The teacher unions have never been happy with a single Education Minister, ever. It is no surprise they are happy to see the back of Hekia Parata.
During her time Ms Parata clashed with education groups including teacher unions. She told reporters she hoped she would be leaving with a mutually respectful relationship with the unions.
“I have tried to involve the unions early in decision-making processes, I’ve set up forums where they are involved. They’re on every key working group since I’ve been in this role,” she said.
That was her one mistake. You can’t deal honourably or constructively or even respectfully with teacher unions, ever.
And to show that is true the teacher unions have been dancing on her political grave.
The president of early childhood and primary school teacher union Educational Institute, Louise Green, said that inclusiveness was triggered by the government’s failed 2012 attempt to increase class sizes.
“Were they opportunities where we were really listened to? There were times when we felt that our voice was heard and there are other times that we felt that we weren’t.”
PPTA president Angela Roberts said when the minister did listen, things went well, but that did not always happen.
“When she has allowed herself and her ministry to engage sincerely with us, the profession, we’ve been able to see some interesting and good policies come through, such as the resourcing of collaboration between schools. And when she doesn’t, we get disastrous ideas.”
Ms Roberts said the government’s policies under Ms Parata had been a mixed bag.
“The collaboration between schools is at a very very early stage yet, it is the first time anyone has tried to push back against the collaborative model, but it is all going to be undermined by things like the COOLs (online schools) and bulk funding.”