Tom Parsons and PPTA executive should get ready for a surprise

A very quick posting. Pretty trivial I suppose but a punch message coming up for Tom Parsons of SPANZ and the PPTA executive.

  1. Congratulations and thank-you to the NZEI, and my admiration to principals for staying on course despite various distractions (you know who I mean – but even that distraction has righted itself – so hooray).

Now to Tom Parsons and the PPTA executive.

2. Tom Parsons, president of the Secondary Principals Association, is a strange one. There is something oleaginous in his relationship with the government, a complete suspension of individual will. Does he have a military background or something? His loyalty to the National Government is unhealthily submissive. If education benefited from mindless loyalty, Tom Parsons’ approach would be wildly successful.

There he was on national radio being interviewed by Guyon Espiner, accusing NZEI, principals, and teachers as being political for opposing the IES – what a cheek. It is Parsons who has been political. And what was his big message: $10, 000 of the executive principals’ pay is to be redistributed amongst the cluster. Money – how inspiring, but oh so typical. Might be a good school manager but what a clod educationally.

We don’t want secondary pushing us around thank-you very much. We’ve had enough quite enough of that over the last 25 years.

3.  Now for the PPTA executive – this group, as I wrote in an earlier posting has betrayed primary, I think it is betraying its own members too.

As national executives can, as we have seen, they start to identify with their own Wellington kind, including the government Wellington kind – it can be all very cushy and heady – mixing with the powerful. As well, the members out there, in the provinces, complain a lot, are very demanding. The siren call from the centre for the weak of principle can be seductive.

And the point I want to make: I have asked secondary teachers in a number of schools to investigate whether their fellow teachers will vote for the IES when the opportunity to vote is finally provided, and the answer is a resounding no.

Come on PPTA executive, stop dithering, putting forward your clever dick arguments, bring it on – how about a little democracy – bring it on now, let your people vote.

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23 Responses to Tom Parsons and PPTA executive should get ready for a surprise

  1. This conflicted situation is placing Area Schools in a rather difficult position – both unions on site, both involved in negotiation of Principal’s salaries. Quite a mess really getting ready to be unleashed.

  2. Glenn Cassidy says:

    PPTA exec have been working hard to try to make this work for their members – many of the offerings are things teachers have been asking for. The options were to work to improve the IES as first offered or have it brought down on teachers as it was presented. PPTA members will have a vote, but theirs will be an informed one, based on the modified IES. If secondary teachers reject it then fine, but we will have tried to make it work. Informed democracy is preferable. How could NZEI members have made an informed vote when the final structure is unknown? I am sure we all have a wishlist for how we would have spent the money, but that is not how this government rolls..

    • Helen Moran says:

      IES in any shape or form is based on the premise that we are motivated by money, and that genuine collaboration can and should be replaced by dictated, top-down ‘collaboration’. This was never going to work for primary teachers, (read ‘Drive’ by Daniel Pink, or watch the summary:, so it absolutely was an informed vote.

      • Glenn Cassidy says:

        A lot of secondary teachers already collaborate.

      • Kelvin says:

        From a PPTA school rep: Many members are unhappy with the undemocratic way the PPTA national office is pushing this through. Our problem is our employees, the PPTA office in Wellington, are running the PPTA as their kingdom with disregard to what the members (their employers) want. There is a growing feeling in the Waikato, and I am sure elsewhere in NZ, that there should be a shake-up of head office and maybe it is time for some officers to move on, maybe they should return to the classroom.

      • Glenn Cassidy says:

        Nothing is being “pushed through”. The PPTA is in a process of bargaining an agreement with the ministry as to how this might work. The next step is for it to be taken to members to vote for or against it. There is nothing undemocratic about that process. Members who are unhappy are able to bring it up at branch level, take it to regional level to inform their executive representative. It is true that some members do not like IES , and their votes will count in the final process. Never before has so much money been put on the table along with an ability to be consulted about it. It is proper for the exec to make the most of the opportunity in their member’s interest. In the end , members will still have the final say.
        (PPTA Exec for BOP and Central Plateau.)

    • Paul Johnson says:

      Then make a stand! We have. Why pander around waiting, hoping the final structure is going to be anything different, when you already know how this government rolls. IES is political, not educational.

    • Sean Carroll says:

      It seems to me that the Secondary Principals have been bribed…..and they are taking the bribe for personal gain.

  3. John Carrodus says:

    IES is not going to work, never was and never will for primary schools. What the PP have worked out from early on is it might well work for them especially in terms of driving the clusters. End of.

  4. Kelvin says:

    For primary schools, IES is anathema as a concept. End of story.

  5. Gary Hildyard says:

    Yes he does have a military background

  6. Stephen says:

    What I would suggest Kelvin is that the PPTA and SPANZ have knowledge we don’t. They have done a back door with Key and Parata that in return for this IES support the government will support the breaking of pay parity in the next round of negotiations.
    The carrot must be very big, why else would the PPTA support the introduction of performance pay positions based on improved NS and NCEA results?

    • Austen Pageau says:

      The PPTA has always opposed performance pay where a limited number of “good” teachers get a bonus payment for no extra work. But the union has always supported better career pathways with extra pay for an actual role. That is exactly what PPTA has achieved by going to the bargaining table. The positions now all have time and job descriptions attached to them for the extra money, same as deans, specialist classroom teachers etc. By refusing to even go to the bargaining table NZEI is risking the government imposing the original cabinet model, which did involve performance pay, on them by legislation.

      You also show your ignorance of the changes made at the bargaining table when you speak of NCEA being used to choose the teachers for these roles. There is no such intention. The teachers will be chosen based on the goals set by the particular community of schools and each will likely use different criteria.

      I would also note that PPTA has been front and centre in the fight against EDUCANZ, the place any real performance pay initiative is likely to come from. The same can be said of the fight against charter schools. So it’s quite ridiculous to think the PPTA is doing buddy-buddy deals with Parata. It’s also worth noting that the PPTA Executive is made up of teachers rather than principals as most of the NZEI Executive is, so our views are more likely to represent the interests of our teacher members.

      -PPTA Exec Member

      • Stephen says:

        “You also show your ignorance of the changes made at the bargaining table when you speak of NCEA being used to choose the teachers for these roles. There is no such intention.”
        Actually it is you who shows a lack of knowledge. I never said that appointees will be chosen using NCEA and NS data. The IES proposal as it stands is clear NS and NCEA results will be used to measure the performance of the appointees. That is performance pay plain and simple and the PPTA has bought into it lock, stock and barrel. Since the PPTA has someone in the secret committee room I would have expected you to be better informed as an exec member.
        The Education Amendment Bill no 2 is a separate issue and process. I was referring to the IES contract negotiations where any back room deals are likely to be made.

      • Kelvin says:

        Yes – the PPTA executive, unlike NZEI, is made up teachers rather than principals, unfortunately, they seem to be teachers who are wannabe principals, and are thinking like them in advance of the fact, or is it to advance the fact? Their thinking is remote from classroom reality, narrow, and above all – hierarchical.

  7. Kelvin says:

    I’m sorry, but was there any mention of the needs of children in there? IES might benefit secondary in the narrow sense of benefit described by the writer, but it is really aimed at primary schools providing a bureaucratic layer to control and silence them. Primary teachers know this and won’t have a bar of it. To be straight, in the sense the writer has been with primary, we in primary would think secondary would benefit from the extra teachers we are seeking, to achieve a semblance of authenticity to a substantial number of internal NCEA passes; also to reduce the number students being guided to soft NCEA units, when, with more individual teaching, more challenging ones might have been attempted.

  8. Matthew says:

    I would back up the idea that if this went to a vote among all ppta members, it would be voted down with as much opposition as the NZEI vote.
    I teach secondary, and the IES will do nothing for student achievement.

  9. PPTA members will vote, plan and simple, on what they feel is the best thing for them, their school, their students, and the education. If IES is not what they feel is best, then they will reject it.

  10. Jim Turrell says:

    I wonder if PPTA’s reputation as a ‘softer’ target is being strategically exploited? Our secondary cousins are likely to be first to engage with IES, “value added” data, a total resourcing model, changes to governance and performance pay….could this precipitate an inevitability that primary schools will eventually succumb to the same neoliberal ideology?

    • newkiwi says:

      The PPTA is a softer target? You must me joking. It was only a few months ago the right was comparing PPTA to the Apartheid regime for its ban on contact with charter schools. Hundreds of PPTA members went to the Education Amendment Bill no 2 select committee hearings and presented their submissions against the changes.

      When was the last time NZEI took industrial action and shut down schools across the country? The PPTA has been forced to take the hit for the whole sector multiple times as NZEI has settled early and then used entrenchment to win the same gains as PPTA fought for. The result of entrenchment and pay parity has been a general decline in the wages of secondary teachers.

      Now if we’re talking performance pay, look no further than the ACET positions the NZEI fought for in their last pay round. A limited number of posts so there wouldn’t even be one in every school, the need to win approval by the principal to get the bonus and the fact it comes with no actual job, no time allowance to do something for the payment means it is performance pay plain and simple.

      • Jim Turrell says:

        I am not trying to pick a fight with PPTA. I feel NZEI and PPTA need to develop more common ground. My comment was based on the treasury department’s proposed timeline, gained under OIA, which identifies system-wide levers for change. The pattern I alluded to is clear enough…..

        We either support the neoliberal reform agenda, or we don’t. IES is just another brick in the wall.

        PS Do you believe your submissions on the Education Amendment Bill were genuinely received and acted upon in good faith by the select committee?

  11. Kelvin says:

    Dear newkiwi: I agree with just about everything you say. Ever since I left the formal education system in 1990 to fight against the slide into authoritarianism I have fought as bitterly against NZEI and NZPF (and continue to do so with NZPF to the present day) as I am presently against PPTA. With good reason, PPTA members with long memories know how those organisations were weak and compliant over bulk finding in the ‘90s. NZEI just happens to be in a sweet spot now because of Judith Nowotarski’s leadership based on shared power. She, significantly, comes from early childhood. NZEI and PPTA need a truth and reconciliation process to develop a better understanding of each other. NZEI cannot strike – how can smallish entities in a community do so? but they can do other things (be bloody awkward, for instance). The IES proposal is even worse in its implications for all schools than bulk funding, but they could be considered to be on a rough par. In a nutshell, because NZEI and NZPF acted like ratbags in the past is no excuse for PPTA doing so in the present.

  12. Glenn Cassidy says:

    IES Passed by over 80% QED

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