Labour’s education policy is indebted to union agendas

Whaleoil reader libertysparks yesterday commented on A tale of two schools.

As a school principal, I can state that Labour’s education policy is indebted to union agendas. The NZEI, as with any union, is only concerned with the interests of its fee-paying members. It has no interest in student welfare, despite its claims otherwise. Charter schools are anathema because they are perceived to pose a threat to the employment conditions of the NZEI membership. It has nothing to do with the effectiveness of education. In the minds of the NZEI and its membership:

National standards = accountability (A school’s/principal’s effectiveness can be measured in part by the academic results/progress. Its preferable for the NZEI to ensure on-going job security of a poorly performing principal than to attempt to drive standards and measure student learning/school effectiveness )

Charter schools = competition (A poorly performing local school’s monopoly is compromised by the existence of a charter school. Its preferable for the NZEI to protect the monopoly, than to ask hard questions of the poorly led/performing school)

Regrettably, the NZ Principal’s Association is no better than the NZEI. Rather than holding its members to high professional standards and distancing itself from poorly performing schools/principals, it chooses to sing alongside the union to protect their own. There exists tremendous ‘group think’ in educational circles these days; everyone fears saying/doing anything that could be perceived as politically incorrect. This groupthink is severely weakening the foundations of our education system because it has removed all opportunity for open and robust debate about what is best for our children.

I have no problems with Charter Schools and feel no threat by their existence. I only ask that they are required to effect an ambitious and positive difference in their students learning outcomes, just as every other state-funded school should be doing.


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