Pluggin Teachers’ Council Changes into the GERM Formula

We live in an ever-changing world. One minute I have a dumb-phone that barely registers any interweb whatsoever, the next I’m surfing the highlife on 4G.

That is a pipe-dream only available to about 6 people around the Lake Brunner area, but soon it could be me!

Change can be a wonderful thing. If you have been reading recent posts, you might think I’m against change. This is not true. I moved from Auckland to South Canterbury in January. That’s real change. No, I’m against stupid change. Dumb change.

The change I’m rallying against at the moment is what is being proposed for the Teachers’ Council by the government. As I’ve outlined in previous writings, it is dumb change.

Recently, Dianne over at Save Our Schools gave the formula that educational reformers are using across the world. In brief it goes like this:

Global reform goes like this:

  • Create the perception of a huge problem in education “Arghghghg the kids are all failing!!!!!!!!!!”
  • Use that perception to justify reforms to solve the perceived problem “The only solution is to sell schools off, test more, de-professionalise teaching!!!!”
  • Use the reforms to create fear in parents that their child may fail the test “Your child might not pass the standardised test!!!!!”
  • Use that fear to sell goods and services to parents “Come buy these great test prep books, apps, tutoring packages, supplements….”

Now I want to apply the above formula to the changes being proposed for the Teachers’ Council. This is because I do suspect it is all part of the reform agenda being foisted upon us.

    1. Create the perception of a huge problem in education: Check.
      • Help! Help! There’s been two recent high-profile cases of abusers working in schools (Henry Te Rito Miki and Kaitaia deputy principal James Parker). The Teachers’ Council doesn’t work!! Aaaarrrrrhrghghggh!!!
        • The Education Counts website has just over 50,000 total teachers working in New Zealand. 2 out of 52,238 is around 0.0003% – a pretty small fraction. I am sure there are more, but the New Zealand Herald has cited both cases in recent stories featuring this reform. Crisis created.
    2. Use that perception to justify reforms to solve the problem: Check.
      • Oh no! Help! We must reform the Teachers’ Council immediately because a couple of child abusers slipped through the net. Help!
        • This may sound trite to many, but my point is this: abuses like the two mentioned above are notorious for manipulating people and institutions to get what they want. As I’ve said previously, just because some schools were severely lacking when checking the employment claims (Miki) or listening to the warnings of many (Parker), that doesn’t mean the Teachers’ Council needs to be reformed. Proposed reform suggested.
    3. Use reforms to create fear in parents: Not yet, but just wait.
      • I suspect when the reform of the Teachers’ Council takes place, as I have no doubt it will, teacher registration will go the same way as national standards. Anyone can check a teacher’s registration status at the Teachers’ Council website. I imagine this fact will be hugely publicised by all politicians and media involved as they seek to marginalise teachers who aren’t correctly registered. Imagine if your teacher isn’t on the list! Fear will be created.
    4. Use that fear to sell goods and services to parents: This one doesn’t quite fit.

Three out of four ain’t bad.

My advice is to watch carefully. The government are suggesting the changes as a way to make the Teachers’ Council more representative as a professional body – like the Law Commission or the Medical Council. They like to think the changes will give teachers the respect they deserve.

Maybe it would be a good start if you actually treated them with respect in the first place.

Mr B


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