I didn’t really want to start this week with a cliché but a week is a long time in politics.
This time last week we just assumed everything was going fine and it was business as usual. Obviously by ‘fine’ I don’t mean the actual fine where everything is actually ok. No. I mean the status quo – chartnership schools and national standards.
Then on Sunday it all kicked off. Hekia Parata accidentally announced that the decile funding system was clunky and it needed to be replaced – probably by pegging some amount of school funding to national standard performance.
Twitter spent the day getting stuck into the minister (yet again) over a policy announcement that clearly jumped the gun. Great work by the Herald on Sunday actually working out Parata had said what she said. For more extensive analysis of her ministerial gobbledygook read this post by Russell Brown over at public address.
Even though Parata denies she plans to peg some school funding to student achievement, the evidence from the overseas models she and her government are following is overwhelming. This is exactly what they plan to do. Her mistake was to try to talk her way out of answering a legitimate question posed by a journalist and hoping he wouldn’t notice.
The less said about her handling of the Kohunga Reo issues that followed the better.
So on Sunday I was alerted, by Dianne at Save our Schools, to an assignment being run by Stuff Nation on politics in education. After my morning blog of outrage, I was compelled to contribute, and on Tuesday morning my contribution was published.
This was an interesting process. Published nationally – pretty cool, I thought. Cooler though was having my Sunday commentary republished on The Daily Blog – that was a very proud moment (click and scroll to the end of the post – I’m part of a compendium of blogs critical of National education policy).
On Wednesday evening I was reading some of the other contributions to assignment and I scrolled down the page too far and saw some of the comments. That made me realise there would be comments on my contribution. So that’s where I went.
There was some pretty reasonable contributions that were written with some thought and insight. There were a large number that were full of intense vitriol. Here is just a sample of what some people are saying:
Frankly speaking teachers in NZ are overly well paid considering the amount of paid holidays they get. Ever been in a school staff room after the holidays? All you will hear is thing like ” Oh Paris was wonderful this easter” or “We normally go to London in June holidays but this time we went to New York, just because we could”.
The NZ education system is like the “No child left behind” in the US. “No one child is left behind because all children are left behind”. Bring in charter school, performance pay and get rid of collective bargaining (holding the children to ransom)
There are teachers is the teacher profession that don’t care about student welfare and don’t care about student education.
Teachers today only want whats good for them and have a Socialist Union backing them and there in lies the problem. It’s all about me me and I want more more, maybe they would get more if they actually taught the kids and not just the Socialist agenda. I will not put all teachers in this boat, as there are some really good teachers out there, I guess they are the ones that stay away from the Union.
I don’t know who these people are. I put my own name on the article. They are using pseudonyms so we may never know if they work for the National Party, had incredibly bad experiences at school, or whatever.
Being a “member of the Socialist union” does not reduce the strength of my argument. I am not “protecting” my position; I am making the argument these reforms are BAD FOR THE LEARNING OF CHILDREN.
I am making these arguments, not because I am a union member, but because, as a professional teacher I believe they will harm our country and our economy.
It tires me that people question my commitment to education or the children I teach because I am a union member or publish my politicial thoughts on this blog or elsewhere.
Having a system where teachers are paid or schools are funded based on the performance of their students on national standards will absolutely lead to great teachers leaving the profession, schools and teachers fudging and faking their data and the New Zealand education system as a whole being worse off than it was when I first started teaching in 2007.
Troll me all you want. I will never agree with your views because they are ignorance laced with hate – a typical National Party tactic.
Mr B – union member, teacher and believer in creative education (the opposite of national standards).
School funding shake up looms: Herald on Sunday – March 16, 2014
What Hekia Parata actually said: Hard News – March 19, 2014
Education policies – what are the big issues: Save our Schools New Zealand – March 16, 2014
Trust teachers to teach: Stuff Nation – March 18, 2014