Education Amendment Bill changes have been approved

So… if you’re wanting an idea about how the teaching profession is going to exist now, look no further than this rubber stamp.

According to news from Radio New Zealand this afternoon, the Education and Science Select Committee have approved changes to the Education Amendment Bill that will allow the Minister of Education to appoint every single member of the new Teachers’ Council.

Just to clarify what this means: Every single member of the board responsible for the registration and disciplining of teachers across New Zealand is going to be appointed by Hekia Parata.

The new body is to be called EduCANZ (see my previous posting on this). It’s a pretty little acronym which flows off the tongue quite nicely – as opposed to the bile that rises in the back of my throat at the thought of the National Party being in complete control of my professional body.

Would the Medical Council let the Health Minister appoint all the members of their governing body? Would the Law Commission welcome the Justice Minister or the Attorney General having full and final say over the make up of that organisation?

These are all professional bodies who have strong ties to government funding. Many billions of our tax dollars are spent on health, education and administration of the law. What’s to stop the (National & ACT mostly) government deciding they want to control those sectors through appointments and such like? I doubt they would be allowed to get away with it, however. Those bodies have strong voices and would never let the government take control of their professional bodies.

ASIDE: I’m not saying we teachers are ‘letting’ the government take charge of our professional body. I made a submission, as did many thousand of others, but they were ignored. When has this government every listened to the education sector about any of its policies?

But then this government has shown in the past how little regard it has for the rule of democracy. Just ask the voters of Canterbury. Want a regional council? Well you can’t have one. We have important work to do.

At present the Teachers’ Council is a partly appointment, partly elected body. When the bill is passed this will be a totally appointed body – a body whose sole aim will be the destruction of the teaching profession (don’t believe me? Have a look at what is happening to professional teaching organisations and unions in the United States). Once you have a subservient profession, then you can mould and manipulate to your heart’s content.

Of course, if National don’t manage to cobble together their various has-beens into a coalition of the desperately willing, then we may not be forced to endure the ignominy of having our profession deconstructed in this way.


Mr B


Education bill changes approved: RNZ, 15 July, 2014.


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

Government Announces Changes to Blogger Registration

The government has announced a range of sweeping changes aimed at cleaning up the blogosphere.

A review released today has recommended widespread changes and the setting up of a body that would issue practicing certificates and registration for bloggers.

The review committee made several recommendation including the setting up of a Bloggers Council to oversee the registration of bloggers who are noted for speaking their mind, often on issues they know very little, if anything, about.

Last year Broadcasting Minister Jonathon Coleman called for a review following the release of a report on a well-known blogger who’d published thousands of unsubstantiated rumours about political opponents on his website.

Currently bloggers are not required by any statute to prove the legitimacy of their qualifications, areas of expertise, previous work experience or their appropriateness to comment on any issue currently being discussed in the public domain.

The review committee has suggested some kind of name would be important for the fledgling body.

“A new body with the purpose of creating a stronger and more vibrant profession needs a name to encapsulate its importance. The name should reflect the membership and the vision of enhanced status and professionalism of blogging and leadership in on-line commentary.”

Suggestions are Council of New Zealand Bloggers, Blogging Council of New Zealand and Aotearoa Bloggers and Commentators.

Coleman has said the changes are necessary because, “as the review found, to improve outcomes for all RSS readers and to address equity issues, New Zealand must have a flexible, skilled and culturally intelligent and well-led blogforce.”

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.

What’s Happening This Week?

I read the editorial in the New Zealand Herald this morning. If you haven’t yet, here is a link to it.

In short, the New Zealand Teachers’ Council needs to be more professional and we agree with everything Hekia Parata says because she’s so awesome and we really love what her and the National Party stand for.

I may possibly have read between far too many lines there… or maybe I haven’t.

They start of with:

School teaching ought to rank among the most respected of professions. Those who educate our children are every bit as important to us as, say, doctors or lawyers, arguably more important. Education is essential to everyone’s chances in life; medical or legal advice is an infrequent need for most people.

It sounds like it might be a good start. Making some good points. Education is important. Teachers should be respected. Etc. As a profession we are hugely important for the well-being of society. A well-educated society are more able to get jobs. More jobs mean less crime, fewer health issues, more self-worth. All of the things that make society a great place to live.

But then it begins. Paragraph two offers this:

Many, perhaps most, school teachers are well-respected by the parents of their pupils and others who know their work. But the profession as a whole does not have the standing that it should and the reason is obvious: it lacks an authoritative professional voice.

Unfortunately, apart from being a load of bullshit, this paragraph is complete bullshit.

Firstly, every parent I know has full and complete respect for every teacher I know. All parents support and respect all teachers. They all recognise how hard we all work DESPITE the constant attacks from the far right bloggers of this world who think 16 weeks holiday a year mean teachers do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING when there are no children in their classrooms.

Secondly, we do have a professional voice. Our professional voice comes out of our own professional mouths. Sometimes it is the mouth of the union, but most of the time it is the mouth of teachers. Teachers like me. Talking or blogging. Telling others about our views.

Dear Herald – you are aware that I can speak don’t you? Are you aware that I have a voice? Sometimes it coincides with the opinion of my union, sometimes it doesn’t. But it is a professional voice. It’s a professional voice because I’m a highly trained professional with several years experience working in my trained profession.

I don’t just spout a whole load of nonsense because I can type and have set up this wordpress blog.

I have a professional voice, but I also have a cynical voice. This comes from years and years listening to the constant lies of politicians. They are not brain-fades. Call them what they are: lies. Complete and utter lies.

Digression aside, my point is that, following the recent appointments of Dame Susan Devoy (Tony Ryall’s neighbour) and Dr Jacqui Blue (sitting National Party MP) to key government positions, what sort of third-rate cronies are we going to have running our teacher registration?

Furthermore, what sort of professional voice will this gaggle of cronies give us?

As well as having the power to register and discipline teachers, the new body would be charged with identifying issues of education policy and leading professional and public debate on teaching practices.

This sentence is followed by this:

It would be given a statutory obligation to promote the public interest and the interests of children and students and the review committee hopes the new body would come to be seen to represent the voice and face of the profession.

So ultimately, the New Zealand Herald, is calling for teachers to be represented by a committee that is wholly appointed by a politician (Labour or National, it doesn’t matter).

Education policy is currently under attack by those very politicians who wish to have complete control over the registration of our profession. There’s not a shit show in hell that the proposed body would be able to work in the interests of children or their education. It would be filled with political appointments.

Yes, that’s right New Zealand Herald, you should give politicians complete control over something. After all, they di so well choosing the leaders at Solid Energy…

Mr B.