Why is the NZEI against extra money for teachers?

June 5th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

writes at Stuff:

This week the Minister of Education, Hekia Parata, released a report on the details of the government’s $359 million policy to create a new career structure for teachers (Investing in Educational Success) following consultation with the education sector.

The Beehive media release makes it sound as if everybody is happy as a result of the consultation, and most are, including the secondary teachers’ union, the PPTA.

But the primary teacher’s union is far from happy. The New Zealand Educational Institute () say they have a better plan for how they would spend the funds.

I think the NZEI would just like the $359 million paid directly to them, to spend as they see fit.

This is all symptomatic of a broader issue in New Zealand education: the NZEI wants to have their cake and eat it too. They want to ensure that the allocation of education funding is controlled centrally, and they want to have control over education policy. Yet, they are not the ones accountable for education funding, so they shouldn’t be expected to make those hard decisions.

This is pretty dead right. The NZEI doesn’t think parents, taxpayers or the Government have a significant role in education policy. They seem to think our job is to just pay money to them.

NZEI spokesman Ian Leckie says that the policy “is a one-size-fits-all plan and totally ignores the particular circumstances of each school.”

But if you want to get away from the bureaucracy of centralised policy making, and give teachers the power to make their own policies and to allocate funding in the way that’s best for the children in their schools, then by definition, you cannot also have a centralised model.

You would have to give schools full funding and allow them to negotiate their individual employment agreements at the local school level, and they would need to be fully accountable for that funding.

That’s what I would do. Fully fund each school for salaries, properties and operation and let them decide locally how to divide it up.

The problem with NZEI wanting decision-making power in education policy is that it’s not the group accountable to the person footing the bill, AKA the taxpayer.

Policy making is an exercise in trade-offs between having your cake and eating it too, and the accountable party has to make those difficult decisions. The buck stops with government.

Teachers have a wonderful opportunity to work constructively with government on the execution of this policy. Let’s hope the NZEI realise this instead of going into automatic resistance mode, because the $359m for teachers is icing on the cake.

The only union in NZ fighting bitterly against a Government wanting to give payrises of between $10,000 and $50,000 to some of its own members!

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25 Responses to “Why is the NZEI against extra money for teachers?”

  1. Unity (362 comments) says:

    You can virtually guarantee that if the Teachers Union is against it, it is a good policy. I’m all for rewarding the better teachers over and above the poor performers. I also think teachers should work constructively with Government on policy because they are in the best position to know what works and what doesn’t.

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  2. mikenmild (11,158 comments) says:

    So Unity, knowing that the other teachers’ union, the PPTA, is for the policy must make you rather confused!

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  3. Unity (362 comments) says:

    Oops, I didn’t read it properly, Mikenmild. Thanks for that. Yes, rather confusing now. Am in a rush, so will read it properly when I have a bit more time.

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  4. RightNow (6,777 comments) says:

    So the PPTA are acting like grown ups. Good for them.
    I expect the NZEI will be seeing declining membership already. Can you confirm that Mikenmild?

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  5. Kimble (4,392 comments) says:

    I expect the NZEI will be seeing declining membership already…

    Countdown starting now for some Union official to refer to the teachers getting paid more as “scabs” or “Uncle Toms”.

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  6. itstricky (1,678 comments) says:

    Well that’s a bit silly ain’t it.

    That’s what I would do. Fully fund each school for salaries, properties and operation and let them decide locally how to divide it up.

    Before you did that would you have an axe to grind about the motives/ideology of the author? No mention on the Stuff page about who she is or where she’s from? Isn’t that one of your favourite gripes?

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  7. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,810 comments) says:

    Quite so, Kimble.

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  8. burt (7,945 comments) says:

    NZEI have once again showed their primary concern, their membership numbers rather than their members. CLOSE THEM DOWN !

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  9. itstricky (1,678 comments) says:

    Five up votes for Unity’s teacher union rant and four down votes for MM correcting that. Yep, another quality commentary by people in the educational know. Sigh…

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  10. JMS (313 comments) says:

    I’m all for rewarding the better teachers over and above the poor performers.

    So am I. But would you trust a bureaucracy with determining who is worthy of reward and who isn’t?
    Government is hopeless at that sort of thing.
    Even the private sector struggles with it, but is still far ahead of government.

    Best thing we could do is privatise education, possibly with some sort of voucher system

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  11. prosper (137 comments) says:

    The problem with education is the NZEI is not in the know they are quite a destructive, negative union.

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  12. gump (1,538 comments) says:

    Did the NZEI oppose bulk funding?

    Because that was the ultimate policy for schools to determine their individual and local needs.

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  13. prosper (137 comments) says:

    Gump. Yes they did oppose. They managed to get the Labour government to dump it.

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  14. JamesBlake (59 comments) says:

    Yea JMS we should totally go down the Education Path the USA started down because their results are what we are after.

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  15. gump (1,538 comments) says:

    @prosper

    “Gump. Yes they did oppose. They managed to get the Labour government to dump it.”

    —————————

    That’s what I thought, and it makes no sense to me.

    They seem to be arguing that schools are in the best position to determine their individual needs, but when schools were actually given control over their budgets they opposed it.

    I just don’t get it.

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  16. Captain Pugwash (97 comments) says:

    A good friend of mine is a school teacher, in fact she is very well regarded and has been publicly praised for her ability. I asked her about this and she said the extra money would be great however, she works six days a week, three or four evenings a week, so she doesn’t know how she would find the time to be a mentor to other teachers, let alone carry on with the current workload. From what I’ve seen (I’ve been friends with some teachers from student days) it seems to me a lot of good teachers get bogged down with reports, administration, planning, risk assessment for anything outside of the class room, this does not take into account dealing with any child who is “outside” of what is considered normal.

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  17. timmydevo (41 comments) says:

    Right on Capt’n…. Being a great teacher is obviously… well… great. But it takes a huge time commitment. Being a great teacher required being with the students, supporting their learning. Being a great teacher is working along side the strugglers and the ambitious. I don’t see how taking the amazing teacher OUT of the classroom (in the case of expert teachers, upto 40% of a week) and telling other teachers how to do their job will be in anyway successful for those students that are missing their teacher 1-2 days a week for the year…

    However, being a teacher, who works hard during the day and into my evenings… I’ll probably go for one of the roles available to me, because it’s an opportunity, so I’d hope my school is open to an evolving work-load.

    Quite torn!

    As for NZEI… they suck up money, and deliver little. Primary teachers are increasingly tired of their union, the money they absorb from their fortnightly pay, and the little positive action from them. Meetings meetings meetings… resolutions etc…. but they make us look like an ungrateful pack of attention seekers. But they are the insurance policy should I be fasely accused of something, so they do have a purpose.

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  18. doggone7 (741 comments) says:

    The old saying “putting your money where your mouth is” comes to mind.

    And after all the hoo-ha lately about political people selling out, we have the members of a union not prepared to be hypocrites.

    So do the anti union people, the anti NZEI people congratulate them on sticking to their principles? Hell no, of course not.

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  19. burt (7,945 comments) says:

    doggone7

    Their principles are – protect the best interests of their membership numbers. Self serving principles don’t tend to be supported by people seeking better outcomes.

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  20. Rightandleft (650 comments) says:

    They aren’t sticking to their principles though. They’re supposed to fight for better pay and career pathways for their members. They’re supposedly in favour of more collaboration between schools and opposed National Standards on the basis that it furthered unfair competition between schools, yet here oppose a policy to increase collaboration. But hey if they don’t want the money that’s fine, I’m sure PPTA and secondary teachers will be happy to have it all. It could almost make up for the way NZEI has dragged down secondary teacher salaries for the last decade.

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  21. ross411 (283 comments) says:

    doggone7 (571 comments) says:
    June 5th, 2014 at 2:40 pm
    The old saying “putting your money where your mouth is” comes to mind.

    And after all the hoo-ha lately about political people selling out, we have the members of a union not prepared to be hypocrites.

    So do the anti union people, the anti NZEI people congratulate them on sticking to their principles? Hell no, of course not.

    You make it sound black and white, and obvious to anyone who doesn’t have a stake in NZEI getting this money. Why don’t you lay it out.

    How are they sticking to their principles and what are they exactly?

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  22. katrgt (1 comment) says:

    I see you have failed to put what NZEI wants the $359 million actually spent on. They don’t want the money going to creating a whole lot of extra management positions that make little difference to student achievement. They would like the money to go to more one on one support for students that are struggling. There is already a structure put in place that NZEI negotiated that covers the extra step for teachers called ‘Advanced Classroom Expertise Teacher’ which is what teachers asked for. This is to help acknowledge excellent teachers that want to stay in the classroom instead of going into management. Management takes good teachers out of the classroom. We don’t need any more managers. We need to get money into things that will help the children directly. So, I suggest in the future you check your facts first. Teachers are not interested in extra money for themselves, they want something that will make a difference, REALLY, make a difference for the children they teach. They see the children every day and can tell what will benefit them. If NZEI and teachers were as bad as you say wouldn’t they be taking the money, putting it in their pockets and running with it???

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  23. doggone7 (741 comments) says:

    katrgt

    Oops, someone coming on here with a bit of inside information. And outlining some of the principles referred to above.

    The topic is a chance for those who don’t know what it’s all about to get stuck into teachers and get stuck into their union. It’s just part of the campaign to classify teachers as the opposition, the nasties that St Hekia and St John and St Bill are going to sort out. As such inflammatory, trite epithets will gather the muddled miscreants with their support. Almost like the “rent-a- mob” protestors the same ones rail against!

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  24. RightNow (6,777 comments) says:

    I’m sure NZEI have a lot to contribute to education in NZ.
    Perhaps the problem is their inability to work collaboratively with a National led government. PPTA seem to be able to do it.

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  25. tuisong (2 comments) says:

    I used to be a teacher as well as a teacher aide in the Primary sector, and I can’t *stand* the NZEI. I don’t mind the idea of a union there to look after the members but the NZEI go waaaaaaaay beyond that. Their campaigns against virtually *everything*, especially National Standards which have been ticking along nicely for about 4 years now, Charter Schools which we haven’t even had a chance to see whether they will help those kids who haven’t done well in the usual State Schools, and now the IES make me sick. And what’s worse is that they put out not just irrelevant information but complete lies about various things. I heard from a very good, reliable source closely tied to the working group that discussed this IES thing (the Lead Teacher initiative) for months before the announcement in January, that the NZEI drove everyone crazy with their stubbornness and negativity and heel-digging. Even now I hear various NZEI drones spouting the same old crap about how there was “no consultation” with the sector. Puh-leeeeease. Do they expect every single teacher in the country to be phoned up or fill in a questionnaire or something? Have you seen this, put out by the PPTA, which actually corrects some of the misinformation put out by the NZEI ? It’s just a pity so many teachers are sheeple who don’t investigate and find out the truth, as I have done.

    file:///C:/Users/Administrator/Downloads/PPTA_response_to_IES_videoa%20(2).pdf

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