Guest Post – An email from a principal

When the PISA results came out this week I thought the following things (but only for a moment):

I thought the NZEI would come out and say that it is clear that Primary teachers need much greater expertise in Maths and Science (which is often barely touched in Primary Schools) and that they will be encouraging them to seek much greater knowledge and training in those areas. I thought they might say that teachers are disappointed in these outcomes and know they need to lift their game for the good of the children. 

I was wrong – the NZEI President ignores the role of her teachers and blames the economy:

 Growing inequity and long term poverty have a big impact on student achievement.”

 States that her teachers are helpless and can’t learn themselves.

 “Yet for the past five years, teachers have been starved of professional development while the government has focused on unnecessary and irrelevant data collection.”

And blames tiny amounts of spending on private schools and Charter schools – which haven’t even started yet so can hardly be blamed for the NZEI supported mess.

I thought the PPTA would see the need to focus on the students and stop opposing everything and blaming anyone but the teachers. Like we would expect from anything as trivial as a sports team I thought the teachers would take responsibility for their outcomes.

I was wrong – the PPTA President claims that $10 million being taken  from somewhere has caused this (despite funding having actually increased) 

“In New Zealand we have $10 million a year stripped from schools through the quarterly funding system, large class sizes and 270,000 of our young people living in poverty.”

And despite the PPTA claiming “world class” for the last 3 years it is now the government ignoring the evidence. 

“It’s not just about the data, it’s what you do with that data and for three years the New Zealand government simply ignored the evidence,” Roberts said.

She really is already a top quality entertainer. She then blames private school despite 4% of NZ children being in private schools. 

“We need to get away from quick fixes like the privatization of education, which we know doesn’t work.”

Basically anything but placing some responsibility on her teachers.

I thought Labour would accept some responsibility and seek a bipartisan approach with government. After all it is children we are talking about and they should not be political footballs. I thought they would accept some responsibility – after all the 15 years old being tested had 9 of their first 10 years of life and learning under a Labour government.

I was wrong – and this is funny – Chris Hipkins – of Labour – accused National of red-tape in education. He also shows his balance and sanity by stating that

“No government can achieve their educational targets by declaring war on teachers.”

Hadn’t noticed a “war” but I guess you could miss it. He also blames the – strong and improving economy.

 “[Hekia Parata] is also turning a deaf ear to the effect inequality has on education”

And he doesn’t seem to be able to place any responsibility for outcomes with teachers – who must feel irrelevant and powerless at this point – after all – if kids are succeeding – is is because of the economy – if they are not – it is because of the economy…Hipkins clearly no longer believes education has any transformational power…why do they advocate any state schooling at all?

I thought the uneducated Greens would simply try and politicise tragedy – because that is what they do.

I was right – Catherine Delahunty who still has this on her online profile: 

University life would not keep Catherine’s attention and she left Victoria half way through her BA.

Although on her FB page she actually lists Victoria University – how is that not a problem? For the PISA results she blames Charter Schools (funnier than Roberts) which are costing only $19 million over 4 years and don’t begin until 2014. Tardis like retrospective responsibility – and Norman was mocking Colin Craig. 

“Green Party education spokesperson Catherine Delahunty said a key finding of the report was that universal education policies should be applied to raise standards.

“Yet National’s charter schools don’t require them to teach the full curriculum.”

Ms Delaunty said the report showed growing inequality in New Zealand is negatively impacting on learning.

“The report states that high performing countries place high performing teachers in socially disadvantaged schools, yet National plans to staff their controversial charter schools with unqualified teachers.” 

 Catherine Delahunty’s potential influence on education in NZ if there was a Green/Labour government must terrify everyone with an interest in children – surely?

 

I used to think the political left and unions stood for something in education and could put the aspirations of children ahead of political points scoring.

 

I was wrong.

Time for parents to demand better.

Time for teachers to take full reposnsibility for what happens in their classrooms and believe that the privilege of 6 hours a day can change plenty for a child (otherwise go and do something else). Stop allowing the unions to point the finger everywhere else. You demand that students take responsibility for their own learning – at least be philosophically consistent.

Time for teachers to look for better representation.


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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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