E-mail from an angry unionist

I thought I would share with you an e-mail from a teacher and unionist that Cam received yesterday. It is nice to know that the other side of the story is being read even if it may not be agreed with. I have described the writer as angry as he used CAPITAL LETTERS which in the online world denotes shouting. Before publishing,  I did a quick google search to find out if this was an ordinary teacher and member of the PPTA who felt so strongly about the issues he raised.

I found an article from 2002. Back then Chris Bangs was a PPTA Branch Chairman.

Mr Mallard said the national executive of the Post Primary Teachers Association supported the Auckland action, and he was disappointed “that action of this nature was planned without even giving PPTA members the opportunity to consider the latest Government offer”. About 2000 teachers belonging to the association refused to teach third-formers yesterday. They will do the same with each year level throughout the week.

Waitakere College branch PPTA chairman Chris Bangs said the problems and stresses faced by city area teachers, including poverty and other extreme social problems, had made Auckland members want to jump the gun on national strike action, scheduled for April 29.

-The Herald

I also found a more recent article from 2010 where once again Chris Bangs was quoted in an article about PPTA strike action.

Teacher Tracey Derbyshire says she is fed up.

“I’m only being paid 40 hours but I’m working 60-plus – it’s just not fair.”

And Chris Bangs, a teacher at Lynfield College, agrees.

“We are well behind the OECD, we’re behind Australia and we’re competing for teachers internationally now.”

The Post Primary Teachers’ Association rejected a 1.5 percent pay rise followed by a further 1 percent in 12 months.

They want 4 percent but the Ministry says no way.

-Newshub.co.nz

Below is Mr Bang’s e-mail, unedited and unabridged:

Mr Slater

Not normally a reader of your website a recent link took me to some of your derogatory comments about the PPTA and it’s president particularly with reference to her supposed support for teachers up on charges of sexual assault. There is no way at all that Angela Roberts would support a teacher guilty of such misconduct or crime. She has great moral fibre and would abhor this suggestion made by ACT MP and echoed in your column. I can assure you that even incompetent teachers who have been given the opportunity to improve but then do not are no longer supported by PPTA.

The other criticism you so vehemently level at our union is our opposition to Charter Schools and our concern about full online learning. Yes we utterly reject the use of public funds to run private schools, especially when they are not subject to the rigorous controls we in the public sector are. Kamo High was right to stop the charter school from using its facilities. Our aim is to disestablish these schools and use the funds to run more assistance programmes WITHIN OUR WORLD RENOWNED PUBLIC EDUCATION SYSTEM.

As for online learning even older teachers like myself are embracing eLearning in combination with more traditional teaching. Apart from he obvious educational advantages of classes in which students interact, there are simply too many other advantages of schools – sports, culture, citizenship, leadership – to abandon physical schools. Try having a debate, rehearsing for a dance or playing rugby over the Internet!

Have you been in a school recently? Have you seen how hard teachers work at all aspects of our jobs? Do you not think we need an association that at least guarantees us a decent professional salary and working conditions. Compared to 1981  when I started, at Kamo High ironically, teachers are underpaid.  Back then we received 80 percent above average salary.  If thus applied today we would be on 93,000 not 76,000 p.a. That’s one indicator of how much society undervalues education while not raising an eyebrow at the $150k plus paid to MPs like Seymour.

Chris Bangs
HILLSBOROUGH

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