Whale nails NZEI

I posted yesterday about more poison from a principal in his newsletter and the abysmal coverage of the Nelson Mail.

Well, it seems the editor must have a bit more common sense, going by his editorial yesterday.

Freedom of speech is a key feature of Western life, but it is not an absolute. It is important to develop the sort of discernment that allows this freedom to be exercised wisely and well. Takaka Primary School principal Neil Batten appears to have fallen short of this ideal in his latest newsletters to the school community. They harshly criticise the Government and Education Minister Anne Tolley, whom he accuses of “condescension” towards teachers which has “turned into something near hate”.

Mr Batten disclosed to the Mail that some of the comment had been lifted, without attribution, from an education blog site. However, regardless of who coined which phrases, the work, signed by “Neil”, was clearly presented as the opinion of the school.

It is natural that teachers will have strong feelings about significant policy developments in education. Mr Batten is hardly alone in expressing alarm about Mrs Tolley’s approach and, in particular, her introduction of national standards to primary schools. However, there are more appropriate ways to engage in debate.

Inflammatory language can express frustration but can just as easily drag attention away from the primary issue. As an aside, copying phrases from online sources without referencing them – plagiarism, in other words – is an educators’ curse, especially in the age of Google. Not such a good look, Mr Batten. Example, good or bad, makes a powerful teacher.

Note to NZEI, NZPF and the rest of the loser principals.

Whale is one step ahead of you.


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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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