Recently the Education Council announced with great fanfare that they would be proposing a code of conduct and ethics for teachers.
Sounds fabulous, and media dutifully reproduced the press releases as news. Labour is also pushing this with a seperate bill.
The unions are upset, but for all the wrong reasons.
One teacher that Whaleoil has spoken to says “Although the core principles are fine and it is mostly a good document, it is also very alarming as some of the concepts deliberately attack the freedom of speech of any teachers who are socially conservative. I believe that this document violates human rights and is unreasonable in many situations.”
An example cited is on page 24 of the draft document. In the section headed “Examples of behaviour which suggests lack of respect towards the heritage, language, identity and culture of learners include”, it lists “displaying a lack of respect or refusing to acknowledge their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
It is one thing to say that teachers must respect students that have a different orientation or gender identity. This may be acceptable as different children come from different backgrounds and have different world-views.
However, the document is taking this one step further and demanding that teachers acknowledge it.
This would mean that teachers, against their own moral judgement and character, would have to refer to a biologically male student as female if that student identified as that.
This is blatant thought-policing and pushing a liberal agenda within our schools, punishing those who disagree with the transgender movement. Especially those teachers who identify as socially conservative. Their rights aren’t protected at all.
In addition there are many other dubious “inclusion” measures that prevent freedom of speech. Such as:
- It would now be an offence if your political opinion was public and someone used that to say you were unsuitable to teach. (i.e. a political Facebook post) (Section 1.1)
- It would now be seen as an offence to refuse to engage with Professional Development with Maori learning. Even if one rejects the philosophy around a particular Professional Development session. (section 1.4)
- Teaching Social Science that offends someone’s culture could now be seen as an offence. (i.e. In Year 13 teaching about Maori conflict with Moriori, or teaching about radical Islam etc) (section 2.3, 1.3)
I can understand that the point of this document is that teachers have a professional code and to protect students against racism and harassment. However the reach is appears to be far too great and the code could be used to silence teachers politically. This is especially true for conservative or centre-right aligned teachers who have to work in a union dominated environment. This code, like most such codes can and probably will be used to bully “inappropriate” teachers out of the profession simply because they do not hold the required approved political of societal views. Nowhere in the document is there any definition of what “inappropriate” actually means.
As a case in point, in the unlikely event I decided to become a teacher I can well imagine being drummed out of the profession for daring to believe in charter schools, that unions have no place in the classroom and believing in the power of markets to solve issues in education.
This code is clearly in breach of the Bill of Rights, but no one has bothered to actually read the provisions contained within this draft code.
It is yet another example of the creeping social engineering going on with the education sector.
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