She's dreamin'

Apparently the rest of us should continue to pay for teachers in Christchurch who do not have anyone to teach. A whole lot of specious reasoning is put forward, including the holy grail of smaller class sizes. Are there any readers out there who have ever seen any research showing smaller class sizes improve education outcomes?

A mother and teacher is leading a campaign to stop the Government axing nearly 170 fulltime teacher jobs in Christchurch.

Sandra Spekreijse has written an open letter to Prime Minister John Key urging him to maintain staff levels in quake-affected Canterbury schools and early childhood centres next year.

Education Minister Anne Tolley announced this month the Government would be cutting funding for the equivalent of 167 fulltime teachers – or 4.5 per cent of the Christchurch teaching work force – from next year as pupils had moved away or to other parts of the city since the earthquakes.

About 3500 pupils have enrolled in schools outside the city and 1500 have moved to different schools within Christchurch.

It has obviously escaped this union hack that schools are funded by capitation, no kids means no money. The money has gone to the schools with the kids.

And the subby needs a good kick in the arse, she may well be a mother but she is also the teachers union rep.


THANK YOU for being a subscriber. Because of you Whaleoil is going from strength to strength. It is a little known fact that Whaleoil subscribers are better in bed, good looking and highly intelligent. Sometimes all at once! Please Click Here Now to subscribe to an ad-free Whaleoil.

  • Dave Woodward

    Many years since I last breathed chalk dust. As I recollect, the major outcome from smaller classes is reduced teacher burnout – the difference between marking several stacks of 35-40 books and say 25 -30, day after day after day. The difference between fielding the hourly needs of 35-45 kids and 20-30 is also a factor in burnout, especially among high maintenance kids. How much research would be necessary to establish benefits to kids from teachers that are less stressed? I’m not talking feather-bedding here either, which is what I suspect you are alleging. I think you sometimes risk avoiding real issues in maintaining your anti-union stance per se.

    I do enjoy your blogs for many of the reasons you outlined in blogging v journalism. Even the typos are a recognisable feature of the message. Keep up the good work. 7/10.

  • orange

    I don’t know what grounds there could be for keeping funding for workers not there. That sounds a bit silly. As far as class sizes go, I think it comes down to disruptive/challenging students. The larger the class the more likely it is that there are more special individuals needing extra help. Obviously giving that extra help becomes more difficult with more people. In an ideal world with no behavioral or other issues 50 would be a joy. Not too many classes are like that. I’m amazed at what PE teachers can manage though.

  • Let’s forget all of the semantics regarding the need for smaller classes. The hard fact of this issue is that there is a surplus of teachers in Christchurch because there are now less pupils to teach. That means there are larger classes in Timaru or Ashburton or wherever these pupils are now attending school which means a lot of extra work for the Ch’ch teachers’ colleagues in those centres. I would have thought that there would be some union solidarity shown for their comrades and that the Ch’ch teachers would relocate (with financial assistance if necessary) to help out with this emergency situation.

  • Dion

    Gazzaw – it takes an hour and a half to get from Ashburton to Christchurch. That means that after a grueling 9:00am – 3:00pm workday (early start on Friday with a staff meeting at 8:30), these teachers would get home at 4:30pm.

    How feasible does this sound to you, given the militancy of the teachers’ unions? :)