More on the Proposed Teachers’ Council Changes

Last night I blogged about the New Zealand Herald and their unsurprising support for the proposed changes to the way teachers are registered in this country.

Their view was unsurprising in that they have long supported the GERManiacs and their attacks on public education by either believing the hyperbole being used by politicians or by failing to effectively ask the deep questions regarding motivations.

Fairfax and APN have a long history of selling papers and in this current climate of plummeting sales, any news story that gets people buying or surfing their way to their news sites is worthy – no matter how baseless or fabricated it is.

However, I have covered this before. Many times.

Leading the charge against public education is the National Party (if you think it’s ACT, see another previous post) who wish to bring in private operators into the public system in order to fleece public funds with little or no oversight as to quality of teaching, quality of charters or quality of curriculum delivery.

On the one hand the government says, “teacher quality is hugely important to the success of our young learners,” and on the other it says, “charter partnership schools need to have the freedom to hire people they believe will deliver quality education so the usual rules shouldn’t apply.”

Sadly the Maori Party will vote through the legislation for charter schools because they, like the mainstream media, believe the neatly spun tapestry that constitutes the National Party policy fabrication on schools.

If you missed the press release from the Education Minster, here is a quick link to it. I doubt that she wrote it, however, as the National Party currently rely on their media manipulators to sell their unpopularity to an unquestioning media.

Here’s one paragraph of interest:

One of the key findings in the review was that the Council “as it is currently structured, governed and positioned, can’t effectively set and enforce standards for entry, progression and professional accountability with the full support of the profession. It lacks a distinctive brand or effective public voice.’’

I talked about teachers’ public voice last evening. The concerning aspect of this paragraph is the belief that the Teachers’ Council can’t currently set or enforce entry, progression and professional accountability “with the full support of the profession.”

This is very telling. What the government is really saying is they would like the Teachers’ Council to have powers over the hiring and (perhaps) firing of teaching staff. Isn’t it up to schools who they hire? That is an employment matter between the board of trustees, the principal and the teacher. Not according to the wants of this government.

The government want “professional accountability” and “progression” to be managed by the council. In other words, the government want the council to be the overseers of their performance pay plan for New Zealand teachers. In other GERM countries, such as the United States, performance pay has been linked to classroom performance of students on standardised tests. There is no reason to think this won’t be adopted here. Too bad if you’re a teacher in a low decile school with hungry students who have many varied needs you have to deal with before you can even begin to teach them how to pass a test.

The other hugely concerning part of this press release is:

It also recommended that in addition to the current Limited Authority to Teach, a broader Authority to Educate is introduced to allow individuals with proven expertise to complement the teaching workforce (my bold).

Again I go back to the gaping hole in the current educational policy – you cannot improve teacher quality if you’re going to let any Thomas, Richard or Harold turn up into a classroom and “teach” with little or no backing from pedagogical theory or weeks working on the job with a mentor teacher. These are called practicums and as a student teacher I found these hugely valuable for absorbing the little intricacies of teaching – those nuances that you cannot learn from a textbook.

According to the New Zealand Herald last Monday, Hekia Parata ordered the review after:

…a report was released on sex offender Henry Te Rito Miki, who bypassed the council by teaching illegally in six North Island Schools

The reality is that this “teacher” lied on his CV so he could get access to his victims. The Teachers’ Council weren’t even in the loop because the schools were too lazy to be bothered to fully investigate his claimed experience. That is the fault of the schools who hired him, not the Teachers’ Council or their processes. It’s incredibly hard for a body to have oversight over something they have no knowledge of until it’s splashed all over the media.

This case would have also happened under the proposed new Teachers’ Council. You idiots (talking to media and politicians there).

In short, this government want the Teachers’ Council to be able to:

  1. Monitor and rule on teacher performance ultimately, I believe, by using student progress against National Standards as their measurement. 
  2. Comment on policy matters. This can be translated to mean, “enforce government policy” because the government don’t like the voice of the unions who currently do much of the speaking on our behalf. What better way to construct the narrative than have a body of 8 appointed cronies on an “independent” quango to do your bidding.

finally, here’s a little something from Hekia Parata, who I haven’t seen or heard being interviewed in-depth by any major televisual media outlet since last year when the National Party realised how utterly inept she actually was.

Screen shot 2013-05-24 at 7.18.01 PM

“We know the most important thing we can do to raise achievement is to raise teaching and leadership quality throughout the whole education system,’’

And by this she means:

“We know the most important thing we can do to raise achievement is to completely undermine the teaching profession until we have complete control over who can enter it and teach our children.”

She, and her National Party puppet-masters, will surely ruin our wonderful education system if they are allowed to continue past the next election.

It’s your choice.

Mr B.

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