Labour against paying the top teachers more

June 12th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The Government’s $359 million expert teachers policy has proved to be the latest in a series of “epic failures” in the education sector due to a lack of consultation with teachers and will soon announce a better model it says.

The Government policy which would see “expert” and “lead” teachers identified and paid extra to act as role models across several was slammed by primary teachers union the and the NZ Principals Federation after they met to discuss it this week.

What the story doesn’t mention is that the has said:

The government’s $359 million Investing in Educational Success (IES) program has been a positive example of sector collaboration, says PPTA president Angela Roberts.

Roberts welcomes today’s release of the working group report on the initiative which will see schools across the country collaborating rather than competing.

From PPTA’s point of view the consultation over IES was comprehensive, robust and genuine, Roberts said.

“We stepped up to the challenge and engaged as fully as it is possible to do.”

The sector had worked hard together to find pragmatic answers and there had been significant movement from the originally unacceptable cabinet paper, Roberts said.

“You know it’s collaboration when it’s hard work – and this was really hard work.”

“We feel cabinet has heard us,” she said.

Now the PPTA is not exactly a friend of the Government’s. It opposes the Government on many other issues. It would not be saying that there has been genuine consultation and changes – unless there had been.

NZEI National President Judith Nowotarski said leaders from national and regional principal and teacher groups had sent a clear message that the policy, as it currently stood, was “unacceptable and unworkable” and “identified the lack of direct benefit for children in this policy”.

School leaders were concerned the policy would remove highly rated teachers and principals from their schools for two days a week, which would impact on children’s learning.

The PPTA actually deals with this in a blog post:

4. The evidence is lacking

There is plenty of evidence on the professional benefits of mentoring and the positive results that focusing on collaboration rather than competition will bring.

5. There is growing disquiet and concern in the sector…

Only in a small part of the beltway in Wellington.  Elsewhere schools are thinking about what clusters they are already in and what they need to do to be ready to pick up the extra staffing and funding that will come in next year.  Listen carefully – that is the sound of professionals collaborating.

Again why would the PPTA say this, if they did not think the policy was beneficial?

Labour’s education spokesman Chris Hipkins said the fact that teachers and principals were willing to turn down pay rises of up to $40,000 a year “reflects how bad they believe this policy is”.

It’s more a reflection that the NZEI just wants a Labour-led Government so National Standards can be abolished.

Mr Hipkins said Ms Parata had learned nothing about working with teachers.

“She has overseen epic failures including the class size debacle, the Christchurch schools mergers, charter schools and National Standards. And let’s not forget Novopay.”

Again I quote the PPTA blog:

1. There has been no consultation.

This might be true if these changes had been legislated in place but that’s not what happened. The $359 million was an employer offer made to unions for them to bargain and amend with the aim of eventually putting it into their collective agreements.   If using the democratic structures of unions to made changes for teachers isn’t consultation what is?

Strange that this article quotes the NZEI and Labour at length, and doesn’t even mention the views of the PPTA.

But I welcome the (almost) clear sign from Labour they they oppose this policy (they pretended to support it when first announced). This gives people another reasons to vote National.

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23 Responses to “Labour against paying the top teachers more”

  1. Brian Smaller (4,028 comments) says:

    I am guessing that the teachers who would turn down up to 40K extra in their pay packet would be the ones who it wouldn’t be offered to.

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  2. All_on_Red (1,489 comments) says:

    More deceit by omission from the Herald. What a disgrace that paper is. No wonder it’s readership is dying at the rate of 10% per annum and advertisers are reducing support.

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  3. Cunningham (829 comments) says:

    What us wrong with these Unions? I find it bizarre that there can be such a difference between the views of these organisations. Really shows that they are more into playing politics then working constructively even amongst themselves. Just sad.

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  4. jv (14 comments) says:

    Excellent PPTA supportive perspective on Nine to Noon yesterday from Principal of Queen Charlotte College.Then no leadership and a negative irrational set piece from the Primary Principals.

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  5. hubbers (230 comments) says:

    I wonder if the Herald readership is still dropping like a stone. Must be the Internet. Couldn’t possibly be a massive political bias which regular people don’t agree with.

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  6. Rightandleft (656 comments) says:

    Cunningham,

    I don’t know how you can slam the unions as a whole for this. Obviously PPTA is not just playing politics. It is working constructively with the Government to get the best deal for teachers and students. As for NZEI, I cannot understand their logic. They’ve essentially lied to their members about the whole thing and now apparently convinced their Labour party mates of the same thing. They took part in the consultation but now say Parata ignored them?! I’m a strong PPTA member but for once I’m on Parata’s side. She took this to the sector and it was a model of how policy should be made.

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  7. louie (92 comments) says:

    No comments allowed by the Herald? I haven’t been there before but felt obliged to read the full article. I was struck by the apparent youth of the reporter (from his photo). Strange how they never feel the need to ‘speak truth to power’ when the power is the Labour Party or one of it’s affiliated unions.

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  8. greenjacket (437 comments) says:

    “Strange that this article quotes the NZEI and Labour at length, and doesn’t even mention the views of the PPTA.”
    Not strange at all – usual standard of journalism from the Herald.

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  9. projectman (206 comments) says:

    Always remember there are tensions between secondary teachers (PPTA) and primary (NZEI). Primary think they shoud have pay parity (why?, the jobs aren’t comparable despite what they might think) and tensions spring from that. I believe this underlies much of what goes on in the eduction sectors. The NZEI, as it often stated, is strongly opposed to National Standards (this is where most of the anti noise comes from) whereas many secondary schools are now constructively working with the standards.

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  10. polemic (430 comments) says:

    The problem again is the Labour want to pay everybody more for doing the same thing and getting the same result.

    This no doubt would improve student outcomes…..or would it?

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  11. Ross12 (1,284 comments) says:

    The argument about the good teachers been away from their class for two days a week –in some cases that may happen but with the current set up those same people are moving into management positions to further their career and increase their salary. So they are moving out of the class room anyway.
    This new idea gives those people another alternative to achieve the same things but at the same time not lose contact with the kids and probably avoid many meetings and admin BS. If it improves the other teachers and adds mentorship to younger teachers then kids win as well.

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  12. Akld Commercial Lawyer (165 comments) says:

    And the stuff from Hipkins demonstrates why we need a better Opposition that is prepared to actually do the hard work by looking at material closely and giving a measured response – rather than exhibiting tribal behaviour.

    Wearing my school BoT member hat, I have been pleasantly surprised at the constructive inputs from the PPTA. I would have to admit that I was anticipating the sort of response evidenced by the NZEI’s outpourings. Instead, whilst cautious about a policy that still needs a lot of work to flesh out how it will work at the coalface, the inputs they have provided have been of sound. As a result, my observation is that they are likely to provide a much better outcome for their members.

    To give one micro example, they “get it” that one of the problems facing schools in Auckland is the problem of talented and ambitious teachers finding limited opportunities within their own schools and regions to advance their careers and being faced with family upheaval of having to move, often out of Auckland for the short term, in order to advance. As a result, this policy and the scope for clustering opens a window of opportunity for many parties – the teachers to advance their career opportunities, their existing schools by retaining top talent, and other schools looking for mentoring and upskilling opportunities.

    I guess that this is just a bit too positive for some who are prepared to overlook the fact that student achievement should be their #1 priority – but thus far they seem to be confined to those standing on the sidelines making noise.

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  13. virtualmark (1,522 comments) says:

    Newsflash: The core of the Labour Party (the NZEI and NZPF) don’t like a National Party policy. Nose. Cut. Face.

    I’d like the Nats to just press on with the proposal but only with the secondary schools. I figure two things would happen …

    First, you’d start to build a factual record of whether the idea works to lift student attainment or not. No more arguments about epic failures or not. Let’s have the facts.

    Second, the primary teachers have always been irked about pay parity with the secondary teachers, and realising they’re missing out on tens of thousands of dollars will hurt them personally.

    Meanwhile, I’d take the money budgeted for the expert teachers in primary schools and use it for special grants to catch up on maintenance, to buy books, computers, sports equipment etc at those schools. So you ensure the students at least get something, even if their teachers are pants.

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  14. louie (92 comments) says:

    >Meanwhile, I’d take the money budgeted for the expert teachers in primary schools and use it for special grants to catch up on maintenance, to buy books, computers, sports equipment etc at those schools. So you ensure the students at least get something, even if their teachers are pants.

    Or give to the charter schools!

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  15. big bruv (13,571 comments) says:

    Of all the things I want to see Key do in his next term is a Maggie Thatcher style attack on the teachers unions.

    We simply will not improve our shocking failure rate (One in five kids fail) unless the unions are smashed. The Nat’s must point out that while a one in five failure rate is acceptable to Labour and the unions it is not going to be acceptable to the National party.

    Yes it might mean a war, but it is a war that our kids cannot afford the government to back down from.

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  16. virtualmark (1,522 comments) says:

    Question: Outside of the public sector (PSA, Police Association, Corrections) and education (PPTA, NZEI, NZPF, etc etc) and health (Nurses mainly, but junior doctors too) where are the other big union strongholds?

    I figure the EPMU is the next biggest union, but even then it’s only a relatively small proportion of the workers in the sectors it covers.

    In short, outside the public sector the unions have little or no relevance to the economy nowadays.

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  17. Keeping Stock (10,184 comments) says:

    The PPTA has stolen a march on the other education sector unions. The union has put aside its traditional distaste for all things with anything to do with National to try and see new career development positions created. Whilst these will benefit teachers and principals first, the long-tern beneficiaries will be the children taught by those teachers.

    As much as this grates, I take my hat off to the PPTA for putting the interests of its members and school pupils ahead of political considerations, especially with an election so close.

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  18. Nigel Kearney (922 comments) says:

    We simply will not improve our shocking failure rate (One in five kids fail) unless the unions are smashed.

    The failure rate is a terrible metric to use. Anyone being judged on that is incentivised to put all their resources into the bottom half of pupils and leave the top half to sit around getting bored. Instead, we need to lift educational achievement across the board and it doesn’t matter if some people leave school unable to do more than dig ditches or clean toilets because we need that work done.

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  19. prosper (141 comments) says:

    I know several primary teachers who belong to the Nzei because they were bullied into it. How many teachers do the nzei truly represent and how many random teachers did they canvas before deciding the policy was an epic failure. How can a policy that has not been implemented yet be an epic failure? The nzei speaks only for a hard core cadre of socialists.

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  20. lolitasbrother (590 comments) says:

    farrar reports as follows :

    The Government policy which would see “expert” and “lead” teachers identified and paid extra to act as role models across several schools was slammed by primary teachers union the NZEI and the NZ Principals Federation after they met to discuss it this week.

    A sad story indeed.
    How many men do you need in the class room . One good man indeed.
    My own dear father was a brilliant school teacher,

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  21. Rightandleft (656 comments) says:

    The NZEI did canvas their members at regional meetings but apparently gave them false information about the IES and tied it to National Standards to make certain their people would reject it. There’s also the element that thinks it’s a Trojan horse because they can’t believe anything positive can come from National.

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  22. Keeping Stock (10,184 comments) says:

    There’s also the element that thinks it’s a Trojan horse because they can’t believe anything positive can come from National.

    And part of that element is the Green Party candidate for Invercargill, who at #19 on the Green Party list has an outside chance of becoming an MP if Labour’s vote collapses completely. He has blogged this:

    Classroom teachers, the New Zealand Educational Institute, the New Zealand Principal’s Federation and education academics have all strongly rejected the Government’s proposed $359 million Investment into Education Success (IES). All believe that this substantial amount of money will not produce the results that the Education Minister claims and would be better spent elsewhere.

    When I challenged him over the PPTA’s constructive position, he replied “I also believe they do not understand the full ramifications.”.

    The PPTA’s blog-post referred to by DPF makes it crystal clear that the PPTA understands exactly what is going on here, but is prepared to engage with the Government for the betterment of everyone. They are setting a great example to the other education unions that, just because there is a National government in place, they are still open to new ideas, unlike the NZEI, which is still in full battle mode, in preparation for the election.

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  23. Viking2 (11,284 comments) says:

    http://screencast.com/t/MGt1PFkD

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