The hypocrisy of teacher unions

The PPTA President Kate Gainsford has called on Anne Tolley to sack the board of Auckland Grammar School for phasing out NCEA and daring to offer an alternative.

Education Minister Anne Tolley has been urged to sack the board of Auckland Grammar School after its “brazen attack on the credibility of the NCEA”.

In a leaked letter obtained by The Dominion Post, secondary teachers’ union president Kate Gainsford accuses Mrs Tolley of a “timid” response and spells out five steps she should take now that Auckland Grammar has declared its intention to ditch NCEA in year 11, except for maths and English exams for weaker pupils.

Ms Gainsford, president of the Post-Primary Teachers’ Association, tells Mrs Tolley in the letter that she should make a clear statement in support of NCEA, publicly criticise Auckland Grammar and order it to use NCEA, sack the board of trustees if it refuses to comply, make NCEA a legal requirement, and halt taxpayer funds for exam systems which compete with NCEA – such as the University of Cambridge system that Auckland Grammar prefers.

“Your refusal to be interviewed on the matter, and merely releasing a written statement that you have full confidence in the NCEA, was in our view a very timid response to a very direct attack,” her letter states.

I wonder perhaps if Kate Gainsford also wants the boards of all the schools who refused to implement National Standards late last year sacked as well?

There is of course a difference between the two cases, but not one that helps Kate Gainsford. Auckland Grammar is actually offering a superior qualification system, one that it has been using for some considerable time. It s position also isn’t a political one, it is fact and evidence based and educational. The NZEI and Prinicpals Associartion led protest against National Standards never offered an alternative, simply a refusal to implement government policy.

NCEA is but one method of legally acceptable standards and testing, Cambridge is another, Auckland Grammar School is simply following the doirections of its parents and offering a superior education measurement system. It isn’t refusing point blank like the National Standards protestors were.

If Kate Gainsford had even a modicum of humility she would withdraw and apologise. She won’t of course because it is purely a political point she is trying to make and a chance to bash rich parents at a rich school.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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