My Herald column is online. An extract:
Any trade off, will always have its supporters and its opponents. Hence, a Government proposing any change to the status quo has to be able to makes it case in a clear coherent and persuasive manner. It is in this task, that the Government has failed and been forced to reverse its policy. …
it appears the Government had done no detailed work on how they would use the money freed up by increasing class sizes on improving the ability of teachers to teach (we all know some teachers are brilliant at it, while others struggle). The only details given were that the $43 million freed up by the ratio changes would go towards the development of an appraisal system focusing on driving up quality teaching and quality professional leadership.
This lack of any detail around what this might be, meant that the perceived benefits of the trade off were impossible to calculate, while the costs in increased class sizes were calculated to exact detail in every school staffroom around the country. Effectively the Government was saying “Let us increase the size of your kid’s classes, and just trust us that we will do something good with that money to improve teacher quality”.
But you simply can gain public support on an issue, where you are unable to articulate and define the benefits.