyalty to a National Party which has been so disappointing and place your votes in the best interests of teh country.

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  19. Inky_the_Red (759 comments) says:

    The organisation I work has a PP system. Except the current system doesn’t deliver PP, nor did the earlier PP system nor the one before that. They are now looking a new PP system.

    The current system, like the previous system etc, pays for how well you get on with the person who decides your pay, which office you work, rewards you for the successful work others do to make you look good, rewards you if they don’t want to pay for training your replacement. Performance has little to do with my salary.

    I am luck because,
    1. I am managed by someone who has more staff in another geographic location than I live so get paid better on the other office’s problem of higher staff turnover rate.
    2. the people who support what I do normally do an excellent job
    3. my direct team is experienced
    4. my colleagues in the other centre are not so experienced so make me look like a genius
    5. I get on fairly well with the person who decides my salary
    6 and most important of all I don’t need a lot of money,

    I like HR and my management do not understand the current pay system. Most people I work with do not think it delivers performance pay and it is not transparent

    My friend who is a teacher has a simple pay system. She understands the basis and is happy with it. She works part-time in 2 primary schools one a decile 10 and the other a decile 1. Since her pay is determined by how many hours she teaches it is simple. What possible out comes of the teaching could her work be assessed on? Especially since one has a major problem with parents and is not really well-managed and is a large school, while the other is well-managed, smaller school with fewer problem caused by parents

    Performance pay seem nice in principle however in a large group (and teachers are a large group) it does not work

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  20. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    How about doctors [most of them now seem to be grouped in health centres] why not rate them – those who prescribe a few expected pills and bang! – are onto the next patient, or thoise who listen and actually endeavour to find out what is wrong with a person.
    Dentists would be good – perhaps rate them on how often they repair a filling they have already done.

    Yvette the doctors you are talking about are GPs and generally have their own private practices (or are part of one) and dentists are the same. If you have to keep going back to the dentist to have a filling fixed, you find a better dentist. Not difficult. If you’re not happy with the way your doctor makes his diagnosis, ditto. The incentive to do a good job is there already – it’s called competition.
    You don’t have that option with state schools. Until that option is available giving a teacher an incentive to improve his ability to teach is a great idea.

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  21. fish_boy (152 comments) says:

    This is complete waste of taxpayers money, given that it will be fought tooth and nail all the way and then completely thrown out in 2014 by a Labour-Green government anyway.

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  22. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    fish_boy – don’t you mean a Labour-Green-Maori-Mana-Winston government?

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  23. HB (321 comments) says:

    gazzmaniac
    “You don’t have that option with state schools

    actually, most people do.
    of the 3 different primary schools my kids went to (we moved around a bit) none of them were in the zone we lived in.
    One of kids currently goes to an intermediate that is not even in the same city.

    It would actually be interesting to know how many (%) schools are closed to out of zone enrolments in NZ.

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  24. HB (321 comments) says:

    It would be interesting to know if this new government initiative is evidence or ideology based?
    If evidence-based can we please see it? I would be good to see where this is working outside of NZ to improve student outcomes. I wouldn’t like this to turn into one of those times where NZ ‘leads the way’ and 10 years from now we look back and say ‘WTF were they thinking?’

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  25. big bruv (13,886 comments) says:

    Inky

    I wonder how long people like you have spent making sure that the PP system you have does not work.

    As for teachers…well they will just have to get used to the idea that the good ones will earn more and the crap ones will earn fuck all.

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  26. UpandComer (536 comments) says:

    It seems pretty easy to measure performance to me. You measure kids’ aptitudes in spelling/math/reading levels etc at the beginning of the year. Then you measure them at the end. You note if there are disabled kids also and perhaps discount them, or weigh their improvement differently. Big improvements = big promotion. National standards mean you can do this. You can, through this, completely remove political performance pay. Easily.

    If you wanted to get complicated you could add in lesser weighted evaluations, like parents, other teachers, kids themselves for older age groups etc.

    The ‘why not pay good doctors more’ is a red herring.
    Doctor’s have professional standards/code of conduct/the medical board etc. If they stuff up they pay for it quickly and painfully. Same with lawyers.
    There is a big incentive for non teaching professions to be very very careful in their practice.
    Other professions also face competition. Right now there is no competition in schools. There is an oversupply of young teachers due to the earthquakes which makes it even worse.
    Other professions need leeway because of how easy it is to make serious one-off mistakes. For instance, in diagnosis, i.e. misdiagnose meningitis for common flu for instance. Lawyers as well can simply come off on the wrong side of a good argument – misdiagnosing the law or the facts.

    I would argue that both lawyers and doctors, and cops and nurses etc actually overall have less of an impact on the Left’s ‘societal goods’ then teachers. One bad teacher can ruin dozens and dozens of lives.

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  27. calendar girl (1,232 comments) says:

    “Very difficult target to achieve. Any system will have some degree of flaws and unintended consequences, it will be a major task devising a system for this in which the benefits are clearly superior.”

    I don’t disagree, Pete, although you overstate the case. However, unlike you I don’t accept difficulty as a valid reason for Government to sit on its hands and tolerate unacceptable educational outcomes such as those evidenced by NZ’s levels of illiteracy. If you don’t fancy what Ms Parata is proposing, do you have another solution to that illiteracy problem?

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  28. BlairM (2,339 comments) says:

    *fap fap fap* brilliant stuff. We’ll make a decent government of this wet National Party yet. Getting rid of Nick Smith was a good start – might lead to actual right wing policy being implemented!

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  29. Inky_the_Red (759 comments) says:

    BB if I’m singlehandedly destroying my work places PP system then clearly that is another reason to show that PP systems do not work.

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  30. Inky_the_Red (759 comments) says:

    As for how we treat young people. Well school is not the correct place for all

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  31. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    Performance pay needs objective measures to be successful. One of those is simply the labour market. Good people move to where their productivity and value is recognised in their salary and employment conditions. So a free market for teacher placement and renumeration/conditions is a pre-requisite. On top of that, bonuses for student achievement should be considered. Of course these should be relative to the incoming class’s standard.

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  32. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    So, in summing up:

    We currently have a public education system among the best in the world.

    Teachers credit that success to, among other things, a work environment in which teachers are a professional body focused on co-operation.

    National says “We can’t have that, it’s socialism. They must compete with each other for cash rewards or it won’t be like the private sector, which is, like, the Real World and stuff.”

    Kiwiblog dimbulbs shout “Hurrah! We’re going to trash the oiks!”

    Teachers and parents sigh and dig in for a long fight.

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  33. Johnboy (16,529 comments) says:

    On the other hand PM.

    “Qualified, dedicated and excellent teachers, overjoyed that they won’t have to succumb to accepting lower pay to show solidarity with their unionisd inferiors”! :)

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  34. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    PM: “Teachers and parents sigh and dig in for a long fight.”

    Just like the Auckland wharfies? And you probably seriously misread the support of the average apolitical parent.

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  35. Johnboy (16,529 comments) says:

    Psychos parents were Marx and Engels Alan! :)

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  36. swan (665 comments) says:

    “The Government was in the early stages of devising an evaluation system”

    So a centrally planned evaluation system to reward good teachers. Possibly better than the status quo (gaming such a system would be a concern). But thus is the opposite of what I understood the idea of performance pay to be. That is – bulk fund schools and allow them to staff as they see fit.

    A centrally planned performance pay scheme sounds like something that would have little chance of succeeding. Is there a precedent for this?

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  37. swan (665 comments) says:

    “It seems pretty easy to measure performance to me. You measure kids’ aptitudes in spelling/math/reading levels etc at the beginning of the year. Then you measure them at the end. You note if there are disabled kids also and perhaps discount them, or weigh their improvement differently. Big improvements = big promotion. National standards mean you can do this. You can, through this, completely remove political performance pay. Easily.”

    So then we get teachers who get very good at teaching to national standards. You see, that’s not the same thing as performance.

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  38. Elaycee (4,392 comments) says:

    At last!

    Outstanding teachers will be rewarded in the pocket and the drones within the teacher ranks will not. And whilst the bleating from the ideologically motivated teacher unions will remain predictable, the reality is simple: pay parity is simply a form of pay protectionism for the weakest link in the teacher ranks.

    But its about to change. Fan-bloody-tastic.

    The only ones afraid of this principle will be the same ones with everything to fear – the poor performers.

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  39. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    You see, that’s not the same thing as performance.

    It is if that’s what you’re measuring. When you look at shit like “it’s pretty easy” to implement teacher performance pay you can only thank Christ people like this aren’t running our education system – and then you read Hekia Parata’s press releases and realise that, actually, people like this are running our education system.

    Just like the Auckland wharfies?

    It may well come to that. Looks like lots of people who earn wages or salaries are going to have to fight if they don’t want their pay and conditions cut.

    And you probably seriously misread the support of the average apolitical parent.

    I don’t doubt there’ll be plenty of parents also shouting “Hurrah! We’re going to trash the oiks!” But the ones I know realise who’s responsible for the excellence of the system we have now (hint: it’s not politicians or bloggers).

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  40. adze (2,126 comments) says:

    ” But the ones I know realise who’s responsible for the excellence of the system we have now”

    The excellent education professionals? Will they be the same ones who resist the idea of a meritocratic remuneration system?

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  41. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    I just wrote a comment about this over on the thread about Treasury arguing for bigger class sizes, so I’ll repeat it here:

    Putting aside whether or not performance pay even works, I think we would all agree we should be spending what little money we have on whatever is the most effective way to improve student performance. I would argue that increasing funding to special education, including more teacher aides, and to early childhood education, where problems can be picked up and dealt with before they become irreversible, are the best ways to spend money to improve the long-tail. I think the quality of the teacher is less important that the quality of the child’s parents/family/caregivers. A high school child only spends 3-5 hours a week with each teacher. Having them well-fed, clothed and supported is far more important. Money spent on CYF and truancy would be a better use of resources.

    Now, on performance pay the issue really is how to fairly judge who is best. Anecdotal evidence about teachers who you disliked at school is worthless. It is very common for a group of kids to hate a particular teacher because of personality clashes or a difference over learning style or discipline methods. Another group of students will tell you the same teacher is brilliant. Using a value-added approach based on standardised tests is also problematic. There are too many outside variables. Over the course of the year I will lose several students in my class of 20-30 and gain several new ones. Often I share a class with another teacher, each of us taking them two periods a cycle. A couple students will be taken overseas for several weeks or become ill and also miss half a unit I’m teaching. Others will be having serious family issues I have no control over. There are always a couple with serious truancy problems who only attend a few days a term. As a result the outcomes at the end of the year may bear little relation to the quality of my teaching.

    Another issue with the value added approach is that we don’t actually have standardised testing to measure it. We do have such tools in English and Maths, but not for Social Studies or Art or Music. The tests for these subjects are set by individual schools, departments or teachers and cannot be compared nationally or even within a school. How do I measure a music teacher against a maths teacher and decide which deserves the raise? In primary schools every school gets to interpret national standards individually, so they aren’t actuall national or standard. How do we use them as a measure? If I have a low-ability class there could also be far more room to show improvement than if I have a top class who start out at Merit level. How do I get compared to others?

    Finally, studies from the states on the value-added approach show wildly variable results. Teachers rated superior one year were failing the next, then back up. They suggested teacher quality was not the most important factor in student outcomes at all.

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  42. freddos (54 comments) says:

    Teachers have a cushy job. There, I said it. I I stand by it.

    Up yours PPTA.

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  43. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    Now, there also seem to be some other factual errors here. First off, our schools do compete. In the area I live a parent of a secondary school student has a choice between 3 co-ed state schools, a single-sex state school, a single-sex Catholic school or a Maori-language school. They all accept students from out of zone and compete vigorously for students. At the college I teach at there are students waiting at the bus stop out front wearing uniforms for three other secondary schools while kids in our uniform get off there, arriving from areas closer to the other schools. The competition among schools in this country is intense. Just look at the fights over poaching athletes, or the league tables compiled by Metro. I grew up in the US, where there really was no choice. You went to the school your address dictated, end of story.

    Upandcomer, Your comment that teachers are not as professional as doctors or lawyers and have no code of conduct is wrong and insulting. Teachers are accountable to a whole range of standards, including those set by the Teachers’ Council. Teachers can be brought up on competency procedures and have to fight to keep their job based on a single complaint or bad lesson observation, or even the principal walking past the classroom and thinking it sounded too noisy and out of control. Teachers have to satisfy 100 or more students and all their parents. They are held to a higher moral and ethical code than the general public and have to re-register and face possible auditing by the Teachers’ Council every 3 years.

    And DPF’s idea about Boards of Trustees administering performance pay is unworkable. These people are not by any means experts on teacher quality, they have no training in human resourcing or pedagogy. They would have to delegate the responsibility to the principal, but it is then quite likely to become a popularity contest. I’ve never seen nor heard of my principal observing a class. Many principals haven’t been in a classroom as a teacher in literally decades.

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  44. Johnboy (16,529 comments) says:

    Got to hand it to Psycho.

    Fighting the rearguard action as always.

    Someone has to die on the bloody barricades.

    We are all with you Psycho! :)

    Up the status quo!!! :)

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  45. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    The unions interest is best served by union membership numbers, the rest of us are best served by competent and well paid teachers. The battle has begun….

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  46. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    Freddos,

    Thanks for being honest. I have the feeling that many of the other commenters praising this idea really feel exactly the same way. And I’ll be honest too. I don’t have any sympathy for the wharfies because they’ve been paid too much, for too little work, for far too long. I think they’re being screwed over now, but I just don’t care that much. I think many people raging at the teacher unions really just don’t like teachers. They think we get too many holidays or maybe it’s because they had a bad personal experience with teachers when they were at school or they have performace pay at their job and don’t think it’s fair teachers don’t. Whatever the reason, they want to see teachers put in their place, even if that isn’t necessarily what will most improve student outcomes.

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  47. Viking2 (11,467 comments) says:

    The challenge is however to implement a system that isn’t just reversed next time the we get the Labour party back in power.

    What would be really good for NZ would be for there to be bi-partisan support for this plan such that it endures. None of this spend millions changing and rearranging (flip flopping) every 3-6 years all the time just fucking it up more and more.

    Oh, once that’s been done for education, do it for health and tax polices as well. I know it’s a strange idea but lets change the landscape such that the really important stuff isn’t a political football in a constant state of flux in the best interest of electoral popularity rather than working in the best interests of NZ.

    Any govt. that was capable would get the hell out of broadcasting, housing, ACC (dare I mention that), much of welfare, wages settings, and many many more things that it no longer has business being involved in. It 2012 FFS. not 1812

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  48. Johnboy (16,529 comments) says:

    “we get”

    Jeeze Rightandleft. You really have to get your propaganda training sorted!!!! :) :) :)

    Try this bloke:

    http://www.google.co.nz/search?q=joseph+goebbels&hl=en&prmd=imvnsob&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=CUptT5unNIK3iQfV98yBBg&ved=0CC4QsAQ&biw=1512&bih=852

    :)

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  49. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    Johnboy,

    I’ve never tried to hide the fact that I’m a teacher and PPTA member. I’d suck at propaganda because I don’t like twisting the truth when it is inconvenient for me. For example, I won’t argue that teaching isn’t a cushy job because I don’t have enough experience in other jobs to compare and I happen to like my job quite a bit. Maybe it is cushy compared to others, maybe not.

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  50. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    It 2012 FFS. not 1812

    Unintentionally hilarious, as ever. You really have no idea how little govts did in 1812, do you?

    Maybe it is cushy compared to others, maybe not.

    It’s a core tenet of dim-bulb Kiwiblog commenter faith that their own are difficult and complicated jobs that only top performers could handle, whereas others (especially in the public sector) are lazy, greedy, underworked featherbedders with jobs that could be done by trained monkeys. It’s nothing personal, just another aspect of the dim-bulbery.

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  51. Johnboy (16,529 comments) says:

    Mum and dad taught you well PM.

    Keep on keeping on, the rest of us need a good old laugh now and again. :)

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  52. Johnboy (16,529 comments) says:

    Anyone who detests propaganda Rightandleft would never be a member of a staunch left wing union.

    If you love teaching so much and are good at it (as I am sure you are) why don’t you withdraw from the union?

    In fact why don’t you start up a movement for good teachers, like yourself, to withdraw from the union?

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  53. Johnboy (16,529 comments) says:

    Why do really qualified people like teachers feel they have to belong to a union?

    Inadequate, underqualified, idiots like wharfies belong to unions

    Are Teachers underqualified, inadequate?

    If so they should resign from teaching!

    Still Airline Pilots seem to join unions as well! :)

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  54. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    Rightandleft

    I think good teachers are very underpaid in NZ, poor teachers are possibly overpaid… but the union like a monolithic collective, I guess it makes their life easy and enables them to donate more of your union subs to Labour rather than invest them into you as part of a professional collective.

    It’s OK that you are all good with that, it’s your right in freedom of association that enables that. However governments set state education employment policy, not unions. Good luck Rightandleft, I sincerely hope this round of change is positive for you.

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  55. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    johnboy

    Still Airline Pilots seem to join unions as well!

    Well how about that… we better make sure we only have one state run airline then or that union won’t be able to enforce one size fits all pay scales for all pilots.

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  56. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    And doctors, nurses and police officers. Seems lots of people join unions.

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  57. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    Johnboy,

    There is an argument that the best way to change a group is from within. But putting that aside, it is important to recognise not all unions are equal. In my time in PPTA there has only been a single 1-day strike. Yes there were other partial strikes, like rostering home, but only one day where we all walked out. Compare that to MUNZ with its weeks of strikes. I don’t think PPTA is too militant by comparison.

    More importantly though, PPTA has two components. One is the union role with which you would be most familiar of course. In addition to being a trade union though, it is also a professional association which provides some of the best professional development courses and workshops in the sector. I know from personal experience that far more time in meetings is spent on improving policies that affect student learning but have no impact on our actual workload or conditions than on anything industrial. That’s the plain truth, whether you accept it or not.

    As I said I don’t like half truths or propaganda. For example right now PPTA and the Labour Party have been pushing Finland as a great educational model. They fail to mention Finland has a form of performance pay that PPTA would want to fight to the bitter end. I dislike the convenient ommissions political parties, unions and employers of all political stripes make. But that doesn’t mean the best thing to do is pull out and start my own weak little sub-group. I’ll leave that to the Hone Harawiras of the world. The PPTA does a lot of good behind the scenes and those outside the profession just don’t know about it.

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  58. DJP6-25 (1,387 comments) says:

    burt 10:25am. That is not so formidable a challenge. Sell all the schools to their respective BOTs for $1. That way each school is an individual entity. No longer subject to the ‘Education Department’. Next, dis-establish the primary to secondary bits of said ‘department’. Problem solved.

    cheers

    David Prosser

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  59. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    David,

    The Education Department has not existed since the Tomorrow’s Schools reforms 23 years ago. The Ministry of Education that replaced it is significantly smaller and has far less control over schools. There are no developed countries in the world today that completely lack a public education system, but that seems to be what you are promoting. If all schools were essentially private cooperatives and there were no school zones to guarantee a place to all kids in that zone you would end up with a situation where any child with serious learning or behavioural problems could be rejected or expelled from all local schools with no recourse. If my school was allowed to expell/exclude students at will, without Ministry guidelines/oversight we could greatly improve our stats by pushing out the dispruptive kids. The problem for society then is what happens to those kids not in school, now and when they become uneducated adults?

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  60. Johnboy (16,529 comments) says:

    Rightandleft.

    Why would someone like yourself, who is obviously well qualified and competent at your profession as a teacher, ever wish to be classed as the lowest common denominator by joining a bloody union?

    Never having been in union in my 44 years of employment, except for 3 weeks when I worked for GM Petone (between real jobs), I have trouble understanding why people with real pride in their abilities would ever join a bloody union.

    I can only put it down to the fact that the teaching profession is under the thumb of dreadful little socialist, union, turds that are bloody fearful for their own jobs.

    If you have been following the POA saga you will see that union bosses really don’t give a shit about their members.

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  61. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    Johnboy,

    My only experience of non-union work was in a series of retail jobs I worked while a teenager and student. My experience was that the employers would do anything to maximise their profit at the expense of workers. At one job I was intentionally kept rostered at 38 hours a week so I would not qualify as full-time and be require them to give me benefits like holiday time (this was in the US where there are far fewer legal protections for workers). In both the US and NZ I worked places where my rostered hours changed wildly with 1 week notice. In NZ I worked at one small business that broke numerous labour laws. For one thing they forced us to work on Christmas and Easter (which was illegal to begin with) and didn’t even pay us proper holiday wages. But no one dared speak up lest we be easily replaced during a time of recession. My experience taught me that a union is the only protection an unskilled worker has from unscrupulous employers.

    I’m not saying unions can’t also be corrupt or go to far. The auto workers’ unions in the US, the American Longshoremen, the MUNZ here, plenty have stretched too far. In some cases they bankrupted their own businesses. But employers are just as guilty of the same thing. In my one skilled private-sector job, at an insurance company, I watched our board of directors get tried and convicted of fraud and bribery. The result was loss of confidence from customers and soon job losses and near bankruptcy. I think unions and employers each have a role to play in creating a balance between employee rights and the need to make a business profitable. Happier employees are more productive after all.

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  62. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    And if you think the PPTA is militant you should also compare it to teacher unions in the US. They have their members getting generous pensions, letting them retire in their 50s, getting all or most of their health and dental insurance paid by the state (in a country where the average family insurance plan is around US$1,200-1,500/month). NZ teachers have nothing like that, there is no pension, we often work until we’re close to 70. The focus here is just holding onto the conditions we have and decreasing class sizes. Yes, that lowers teacher workload and helps us, but the research actually does say it helps the students too, a win-win.

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  63. Johnboy (16,529 comments) says:

    “My experience taught me that a union is the only protection an unskilled worker has from unscrupulous employers. ”

    Hell man. You claim to be a bloody teacher. You are not an unskilled burger flipper!!

    Are you a teacher?

    Are you qualified?

    What is your field of expertise?

    What are your qualifications?

    Why do you feel that you need a piece of shit like the teachers union organiser to do your thinking for you?

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  64. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    Why would someone like yourself, who is obviously well qualified and competent at your profession as a teacher, ever wish to be classed as the lowest common denominator by joining a bloody union?

    Indeed – how are you going to reach the towering heights of intellectual sophistication, insight and professional achievement embodied by people like Johnboy if you join a union? It’s a mystery…

    However governments set state education employment policy, not unions.

    Once upon a time, a Labour govt keen on socialised medicine found that it’s difficult to impose your will on a professional association that thinks your policy is shit. This National govt is making the same mistake as that Labour one and will most likely experience the same humiliating defeat.

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  65. Johnboy (16,529 comments) says:

    The Greek teachers probably had a much better pension plan than the Yank teachers Rightandleftbut it seems to have turned to shit!

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  66. Johnboy (16,529 comments) says:

    Do you know how to turn a bus over and stack tires properly for the barricades Psycho or will you just improvise like you have all along? :)

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  67. big bruv (13,886 comments) says:

    rightandleft

    “And if you think the PPTA is militant you should also compare it to teacher unions in the US. They have their members getting generous pensions, letting them retire in their 50s, getting all or most of their health and dental insurance paid by the state”

    Yep….then along came Gov Chris Christie of New Jersey. :)

    I love the way that Christie is taking on the teachers union scum.

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  68. Johnboy (16,529 comments) says:

    You ever been in a union BB ?

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  69. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    Johnboy: “Rah, rah, rah, we’re going to smash the oiks! Ha ha ha ha ha!”

    Repeat.

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  70. Johnboy (16,529 comments) says:

    You are a very sad little article when you run out of logical argument Psycho. :)

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  71. big bruv (13,886 comments) says:

    Johnboy

    Yes, when I started my working life I had no choice but to belong to a union.

    Although I put it off for as long as I could before some pommy thug turned up at work and jabbed his finger into my chest telling me that I had “no fucking choice” to join the union or not.

    I always thought that was a stupid thing for that union thug given I was a hot head in my younger days and on my hips I had the tools of my trade…….three razor sharp butchers knifes.

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  72. Johnboy (16,529 comments) says:

    Did you castrate the stupid pommy bastard BB and turn his leftover bits into sausage? :)

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  73. Johnboy (16,529 comments) says:

    But why the hell would a teacher ever want to be in a bloody union?

    Just not logical really.

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  74. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    Big Bruv,

    The thing about education in the US is there are 50 different and completely independent systems. There are also several different teacher unions, some national, some state-wide. Some states don’t even allow teachers to have collective agreements. However the states without collective agreements, without unions, are the lowest national performers in the country. Unions in Wisconsin and New Jersey have been big-time losers recently. But that doesn’t mean that’s the way things are everywhere in the US.

    Johnboy,

    It just so happens that in my school I am the union organiser. So let me assure you I don’t tell other members how to think. I couldn’t do that even if I wanted to. As you pointed out we are highly skilled workers, independently minded people with univeristy degrees. Having never been in a union yourself you of course have no first-hand knowledge of how they actually function. Maybe in the old days, or maybe today in unskilled labour unions, the union bosses direct workers how they will vote, or intimidate dissenters into following the party line. But in PPTA that most certainly is not how it works. Every issue that comes up gets hotly debated. These are educated people used to lecturing to a classroom of potentially hostile teens, a union meeting isn’t going to intimidate any of them. The ideas promoted by the union come out of these branch meetings, not dictated by some boss in Wellington.

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  75. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    Johnboy, commenting on Kiwiblog is about mudwrestling with the circus freaks, not making logical arguments. I do it for entertainment when avoiding the stuff I really should be doing but don’t feel like doing. As one of the gimpiest circus freaks, you should know this. If you doubt it, review this thread looking for any point at which you made a logical argument (hint: it’s a fruitless quest).

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  76. Alan Wilkinson (1,878 comments) says:

    RightAndLeft, as with any other business success will depend on the quality of the management. How good are the principals? If they can’t judge good and bad teaching they shouldn’t survive this regime. It is probably a skill that hasn’t been so critical under the unionised/centralised pay system.

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  77. Johnboy (16,529 comments) says:

    What a surprise to hear that you are a union organiser Rightandleft! :)

    As you say I have no knowledge of having other people telling me how to think so cant possibly comment on your particular little fiefdom situation.

    What I really find very surprising is that I once thought that Teachers were independent thinkers, as they were in my school days, and prided themselves on that, just as Socrates did 2500 years ago.

    Its very, very sad, to see that they just seem to be little functionaries in a socialist agenda.

    Time the education system was totally privatised I suggest.

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  78. Johnboy (16,529 comments) says:

    You really are a poor, sad, wee apology for a real socialist PM. :)

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  79. big bruv (13,886 comments) says:

    R&L

    “Unions in Wisconsin and New Jersey have been big-time losers recently.”

    Utter rubbish. They have lost very little, as usual with teachers unions they are more worried about themselves than the kids they profess to care about.

    One can only hope that the Christie style of dealing with the teachers union scum catches on across the USA and across NZ.

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  80. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    Johnboy,

    Okay, so you clearly either aren’t reading my full comments or you simply think I’m lying. In which case further debate would be pointless. You suggest we privatise the whole system, a position well to the right of pretty much every party and even the conservative governments of the most anti-union American states. No matter what I say you will be convinced that all unions are socialist and anyone who belongs to one and is not socialist themselves is a weak fool taking orders from the lefty organisers. Well I’m one of those organisers and I’m no left-winger, hell I vote National (though perhaps you are among those who consider National too far left as well).

    On a number of issues you’ll find me pretty far to the right too, but I always try to make a reasoned argument to back up my case. So please feel free to defend your privatisation argument by citing all the wondeful entirely privatised national school systems beating our own for results.

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  81. Johnboy (16,529 comments) says:

    You completely miss the point Rightandleft.

    All teachers should be utterly comfortable in their own abilities and should not need a union to tell them how they should think.
    They should be able to teach their pupils in the way they wish too, with regard to the requirements of the qualification system, and stand or fall by the results they achieve.

    They should be true professionals and not poor little apologists cowed by the union bosses.

    When I went to school that’s how it was. Some of them were really eccentric but none of them were in the union.

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  82. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    Big Bruv,

    The unions in Wisconsin have lost hugely. They lost the right to bargain over anything but pay and cannot even ask for a payrise above inflation rate. They’ve also lost the ability to deduct union dues directly from payroll and the right to strike. Teachers took a 10% pay cut by being forced to put that money into their healthcare costs and a pension scheme. Class sizes were increased by 10% and the school day and year are allowed to be increased without giving teachers any payrise. This has lead to a huge increase in teachers retiring or quitting.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Education/2011/0916/Wisconsin-teachers-retire-in-droves-after-union-loss-in-bargaining-fight

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  83. Johnboy (16,529 comments) says:

    The more you go on the more you sound like a union organiser rather than a teacher Rightandleft.

    I suspect it is just a waste of time talking to you! :)

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  84. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    Johnboy,

    “All teachers should be utterly comfortable in their own abilities and should not need a union to tell them how they should think.”

    You just don’t see how a union is supposed to work, only the way some of them did work in the past. The union is not a top-down operation like a business where the bigwigs at Home Office tell the members how to vote, what positions to support, when to strike and for what conditions. There are no stooges intimidating non-member teachers into joining or telling members they’d better be on that picket line or else, or they’d better get handing out some Labour signs or something.

    It generally works like this: A branch chair calls a meeting and asks the members at their school what issues they care about. Based on the list of issues and some debate a motion or two are written and voted on. It passed they are sent around via e-mail to all other branches in the region and discussed (maybe just by e-mail, maybe at a meeting, and voted on). Then the motions are taken to a regional meeting, which happens 4 times a year. The branch reps at the meeting vote for their branches, however their members voted, and the regional representative to the national executive then takes the carried motion on, or it becomes an issue to be decided at an annual national conference. The executive acts on the will of the members. No one tells us how to think. If an individual member doesn’t agree with the ruling, they’re free to say so. When people don’t go out on strike with the rest of us we are disappointed but nothing nasty is said. We are a friendly bunch, teachers. We all have tea and lunch together in the staffroom everyday. We don’t need intimidation.

    “They should be able to teach their pupils in the way they wish too, with regard to the requirements of the qualification system…”

    The union does not tell people how to teach. We run workshops on best practice, based on the latest research, to upskill teachers. But it is the Board of Trustees, the Prinicipal and the Curriculum which define how we teach.

    Your whole view is based on an understanding of labour unions that may, possibly, fit MUNZ or some others, but not PPTA. Some on the left take the view that all employers are evil, all big businesses bad. I dismiss that as incorrect as well. Not all businesses are bad, and not all unions are run by bullying socialist thugs. Not all union members are told how to think or vote. If you can’t accept that, it’s too bad, but then we just have to agree to disagree.

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  85. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    Big Bruv,

    The unions in Wisconsin have lost hugely.

    They still exist – from Big Bruv’s perspective, that’s a great victory for them and a terrible loss for right-wingers everywhere. As you’ve noticed, the circus freaks on this thread see performance pay for teachers as falling regrettably far short of the desired goal of privatising and de-unionising the education system completely.

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  86. Johnboy (16,529 comments) says:

    Hell that was a long excuse for not allowing independent thought by individual teachers Rightandleft!

    I was right, you are a sad little union functionary.

    Let them go to grow their own individual wings Rightandleft.

    You may be surprised what they can achieve once your influence has gone! :)

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  87. Johnboy (16,529 comments) says:

    As I said before Milt. You are a sad wee creature! :)

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  88. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    Johnboy,

    Okay, I can now see that you’re not actually interested in any form of reasoned debate. You’re a troll, looking to anger people for your own enjoyment. You aren’t actually reading my comments, just saying whatever you think will upset me more. Whether you’re doing it because you genuinely dislike anyone with even a single left-wing position out of some sort of pathalogical hatred, or because you just like getting a rise out of people I honestly don’t know. Were this an actual live debate you would have lost the moment you started throwing around personal insults. I also notice you never took up my offer to defend your position on total privatisation. Anything to add there? Any way to defend it using research or examples? Anything other than pure ideology or plain old trolling?

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  89. Nostalgia-NZ (5,198 comments) says:

    Rightandleft

    Do you notice the argument that you can’t be in a union on the basis of your own free will, and that if you decide that’s what suits- being in a union, you get attacked for being compliant to the pressure of union thugs rather than other thugs that want to tell you what to do. Bloody madness.

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  90. Johnboy (16,529 comments) says:

    Hell Rightandleft you just cant get it can you.

    Teachers are supposed to be professionals with advanced education and highly developed skills to pass all that knowledge onto our most precious citizens, our children.

    They don’t need nasty little know all fucks like you telling them how it should be done according to Marx or whatever.

    Let them get on with teaching, free of the pressures from the scum that control the teacher unions.

    What teaching needs is dedicated people who do it because they love too.

    What it doesn’t need is a bunch of lefties manipulating the system for their own ends.

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  91. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    “They don’t need nasty little know all fucks like you…”

    Did I touch a nerve? No smiley? And still no reasoned defense of complete privatisation either eh?

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  92. Johnboy (16,529 comments) says:

    Well you did come on as a concerned teacher person that votes National and morphed into a union tosser and all I can say is that if I was hiring you to teach in a private school I was running I would be far more concerned with your academic qualifications rather than your status with the union. :)

    Sorry one more for my previous lapse. :)

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  93. Leaping Jimmy (16,447 comments) says:

    They don’t need nasty little know all fucks like you

    Everyone needs nasty little know it all fucks, period. It’s only lefties who don’t think they need them to be the same as them, which is why all the rest of us hates lefties so very much since they’re so fucking self-righteous.

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  94. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    I am a concerned teacher and I do in fact vote National. In fact in 2008 I seriously considered ACT based on their support for the 3-strikes law and positions on a couple other issues. It is nice to have now been called a socialist/Marxist by a right-winger. I’ve been called a “fascist” by a couple hippies for my views climate change and even once a “capitalist” (as their idea of dirty slur) by a Labour Party activist for my support of mixed-ownership model. Now I’ve got the whole set of epithets, right and left. Pretty much confirms for me that I’m actually somewhere in the centre.

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  95. Johnboy (16,529 comments) says:

    Rightandleft is a multidimensional, pan galactic, know all, little fuck Jimmy, and he teaches children as well when his union duties allow.

    Truly a renaissance man. :)

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  96. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    Past 9PM now. I know it is the week-end but isn’t this past your bedtime?

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  97. Leaping Jimmy (16,447 comments) says:

    RightandLeft, genuinely interested.

    However would appreciate if you could lay out a starting position re this.

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  98. adze (2,126 comments) says:

    Thanks for the contributions R&L.

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  99. DJP6-25 (1,387 comments) says:

    Rightandleft 6:30. You’ll have to excuse me, I’ve been out, and only just got home. So, it’s the ministry that gets greatly downsized. Same for the ‘teachers colleges’. As for schools. One’s local school has to take one if one’s first choice is not available. Oh, and the funding follows the pupil.

    cheers

    David Prosser

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  100. DJP6-25 (1,387 comments) says:

    Rightandleft 9:19 pm. Being in the centre does tend mean you get run over by both sides. Thanks for the well argued comments. Good luck with your students.

    cheers

    David Prosser

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  101. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    One’s local school has to take one if one’s first choice is not available.

    Or in other words, the exact situation we have now.

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  102. Mark (1,488 comments) says:

    “It is good to see the Government finally embracing performance pay so hopefully the best teachers will get paid more than the worst teachers. However I have some doubts about a centralised system of performance pay.

    My preferred model is to delegate school budgets to boards (that wish to have them delegated) and allow the board and principal to pay staff as they see best. So they could pay (for example) a brilliant science teacher with five years experience $90,000 and pay a mediocre science teacher with twenty years experience say $60,000″.

    This is good in theory. I am the chair of a school board of trustees and how do you propose that performance pay be determined. Is the better teacher the one that gets by way of example more merits and excellence endorsements for NCEA than the one that doesn’t or is it the teacher that gets a class full of struggling kids an achieved NCEA result. Who is going to be the arbiter of the standards. Will there be some form of moderation/advice and resource provided to unpaid well intentioned school boards.

    Why will it struggle Because the government will not provide adequate resource, moderation or training. I can imagine the Auckland Grammars Wellington Colleges will do ok because they have an array of professionals as Board members, schooled and skilled in dealing with performance pay issues. I can see the likes of the decile one and two schools being hung out to dry by Parata’s great intentions.

    I happily work in a performance pay environment, but also in an environment where performance is measurable on an objective level not a subjective one that teaching will have to cope with. PP can be a great incentive but it is a double edged sword. Get it wrong and it can be incredibly demotivating. DFP we accept you are a cheer leader for performance pay and it all sounds great in theory but unless the government commits considerable resource to its implementation (which they wont) it will stuggle.

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