Parents need to beware

Yesterday I revealed the NZEI’s real reasons for opposing National Standards – to shield poor principals and teachers and try and hide information from journalists.

This is why they are so keen on Labour’s hidden education policy – which would remove Anne Tolley’s law which now orders schools to hand over information to the Government. This means Labour, if they got the chance, would stop journalists from accessing information on how a school is doing.

I also promised to give a shocking example of how the NZEI is trying to spread their poison among kids and parents in the run-up to the election.

A favoured way of doing this is through the principal’s weekly newsletter. It gets emailed to families, for parents and schoolkids to read.

Here is one, which arrived via the tipline, that was sent out to parents recently. Have a quick look.

Did you pick up the poisoned message?

Nicely positioned after the shed and the caretaker and before the miniball is this:

So the principal, Neil Batten, is telling families in Golden Bay that Anne Tolley and the National Government hates teachers and doesn’t want kids to learn.

All because Tolley refused to back down over national standards and follow the union line, as Labour continue to do, so kids can continue to fail and teachers can keep hiding from accountability.

So for the boards of trustees at this school – how appropriate is the behaviour of your principal?

And are you satisfied that he is representing your school in a professional manner?

This is exactly the kind of stuff we can expect in the next few weeks from the NZEI under their various guises.

The union is under increasing pressure and faces a bleak future, as I will make clear in the next few days.


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  • middleagedwhiteguy

    Does this newslatter come with a promoters statement?

    Who is it authorised by?

  • Pat

    Anything published in the proscribed period suggesting support or opposition has to have an authorisation statement. This does not have one and breaches the electoral Act

  • Ben

    Exactly! I would complain either to the Board or on the basis of several serious breaches of ethics:

    Teachers are vested by the public with trust and responsibility, together with an expectation that they will help prepare students for life in society in the broadest sense.

    In fulfillment of their obligations to society, teachers will strive to:
    a) actively support policies and programmes which promote equality of opportunity for all,
    b) work collegially to develop schools and centres which model democratic ideals,
    c) teach and model those positive values which are widely accepted in society and encourage learners to apply them and critically appreciate their significance.

    The primary professional obligation of registered teachers is to those they teach. Teachers nurture the capacities of all learners to think and act with developing independence, and strive to encourage an informed appreciation of the fundamental values of a democratic society.

    Teachers will strive to:
    a) develop and maintain professional relationships with learners based upon the best interests of those learners,
    b) base their professional practice on continuous professional learning, the best knowledge available about curriculum content and pedagogy, together with their knowledge about those they teach,
    c) present subject matter from an informed and balanced viewpoint,
    d) encourage learners to think critically about significant social issues,
    e) cater for the varied learning needs of diverse learners,
    f) promote the physical, emotional, social, intellectual and spiritual wellbeing of learners,
    g) protect the confidentiality of information about learners obtained in the course of professional service, consistent with legal requirement

  • Scanner

    As an ex BOT chair, if faced with a principal that had sent this to parents I would be asking for an explanation, followed by a written apology and a retraction sent to each and every parent.
    Do these people not understand the chain of command that represents the employee – employer relationship, this silly little man has obviously forgotten that MOE is actually his employer.
    Kick his arse, make him wear the dunce cap, and stand in the naughty boys corner, or on second thoughts make him write one hundred times “The NZEI are a bunch of fucktards”

  • diabolos

    I reckon the problem lies with Self Governing Schools with limited accountability. The BOT’s etc are entirely complicit with this and are played like a cheap harmonica by the Principals and schools in many instances (not all – but many im sure).

    Tolleys National Standards will not change this. Until you deal with the root cause the rest is just mowing the tops of the lawn while the rest keeps on growing down below.

    They exist to ensure they exist. There is no social mandate or contract. Its a gigantic arse covering machine.

  • Note the nice, soft, friendly font which hides the barbed message. The NZEI will be very pleased with Mr Batten for his sneaky and insidious smear against the Minister of Education. NZEI has obviously learned that inflammatory comments like “Minister Hitler” are backfiring on them, so in the best traditions of Clare Curran they “control the message”, and try another approach.

    Well done for busting them WO.

  • David C

    I went to Takaka primary 38 years ago …sheesh it was very small faming place then, now its all German lifestylers!

  • Gazzaw

    Cam, I would like to know exactly what percentage of teachers belong to the respective teachers unions. At times I feel that we inclusively criticise a lot of hardworking and dedicated teachers who are not union members and actively resist staffroom pressures to remain that way. The teachers that I have met who fall into this category regularly put in 50 hours a week and work a significant proportion of their holidays doing prep work etc for the upcoming term.

    My own neighbourhood state school has just three union members on the staff, functions exceptionally well and National Standards has never been an issue.

    The other area where I would love to see some investigation is the undue PC & political influences applied to student teachers at university.

  • JK

    The PC crap about playground accidents seems to be more important then the real issues plaguing Golden Bay. What the primary school should focus on would be to give children purpose in life and the tools to handle what life throws at them. They should stop using their energy with this silly childish rebellion against accountability.

  • notavictim

    So whats the bet the board chair is a teacher?
    There is no way on gods green earth that I would tolerate that sort of comment in my childs newsletter. This started at our school, pissed me off, and now I have the power to stop it.

  • petal

    Teachers at my kids’ school have complained about National Standards bringing unbearable additional admin and requiring some fix-up work, but other than that it reflects what they were already doing. My oldest is in the top 3 kids for maths in his age group, and according to National Standards for math he’s barely made it to “just achieving”. As he’s 8 and doing square and cube roots, factors up to 200 and can hold most 3 or 4 number/ 4 digit addition/subtractions in his head, this report blew me away and I asked for explanations – was math that bad at that school? No, checking around, it turns out the standard for math is not set right, and almost 90% of the kids are failing it nation-wide. And parents are being told to ignore this report as their children are doing fine. What about those who are only just failing that get a report telling them they should never aspire beyond calculations over 10? What a boost to the ego that report must have been. It appears that the fight over not accepting National Standards at all has drowned out the actual problem(s) with National Standards, and there are definitely some that need fixing.

    • diabolos

      Thats also the stuff i’ve been seeing in sifting through feedback from others and also from parents you come across.

      They arent understood – and they arent entirely right to begin with. I havent had kids at school for a long time – but i do have clear memories of the nonsense that goes on. But the National Standards arent the answer – they arent clear or communicated to begin with. Who among the public really understand them. By no clear understanding you deliver all the interpretative control into Teachers hands. I havent seen any clear explanation on here either – or anywhere else.

      My opinion as a rank outsider now – is that Delivery Systems within schools are either non existent or they are dysfunctional and self serving. As are communication and interaction. The system is wrong – and until its changed National Standards are a nonsense. its all (like so much with the Key Government) so one dimensional and myopic. Self Governing Schools will resist change – and they will serve themselves. Free up MOE and ERO to really do their job and you will see a difference in my opinion. And for what its worth i dont support labours plan either – because i cant fucking well understand it. Thats the whole bloody problem i reckon.

    • notavictim

      Sounds like someone as filled you full of shit, National Standards are about reporting and accountability as much as a ‘standard’. This sounds like teachers trying to smear and blur the lines in order to put you off the policy. At my kids school NS have been implemented with little fuss and bull shit like you’ve be fed.

      • diabolos

        If im wrong im wrong.

        I’ve not had one discussion with a teacher … for the record.

        It may pay you to waste some time if you want and look at what i’ve commented on before with regard to this subject.

        Like i said – if im wrong – im wrong.

      • pidge

        Petal, Given you son’s ability to do as you describe, I suspect there is a failure on the part of the teachers to assess appropriately against the standards based on the assessments the teachers are already doing.

        Here’s the National Standard’s Math wall chart from the “horse’s mouth”:

    • sthnjeff

      God I hate the americanism “Math” . It is Mathematics or maths.

      As for the discrepancy in the standard, that is easily fixed and I am sure it will be once the Education Ministry has had to stop dealing with the Knob head teachers Unions.

      • petal

        Well, I’m sorry. English is my 2nd language so occasionally I absorb it from the wrong place :) My natively born 4 year old still says toh-may-toh due to the influence of television. Be flexible — it’s a lovely world full of people that say things differently and STILL manage to get on. Choice!

    • pidge

      Here’s the National Standard’s Math wall chart:

      Given you son’s ability to do as you describe, I suspect there is a failure on the part of the teachers to assess appropriately against the standards based on the assessments they are already doing.

      • petal

        Yes, that had crossed my mind also. A bit of a problem with first and 2nd year teachers and interruptions due to maternity leave won’t have helped. Personally we aren’t concerned, but we do have empathy for parents who have been told their kids aren’t really failing in spite of their kids being in the RED zone on the report.

  • Ben

    • Phronesis

      well worth a look!

    • notavictim

      very funny

  • Just Right

    I also note the cynical comment about spelling lists in the Homework Survey section. Why not give kids spelling words even though it may not work for all of them? Sort the ones who have trouble learning to spell, don’t ensure none of them can spell!

  • Oh my God this would do my head in – I just do not get the fuss with the NS at ALL. But this debate has been going on forever so won’t get into why – I’m for them so you can probably guess why.

    Honestly, these teachers claim to put the interests of our children first but when the dish out newsletters that discuss political issues like this they are doing anything BUT. I don’t care what the teachers think about the NS. They are law and as a parent I expect them to uphold them – accurately and efficiently.

    Thankfully our school – despite the NS being an extension of what they were already doing exceptionally well, just gets on with the job. They report according to the NS and keep us informed.

  • thor42

    Having now seen those National Standards in maths (thanks for those who posted that) – there’s nothing at all that is particularly demanding in there. Very basic stuff, really – too basic, if anything.
    In looking at the reading standards, I see that the “whole language” method is still being used to teach reading in schools.
    This is despite the fact that it has long been discredited as being far less effective than phonics. A number of states in the US which had adopted “whole language” have found that it was a disaster, and have now returned to using phonics.

  • Dion

    In any other industry (especially in a position of senior management), public criticism of one’s employer would result in the end of one’s career. Either in a literal sense – or in a figurative sense (“You didn’t get your bonus this year. Oh – it was nothing to do with your muckraking in the newsletter”).

    These people have had it too easy for too long – hopefully the reforms go further over the course of the next parliamentary term.

  • Mattyman1010

    I found it strange that Sam Lotu-Iiga liked one of Pat’s anti-nats statuses. very strange.