NZEI backs down

The announced:

NZEI Te Riu Roa and the Ministry of Education have agreed to work together on a new initiative that will support children’s education at every level of their learning.

The agreement was reached yesterday and follows the overwhelming rejection by primary principals and teachers of the government’s $359m Investing in Educational Success scheme.

“This new initiative is a great win for children and for good education policy,” says NZEI Te Riu Roa National President Judith Nowotarski.

“It represents a positive way forward and has come about because teachers and principals kept true to our values of quality public education for all children.

“The agreement means we will now work with the Ministry in a genuine, collaborative way to identify and support locally-driven initiatives that put children at the centre of teaching and learning.

“Instead of a top down, one-size-fits-all initiative which is the IES, we will be going out to schools and early childhood education centres and actively finding out what works.

A member of the public could read the above and actually believe the spin about a new initiative and rejecting the IES. In reality this is window dressing, and the NZEI has done a not very graceful u-turn as scores of primary schools were signing up to the IES without their endorsement, and they were getting angry calls from members about not only missing out on the new positions, but also realising that they were unlikely to get any pay increases in the foreeseable future having rejected a $359 million package of extra funding for (mainly) salaries.

The IES which was agreed to by the PPTA, is significantly different from the original proposal in January. The Government and the PPTA negotiated in good faith on changes, and there were many (but not around the core principle). This so called new initiative will be close to a clone of the IES which they claim they rejected.

Labour of course campaigned against the IES, and are also trying to pretend this is not a backdown by the NZEI, but by the Government. Chris Hipkins said:

News that the Government has backed down and returned to the drawing board on its flagship ‘expert teacher’ policy will come as a welcome Christmas present to schools and teachers, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“Teachers throughout New Zealand will be pleased to hear the Ministry of Education is engaging with the profession on issues like increasing collaboration, improving student transitions and developing better career pathways.

“If the Government had taken this approach in the first place, there probably wouldn’t have been such strong opposition to their Investing in Educational Success (IES) plan.

“The NZEI should be congratulated for holding out for a better deal.

This is so amusing, it could be in a George Orwell book, alongside the declaration we have always been at war with Eurasia.

I’m glad the NZEI have seen sense. If they need to pretend that what they have agreed is something different to the IES so they don’t look silly, then that’s fine. The important thing is that great teachers and principals will have an opportunity to share their skills beyond their classrooms and schools, and be able to earn more money for doing so.

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