Maori schools lash NZEI

March 29th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The country’s largest teachers’ union will march on Parliament today protesting against growing inequity in schools at the same time as the education minister is hosting an international summit.

NZEI has organised rallies in Wellington and Auckland timed to coincide with the hosting of OECD education ministers and union leaders, who are discussing best practices for lifting student achievement.

Education Minister Hekia Parata said she was disappointed with the protest timing, especially given NZEI’s involvement in the organisation of the summit and being part of previous delegations to New York and Amsterdam.

She would continue to have a relationship with the union, which was one of the objectives of the cross-sector forum that was set up following the first summit.

“We will continue to try to work together but it does take two.”

Nga Kura-a-Iwi, a federation representing Maori schools, has also spoken out against the NZEI and the “disrespect” it has shown the summit.

Co-chairwoman Arihia Stirling said it was an “inappropriate time to be airing dirty linen”.

“It’s wrong to do this now, we don’t have people dying in the street, we don’t have people bleeding at the hands of the education sector . . . it’s poor judgment of the leadership of the union to do this at this time.

“Why would you air your dirty linen in front of the world when it’s imperative we get the rest of the world down here to learn and strengthen our education system?”

The NZEI was welcoming summit guests with one hand and slapping them in the face with the other, she said.

The organisation is calling for Maori union members to withdraw their membership immediately.

NZEI seems to have given up any pretence of being constructive. Other teacher unions can work with Government when they agree, and criticise them when they disagree. But NZEI seems to go out of its way to do nothing but protest and attack. They’ve got so bad, that finally some schools are saying enough is enough.

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Espiner on charter schools

September 23rd, 2013 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Colin Espiner writes:

I’d thought that centrally-controlled, one-size-fits-all approach to education policy had disappeared with the introduction of Tomorrow’s Schools more than 20 years ago. But I reckoned without the teacher unions.

The vitriol spouted by the Post-Primary Teachers Association (PPTA) and the Educational Institute (NZEI) at the Government’s announcement last week that it would fund five privately-run Partnership Schools took me back in a flash to my early days as a reporter covering teacher union rallies and marches.

Back then, it was bulk funding and the devolution of central control to community boards of trustees the teacher unions didn’t like. Oh, and Lockwood Smith.

They went on to oppose NCEA, National Testing, religious schools integration, private school funding . . . in fact pretty much anything that threatened the status quo and the teacher unions’ privileged position within it.

NZEI specially seem incredibly reactionary. They have fought a four year campaign against simply having an extra page in a kid’s report cards that states where they are at compared to a national standard for their age in literacy and numeracy. Incredible.

What’s so wrong with trying something a little different? With offering students failing in the mainstream education system an alternative? A little military training wouldn’t go amiss with some of them. And is a spot of faith-based teaching and some Maori immersion learning really going to do any great harm?

Apparently. According to the PPTA, these schools are so evil the union is considering asking its members to boycott all cultural, sporting, and professional events involving Partnership Schools. Marvellous – that’ll help those kids already alienated from the mainstream feel like they’re wanted.

Matthew Hooton describes how the planned boycotts will work:

In practice, it means that if students from one of the five schools enter a netball team in their local competition, the PPTA will order its members to stop their students from playing against them.

If partnership-school students qualify for the regional swimming sports, the PPTA will prevent other students from entering the pool for fear of political pollution.

The same goes for the local debating, kapa haka or Mathex competition.

Who would have thought that unions would be pushing for effective segregation of students, like the US had in the 1960s.

Espiner concludes:

No one is suggesting the state education system should be dismantled. It provides a mostly adequate, sometimes excellent, service. But even the bureaucrats in Wellington admit they don’t have a monopoly on good ideas. So what are the unions so afraid of?

Possibly more flexible working hours, fewer holidays, a greater range of pay rates, and non-unionised workers. A system outside state control, where commercial success is actually encouraged. A bit like the world the rest of us live in.

At worst, these schools will not live up to their potential and will be shut down, probably by Labour. But what if they succeed? It won’t just be the students who stand to benefit. It’ll be all of us.

And unlike state schools, not one student or parent will be forced to attend a charter school. There are no zones for charter schools. Every pupil who attends will be there because they and/or their parents have decided they think they will do better at that school. That choice, is what the unions are trying to prevent.

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NZEI misrepresents report

July 8th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

3 News reported:

A US study, which a New Zealand teachers’ union has used to back up its claims that charter schools are failing, says they are actually helping struggling students.

A study by Stanford University’s Centre for Research on Educational Outcomes was referenced by the NZEI in its argument against charter schools being introduced in New Zealand.

A statement from the union says the 2013 study, which looked at charter schools in 26 states, found that the taxpayer-funded privately run schools do not justify their existence.

“It backs what educationalists in New Zealand have been saying all along – that charter schools are not the answer to improving educational outcomes for children,” said national president Judith Nowotarski.

But 3 News spoke to Stanford University:

It found charter school students had greater learning gains in reading than their peers in traditional public schools while there were equivalent learning gains in mathematics.

“The results reveal that the charter school sector is getting better on average and that charter schools are benefiting low-income, disadvantaged, and special education students,” said Dr Margaret Raymond, director of the centre.

According to the research, students in poverty, black students and those learning English gain most in both reading and maths compared to their traditional public school peers.

This is what Labour and Greens are fighting tooth and nail against!

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Dom Post on National Standards

June 20th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post editorial:

The time has come for teacher unions to accept that national standards in reading, writing and mathematics are here to stay.

Parents clearly want plain-English reports about how their children are progressing in the three most important building blocks for a sound education, and the policy has been overwhelmingly endorsed at the last two elections.

It is therefore in teachers’ interests to work with the Ministry of Education to ensure a sound system of assessment and data collection. Sadly, the signs this week are that teacher unions and representatives will continue cutting off their noses to spite their faces.

One of the strongest arguments teachers have advanced against the standards is that there is a lack of consistency in the way they are applied and insufficient moderation at a national level. It is therefore difficult to judge, on the raw data, how well one school, or even pupils within the same school but with different teachers, are performing compared to others.

That is a valid concern, and one that the ministry has always acknowledged would need to be addressed as national standards were bedded in. Its solution is an online tool designed to assist teachers to make more reliable and consistent assessments, thereby giving more confidence in the integrity of results. Known as the Progress and Consistency Tool, or PaCT, it is being trialled this year and will be compulsory from 2015.

Given the fears teachers hold about the inconsistency of national standards results and the lack of moderation, the public could be forgiven for thinking they would fully support the introduction of the tool. Instead, the primary teachers union NZEI, the Principals’ Federation, the Association of Intermediate and Middle Schools and the Catholic Principals’ Association have called on school boards and teachers to boycott PaCT.

It’s the solution to the very thing they have been complaining about – and their response is to boycott it. It’s appalling.

They say because the system requires them to judge national standards by working through tick boxes of achievements to generate a result, it will undermine their professionalism and reduce quality teaching.

The claims are ridiculous. Ensuring consistent assessment in reading, writing and mathematics across schools will have no impact on how individual teachers seek to inspire, guide and educate their charges. All it will mean is that when an 8-year-old boy at a decile 1 Auckland school and an 8-year-old girl at a decile 10 Wellington school are assessed as being above the standard for reading, there is a much greater degree of confidence that the results are accurate.

If I was a primary school teacher I’d be embarrassed by having a union that is so hostile to consistent assessment.

Maybe the Government should play the same game as the NZEI, and remove it from every working group on educational policy in the country? They’ll get to represent their members on pay negotiations, but why should they be treated as a professional body on other issues when they so clearly are not?

If teachers fear the information being released is inaccurate, then the answer is to work with the Government to make sure the system in place is as robust, reliable and fair as possible

Most teachers are doing that. But the union activists are doing everything possible to stop this.

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On NZEI’s side on this one

June 16th, 2013 at 8:46 am by David Farrar

The HoS reports:

Teachers at a state school have called in the union to protest about being asked to lead pupils in daily karakia.

The NZEI union has been asked to address concerns held by some staff at Auckland’s Kelston Intermediate School over reciting a Maori prayer before lessons start each day.

The school recites a karakia at the start of its weekly assembly and in classrooms before lessons begin.

Staff deliver the prayer, which asks for the day to be blessed, help with work and to have a good week.

An NZEI spokeswoman confirmed the union was intervening at the school.

“NZEI is helping facilitate further discussion at the school on the issue and the school is welcoming of this.” Kelston Intermediate principal Phil Gordon said he had no idea some staff were unhappy with karakia in the classroom until contacted by the union representative.

A Ministry of Education official said state primary schools were required to be secular – but this didn’t preclude teaching about religion.

There is a difference between teaching about religion, and compulsory prayer sessions led by a teacher.

NZEI is right to intervene and stand up for the rights of their members not to have to partake in a religious ceremony.

Gordon said he reassured the union representative the karakia was a cultural component of school life and an expression of beliefs that reflected the Kelston community.

“I guess what they might have been inquiring about is the presence of karakia, etc, within school so we talked about what we’re doing is not a religious thing but a cultural thing.”

It is both religious and cultural. They can do cultural stuff that is not religious, but prayers by their nature are religious.

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More from NZEI

April 12th, 2013 at 4:36 pm by David Farrar

Teacher protest

 

Exactly what are we  standing up for!

So when you see the reports of teachers and kids out there tomorrow, feel sorry for them – heavied into protesting on a weekend, just to keep the union hierarchy happy.

UPDATE: Eileen Joy and Julie Fairey have both commented below that they are in fact parents and not teachers or NZEI members. Fairey does do some part-time work for NZEI and said:

Eileen Joy is not a teacher. Neither am I (I work two days a week for NZEI Te Riu Roa, amongst other hats I wear). Neither of us have ever been teachers. Eileen is an old university acquaintance of mine (in fact we were on different sides politically back then) who I have recently reconnected with through FB. So you see her query actually makes quite a bit of sense – she is not someone who has previously been involved in this campaign and wanted more information, which I then provided.

As Eileen is not a teacher the children she refers to bringing along (sans apostrophe – I share the laments at the loss of a really very useful piece of punctuation, but am more relaxed about it being used incorrectly in an informal setting) are her own. No attempt whatsoever to bring along children from her class (she doesn’t have one, as she isn’t a teacher, refer previous).

As has been indicated above by other readers, it really doesn’t read as if I’m heavying anyone into attending the march. I’m pretty sure Eileen was there, as was I (unpaid, with one of my children), but there were so many people there I didn’t see her.

I note that the overall national turnout was under 20% of all NZEI members so I think apathy was the big winner on the day :-)

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The NZEI campaign

April 12th, 2013 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Had an e-mail from an Auckland parent appalled their primary school daughter had their teacher spent 10 – 15 minutes telling the kids why charter schools and performance pay are evil, and how the Government is trying to impose both (in fact they are not implementing performance pay – sadly). To add insult to injury the NZEI propaganda was repeated in the school newsletter (paid for by taxpayers).

The NZEI is also heavying teachers, telling them it is “expected” all teachers attend their protest marches on Saturday. One Brigid McCaffery posted on Facebook:

I’m concerned there is a high level of apathy among some teachers and in many schools (not including those on this page). Teacher NZEI members voted to support this Saturday’s action. The excuses as to why they can’t now march are flowing thick and fast. Staff Reps- think of some way to make it an expectation within your school that all teachers (at least) are going. Anyone with a genuine reason not to go has to put in their apologies.

Don’t you love the language – they must attend or they must put in their apologies. No exceptions!

Useful admission that most teachers are not fussed about charter schools. They will be turning up just because their union is forcing them to do so.

Also Christine McCartney said:

Apparently ChCh plans are for a march on gerry brownlee’s office I have done that march before, pathetic numbers showed up and office was closed I felt embarrissed that that was all we could muster.. We need to drum up support we need huge numbers and we need our protests/rallies to be in central locations in the city. I’m not carting my sign all over town on two buses and walking miles to meet up to 20 people to form a rag tag column to march to a closed office. Sorry.

Maybe the union could out on free taxis to help bolster the numbers?

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Kids as political pawns

April 8th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Michael Laws writes in the SST:

This week, a schoolteacher at my children’s primary school decided to politicise every one of her charges. She did so without their informed consent (admittedly difficult to get from a 7 year old), or after any discussion with their parents.

In every schoolbag, she sent home NZEI propaganda inviting parents to join her teacher union colleagues in a protest against the government’s education policies. In specific, against National Standards, Novopay and the closure of schools in Christchurch.

If NZEI wants to communicate to parents, they should offer a facility on their website where parents can sign up to get their propoganda.

It is also untrue, as the NZEI claim, that New Zealand’s primary education is the best in the world. It isn’t, and it has been slipping for quite awhile. Primary teaching of mathematics is a national scandal, and has nothing to do with Novopay nor National Standards.

So too is the rampant sexism in the nation’s primary schools. That men only constitute 10% of the current teaching roll is wholly unacceptable. That an entire gender has been so alienated – over decades – is an appalling indictment upon both the education system and the teaching profession.

Little wonder that our boys are struggling when their adult counterparts have been so appallingly shunned.

There is a growing failure of boys in education.

It’s not as if primary teachers are poorly paid. With a good degree, and one year at Teacher’s College, I would start on a $55,000 salary with 12 weeks holiday a year. And just by being a year older, I get annual increments (quite apart from cost of living adjustments) that automatically progress me to $70,000 per annum.

On top of that there are $252 million of allowances, averaging $6,000 a teacher. Also 43% of teachers get units also, worth $4,000 each. You can get up to 17 units in addition to your salary.

What does this mean overall. The *average* pay for a secondary teacher is $74,000 and primary is $70,000.

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The NZEI investigation

November 20th, 2012 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Vyonne Tahana at NZ Herald reports:

What a teachers’ union knew about paedophile James Parker in 1999 is being investigated, as is an email that is critical of the woman who raised the issue. …

“The NZEI field officer received all her news from Jamie and from Jamie supporters,” Ms Lovatt Davis said.

“The report from his girlfriend was not an allegation of sexual abuse. It was a story she told that seemed to need an investigation and a reminder to Jamie to guard his professionalism. I believe he used our discipline meeting [with the NZEI field officer] to accuse me of taking an embittered girlfriend’s vicious story too seriously. Once they had reunited, she saw no need to pursue the story.

“I would suggest that NZEI field officers are not drawn directly from the wider community. The field officer should be an impartial person, free from the town gossip. In Kaitaia the gossip ran against me and pro Jamie. She bought it all and dressed me down in that meeting. Both of them did. It was very unpleasant.”

Yesterday a spokeswoman for the NZEI said an investigation was under way. Asked whether it would look at what the union knew about the allegation surrounding Parker in 1999, she said: “NZEI is conducting an internal investigation into the comments made by Ms Lovatt Davis.”

Not sure how rigorous their investigation will be, considering the comments made by their legal services director:

It is also conducting a separate investigation after the union’s legal services director, John Robson, accidentally emailed the Herald about who Ms Lovatt Davis might have dealt with.

“Field officers don’t have schools so it may be that Ms L-D was in fact not referring to an NZEI staffer, and maybe a principal with some kind of profile as an NZEI activist. I’ll keep you posted.” Regarding Ms Lovatt Davis, he also said: “She was the bane of [lawyer] david [sic] Martin’s life and in our joint view, one or two sandwiches short of the proverbial.”

In response Ms Lovatt Davis said: “If their chat is about me you can see how easy it is for a paedophile to present himself as having the full complement of sandwiches for the proverbial. They can enjoy the knowledge that together they chose not to believe a creative teacher and to favour a child molester. So even now NZEI fails.”

So Lovatt Davis was one of the few to raise concerns about Parker being a pedophile, and the NZEI response is to denigrate her as being “one or two sandwiches short of the proverbial”.

Nice to see they take this issue so seriously.

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Decile ratings on ERO reports

August 21st, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

John Hartevelt at Stuff reports:

The decile rating of schools has been scrapped from Education Review Office reports.

ERO chief review officer Dr Graham Stoop made the surprise announcement yesterday in an effort to “correct the stereotype that a school’s decile equals performance”.

I’ve got no problem with this. The decile rating is still public information for parents who want it – but it is not part of an ERO report as it is not a factor in school quality.

Teacher union the New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) said clear information about the social and economic context of schools should be published in place of the decile ratings, which were “crude”.

It suggested including data on student transience, the number of children with special needs or English as a second language and the number of children attending breakfast clubs.

Excellent. As I often say the answer to bad data is good data. Don’t ban or suppress data, but focus on presenting the most meaningful data.

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NZEI still trying to supress data

January 30th, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Victoria Robinson at Stuff reports:

Schools might withhold student achievement statistics if the government does not prevent national standards information being used to create league tables, the New Zealand Education Institute says.

All schools must submit their student achievement data based on national standards to the Education Ministry by May 31.

But the NZEI said yesterday some schools might refuse to do so if the government did not prevent the information being used for league tables comparing each schools’ academic achievement.

The Government can not prevent media from seeking school assessment data and reporting it. It’s called living in a free society. The only way this could be prevented was to amend the Official Information Act to exclude school assessment data.

Anyway I have a solution for any school that refuses to submit their student achievement data. No parent should be forced to attend a school which won’t tell parents how well the school is doing, so I’d remove all zoning protection for any school that with-holds assessment data.

This would allow parents to vote with their feet. Any child at that school would automatically be guaranteed entrance into any neighbouring school, if the parents wish to have their children at a school that doesn’t suppress achievement data.

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Compare and contrast

December 12th, 2011 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Kudos to the NZEI for a classy release:

The education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa is hoping there will be opportunities to forge a strong and constructive working relationship with the new Education Minister. …

“Charter schools, fundamental problems with National Standards, raising Māori student achievement, the government’s failure to commit to 100% qualified early childhood teachers, the future of education in Christchurch, more support for special needs students and recognising the professional work and value of school support staff are all issues which deserve full and open discussion,” says Mr Leckie.

NZEI hopes the new minister will take on these challenges with an inclusive and constructive approach which values the voice of teachers, principals and communities.

It also wishes Anne Tolley well in her newly-appointed roles.

Nice. Now compare that to the PPTA release:

Shakespeare warns John key against duplicity and ambition

“We’ve gifted the prime minister a copy of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, trusting he will reflect on this tale of a popular and respected general’s ambition for power leading to ruin for his country and his own downfall,” says PPTA president Robin Duff. …

“The Bard’s cautionary tale of political morality is the third in our series of literary gifts to Mr Key,” he said.

“The first was a New Zealand Oxford Dictionary as we were concerned that the prime minister was using some words ambiguously. The second book was Niccolo Machiavelli’s influential 16th century treatise on power and politics, The Prince, that serves as a useful resource for discussions about principle and probity in political life.”

Robin Duff said the fourth book will look at what lessons literature provides about the growing gap between rich and poor.

How patronising can you get? The PPTA have obviously decided that constructive engagement is for others.

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Labour = spammers

June 21st, 2011 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

NZPA report:

Thousands of people who signed an early childhood education petition have had their email addresses added to a Labour Party database, with leader Phil Goff saying it was solely to let people know the outcome of the campaign.

The email addresses, taken from a New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) postcard campaign against cuts to early childhood education, were added to a database of about 18,000 people that could be freely downloaded from Labour’s website until the problem was fixed last weekend.

Right-wing blogger Cameron Slater, who obtained a copy of the database, said on his website that NZEI national secretary Paul Goulter had written to petition signatories to explain why their addresses had been added to the database.

The letter said the postcards were given last year to Labour early childhood education spokeswoman Sue Moroney, who had agreed to present them to Prime Minister John Key because no Government MPs would do so.

Mr Key has not yet accepted the postcards.

Mr Goff today said people who signed the postcards wanted to know outcome of the petition and Ms Moroney had written back to a number of people.

It’s purely about early childhood education, there’s a letter that’s gone out to some of those people,” he said.

The NZEI in its letter said only some campaign signatories had received Ms Moroney’s letter.

NZEI had made it clear to the Labour Party that it was “very concerned” about the database breach and had asked for the addresses to be deleted.

This is blatant spam. If the petition was a Labour Party petition then you could argue there is inferred consent. But it was an NZEI petition and no reasonable person could infer that signing an NZEI petition would land you on the Labour Party e-mail database.

Sadly Labour can not be prosecuted for spamming, as only commercial spam is an offence under the law. The Privacy Commissioner should be concerned though about Labour’s attitude towards privacy.

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NZEI says Tolley should have attended US conference, not dealt with earthquake

May 23rd, 2011 at 4:17 pm by David Farrar

NZEI’s hatred of Anne Tolley is clouding all their judgement. Their latest bizarre rant is that they are unhappy Tolley did not fly to New York for some talk fest conference, and instead stayed in New Zealand to concentrate on getting Christchurch schools re-opened.

Jo McKenzie-McLean writes in The Press:

Unions have criticised Education Minister Anne Tolley for not attending an international summit in New York because of the Christchurch earthquake.

Tolley was to lead a delegation in mid-March to the International Summit on the Teaching Profession at the invitation of United States Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) president Ian Leckie and the Post-Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) president Kate Gainsford attended the summit, held at the New York Hilton.

The Hilton sounds cheap.

However, Tolley said there was “no way” she was going to leave New Zealand after the earthquake to attend a conference.

She also questioned why the union leaders had attended the summit.

“It is up to these union leaders to justify to their members why they believe their job was to fly to New York for a conference while thousands of their members were affected by the Christchurch earthquake,” Tolley said.

“With all Christchurch schools still closed, many of them seriously damaged, and students displaced and out of school, there was no way I was going to leave.

“It was my job to be in Christchurch and Wellington leading ministry officials and supporting schools to reopen, and I was hugely impressed by the determination and hard work from principals, trustees and teachers during such a distressing time.

“I’ve personally told the NZEI union leaders, in no uncertain terms, my feelings on this matter.”

Imagine if Tolley had gone. She would have been attacked for abandoning New Zealand. NZEI seem determined to have an confrontational relationship.

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Bullying

March 30th, 2011 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The NZ Herald editorial:

Video images of a 15-year-old Wanganui schoolgirl being kicked to unconsciousness by another girl in her class, have moved the Prime Minister to have all schools review their attitude to bullying.

“I worry about bullying,” he said, “I worry about youngsters going to school and being intimidated …” His concern sounds genuine, not driven by an opinion poll. If schools find it a little galling that he thinks they need this reminder, they should make the best of it.

They may have given a great deal of attention to bullying in its various forms, and devised carefully considered policies to guide their response to it, but this is their opportunity to assess whether the policy is working and give further thought to alternatives.

I thought the PM wrote to all schools was a good idea. It isn’t about finger pointing, but it would ensure that at the next board meeting there is a discussion about the current anti-bullying and activities, and whether they can be improved.

But sadly the NZEI gets all defensive, and puts out a PR saying:

Schools don’t need to be bullied into action

The education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa says the Prime Minister is misguided to think that schools alone can stop bullying, as the root cause often lies well beyond the classroom.

John Key is instructing the Education Minister to write to all schools reminding them of their responsibilities and demanding they review their anti-bullying policies.

“Schools take bullying very seriously and encourage a zero-tolerance approach. They don’t need to be bullied into action,” says NZEI President Ian Leckie.

You know this really pisses me off. How dare Mr Leckie compare a letter from the Prime Minister to bullying, such as we saw with the 15 year old being beaten up. That just screams to me that the NZEI does in fact not give a fuck about bullying, if they just see it as a term to bash the Prime Minister with.

Leckie should be ashamed of that press release. It trivialises the issue.

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PPTA v NZEI

December 7th, 2010 at 1:55 pm by David Farrar

We have our own version of the Iran/Iraq war occurring in New Zealand. The PPTA has launched a jihad against the NZEI for the terrible sin of settling their pay negotiations.

In the Dom Post this morning, secondary school teacher Jo Mells says it is time for the NZEI to stop free-loading and attacks their pay settlement.

But even more extraordinary is this video of the PPTA President, Kate Gainsford. At 6:40 she talks of betrayal by the NZEI Executive and at 7:05 calls on primary teachers to reject the settlement their Executive has recommended.

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Primary pay settlement reached

December 2nd, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The NZEI and Ministry of Education have announced they have reached agreement on their collective agreement.

The settlement, between their union NZEI TE Riu Roa and the Ministry of Education, will give them a 2.75% pay rise from December 1st, along with a $300 lump sum payment. The collective agreements for both teachers and principals will expire in August 2012.

Well done to both parties on getting an agreement, and not going into 2011 with ongoing industrial action which tends to be a lose/lose – teachers lose wages and kids lose teaching time.

It will be interesting to see if the PPTA still refuses to budge with its claim.

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Principals behind boards campaign

November 5th, 2010 at 4:42 am by David Farrar

Whale Oil reports:

I have been leaked emails show­ing the co-ordination and organ­i­sa­tion inter­nally of the so called Board of Trustees revolt. What is appar­ent is that this isn’t an action being orches­trated by Boards, it is instead being run by the NZEI and the unionised prin­ci­pals. The Boards seem not to have been informed let alone the par­ents of the schools named in the revolt.

Here are two emails from Perry Rush, Prinic­pal of Island Bay School. The first email makes it clear that Board Chairs may well have not been fully informed, or informed at all about the pend­ing action.

You can read the e-mails at Whale.

The principals of course are doing this during the working day, from work premises. In other words us taxpayers are funding their campaign.

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Hooton on “good faith” industrial relations

November 1st, 2010 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

In the NBR (behind the paywall) Matthew Hooton wrote last week:

“Good faith” remains at the centre of New Zealand’s labour laws and, until now, has delivered relatively benign industrial relations.

The problem is that the Employment Relations Act’s authors couldn’t have anticipated a person such as Australian Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance boss Simon Whipp.

Australian unions are overbearingly powerful and notoriously corrupt, with historic links to organised crime. It was to people with that cultural inheritance that New Zealand’s actor unionists turned – implausibly, they claim, simply because they wanted a chat with the New Zealand Screen Production and Development Association.

In fact, Mr Whipp then conspired with other union bosses in Australia, Canada, the US and the UK to arrange a global boycott of The Hobbit, which would have cost more than 2500 highly-skilled, highly-paid jobs and unravelled an industry worth more than New Zealand’s entire exports of beef, butter or cheese.

But the problem has been solved, or has it?

Good faith is meant to be a mutual obligation, requiring parties to interact constructively. It covers the whole relationship between employer and employee, not just formal bargaining, and includes not only current but intended employers and employees – including those working under commercial contracts who want to become employees. …

Not even in their fevered imaginations could it be considered good faith to conspire with militant union thugs across the English-speaking world to organise a global boycott of a vitally important project which already pays above industry averages – and all without even giving prior warning to the employer of their intention to do so.

Actors aren’t alone in making a mockery of “good faith.” Similar conduct is under way in secondary schools from the PPTA, a union with a history of communist connections. It has no intention of dealing in good faith with the Ministry of Education because its true objective is industrial havoc in election year. The primary teachers’ union will no doubt also find a pretext for havoc in 2011, probably over national standards – a policy which, like few others, has received overwhelming mandates from parents and voters. Other unions plan to sabotage the Rugby World Cup.

So good faith seems to be rather lacking from the unions, Hooton says.

The government may also need to consider whether the law around “good faith” should be reviewed in the light of union antics. The provisions imposing good faith obligations on unions as well as employers could be strengthened. Or perhaps employers could be able to apply to the courts to have organisations like Actors Equity and the teacher unions proscribed and the requirement to deal with them in good faith removed. Or perhaps “good faith” needs to go altogether.

That would be a shame – but it would be Ms Walsh, Ms Ward-Lealand, Ms Malcolm, Ms Kelly and Mr Whipp who would be responsible.

By coincidence (or maybe not) I also had a phone call on Friday, saying that the laws around good faith need to be reviewed as the unions make such a mockery around them. Is it possible Mr Hooton is flying a kite for certain people within National who want to see change in this area? If so, they have certainly been given an opportunity to do so by not just the MEAA, but also PPTA and NZEI.

Like Matthew, I think this would be a shame. I think good faith is important in the employment realm. But it does need to apply both ways, not one way.

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Compulsory te reo in school?

October 22nd, 2010 at 9:14 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

New Zealand’s largest education union says te reo Maori should be compulsory in all schools to ensure it’s kept alive.

After the release of a Waitangi Tribunal report calling for urgent action to turn around a decline in te reo, the New Zealand Educational Institute said it was everyone’s responsibility to ensure the language survived.

Yeah, this is definitely so important it must be compulsory. Now of course we hear from teachers there is already too much curriculum to teach in too few hours, so another subject will have to be dropped to make way.

How about maths? I think counting is way over-rated and who needs to know how to multiply 12×12 when you have Excel anyway.

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A reader writes

October 4th, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

E-mail from a reader:

My name in xxxxxxx xxxxxxxx and I was on holiday in Rotorua with my family this week as it rained the entire time I spent most of time in the pool with the kids and had some very surprising conversations with other guest 2 who were teachers that disagreed with the strike of the post primary school teachers.

One Maori lady was a teacher from Hastings who told her principal that she didn’t agree with the strike and her principal told her “well your job isn’t safe then is it”. She replied “yes it is”. She also felt that some teachers are worth much more than they are getting paid but some teacher are “just lazy and not worth anything”. She felt the union should be protecting good teachers but they are protecting bad teachers.

The second teacher we met has been teaching for 20 years (not sure where) and she had never seen such political bias and bullying from Principals and left leaning teachers and it was pointless arguing with anyone as your on a hiding to nothing. She said that at election time you can’t admit you vote National or you are harassed as the only point of the union is to get Labour elected. Even the placards are red and white.

If what these teachers say is correct then a lot of good teachers don’t agree with the strike and they disagree with the union but are too scared to do anything or don’t want to because it’s a hassle then that is the bigger story.

By the way the primary school my kids go to is xxx xxxxx primary school and they support National standards so a lot of schools do. But as a primary school they are great and very inclusive so in fact national standards will make no difference to xxx xxxxx as they are excellent to start with.

You are in the position to canvass a wide audience you should ask for stories from other teachers about political bias and bullying from principals and unions. It’s time the teachers unions stopped bullying other teachers and parents as they only care about 1 thing – to gain power.

Goes without saying, other stories are welcome.

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Herald misses the key element – GDP

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

The Herald reports:

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

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

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

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

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

The OECD report answers the latter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Again – that is because those countries are far wealthier.

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

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

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Economic growth, not teacher payrises needed

September 10th, 2010 at 12:47 pm by David Farrar

NZPA report:

A new report reveals New Zealand teachers are still paid far less than their Aussie counterparts, says the education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has released a report, Education at a Glance 2010, which compares the education systems of 29 countries.

The report shows a New Zealand primary school teacher with 15 years experience earns $US38,412 ($NZ52,871) but an Australian teacher, with the same experience, earns $US46,096 ($NZ63,447).

If the Government was serious about closing the pay gap and retaining teachers then it had to invest in education, NZEI president Frances Nelson said.

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

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

The OECD report answers the latter.

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

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

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An NZEI Survey

August 17th, 2010 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

I’ve been forwarded on the survey results from an NZEI poll of parents, which they claim shows huge opposition to the budget decision to only fund 80% of staff positions in ECE centres to be fully qualified teachers. In other words, that 1 in 5 can be helpers.

Sadly the NZEI never asked people the question – should 100% or 80% of staff be required to be fully qualified. That would have got some useful data. First of all they start with a wee typo:

The Government has cut funding to Early Childhood Education Centres with the most qualified staff. Let us know what you think and we’ll pass your views on to the Prime Ministrer. Thank You!

Hey I know I do may typos also. However I am not an education union protesting about an education issue, in a formal survey.

Question 1 – Do you believe your child should have qualified early childhood education teachers?
Question 2 – Do you agree that all children should have qualified early childhood education teachers?
Question 3 – Do you agree that parents should pay more for early childhood education than they do at present?
Question 4 – Do you agree that quality early childhood education is an investment in New Zealand’s future?

Who is going to answer no to any of those questions? They are so leading that they are useless.

Why not just ask them directly their views on 80% qualified vs 100% qualified? Because that may not get them the right result.

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NZEI on National Standards

July 20th, 2010 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

I thought readers may enjoy this helpful newsletter form the NZEI on national standards.

NZEI and NS

The part that is of most significance is the statement that NZEI believes there are clear links between National Standards and the position the Ministry has taken in the primary teacher and principal bargaining.

What this means is that the NZEI is going to go on strike unless they get a massive pay increase as “compensation” for national standards.

It’s never really been about national standards. No one could seriously think they are a bad thing to do. It’s all about league tables and pay.

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