Education funding

John Hartevelt at Stuff reports:

School class sizes are going up and the Government is working on performance pay for teachers, Education Minister Hekia Parata has announced.

In a pre-Budget announcement to a business audience in Wellington this morning, Parata said there would be an extra $60m invested over four years for boosting teacher recruitment and training.

“We will collaborate in the development of an appraisal system on driving up quality teaching and quality professional leadership.

Performance pay is but one of a basket of options to reward and recognise that,” Parata said.

“We are not investing in more teachers, we are investing in better teaching.”

Ultimately performance pay can only work well if you delegate funding to school boards and allow principals flexibility in deciding pay rates. You might have a nationwide collective setting minimum salary levels, but the funding should be flexible enough so that the best teachers could be earning say double the worst.

There had been “some trade-offs” so that the Government could afford the new investment, she said.

Teacher – student ratios in the mid-years of education (years two to 10) would be increased. Instead of the existing range of anywhere between one to 23 up to one to 29, there would be a single ratio of one to 27.5.

The ratio for students sitting NCEA at years 11, 12 and 13 would be standardised at one to 17.3, instead of the existing range of between one to 17 and one to 23.

“These ratios are a funding formula – they are how we as a Government fund schools. The actual number of children in a classroom is set by the school.”

New entrants (year one) would keep its one to 15 ratio.

The ratio changes would “free up” $43m, on average, in each year over the next four years.

In the last ten years, student numbers had grown by 2.52 per cent, but teacher numbers had grown 12.76 per cent over the same period, Parata said.

About 90 per cent of schools would either gain or have a net loss of less than one full time equivalent teachers as a result of the combined effect of the changes.

The changes look pretty minor.

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