This posting has limited purpose and scope:
A 2008 prediction of education under National – read and weep.
The PPTA executive – a bunch of unprincipled secondary opportunists and the fallout.
A glimpse of our future through the IES trial at Waihi.
It was 5 December, 2008 – National had just won the election – and I wrote ‘National: Smoke and Mirrors’ Part 1, the following is the first paragraph:
‘Primary school education I will point out is heading for an era of under-funding and over-hype. National’s education policies, I say, need to be seen in the context of a pulling back on social spending so that tax cuts can be offered at the end of each election cycle. (This pulling back will, in itself, I point out, also have a detrimental effect on numeracy and literacy.) These and other policies are portrayed as tawdry, populist, and a failure of integrity and imagination, with Anne Tolley the perfect accompaniment – reliably platitudinous. Schools are already assessed up to the gunwales; they already know largely what to do, and where they don’t, the last thing they need is more pressure from the review office for even more assessment; bureaucratic intervention and other major characteristics of ‘Tomorrow’s Schools’ are described as the problem not the solution – we are already reaping what we have sown.’
Well what do you think?
And here is that cycle of cynicism being repeated. Education could have been one of the defining issues of this election, but it hasn’t been – it hasn’t been because one of the teacher organisations went rogue. We were so close. A significant number of parties had wonderful education manifestos – an inspirational education future was there, but it was snatched away, snatched way by the actions of a small group of unprincipled opportunists – the PPTA executive. An executive that signed into the government’s IES, and derailed the education debate. All this is without putting the IES to its membership.
The IES has provided, as national standards have in previous elections, a glib propaganda platform of distraction. The PPTA in signing up for the IES, by that very action, has run interference on education in such a way as to prevent education becoming a central election issue. If both primary and secondary had rejected the IES, National would have been forced into a real education discussion about real issues. But no, the PPTA executive went rogue and the consequences will be severe.
Teachers should note that education expenditure, even with the $359 over the next four years, is set to fall. That means all teachers can expect virtually no pay rise – and even worse, no extra teachers and support teachers to help children with special needs, also a worsening of the rort that is internal NCEA and the associated funnelling of students into soft NCEA units.
A writer in this site’s Comments section says that the PPTA executive claim that the IES provides better career pathways is nonsense – a career pathway should have some permanency to it and the pathways’ scheme has none. The writer points out that the ministry says that schools can determine their own focus, yet Hekia Parata, when questioned as to where the funding for PLD was to come from, is on record as saying that clusters will access PLD from the ministry. And the PLD options for 2015 are very narrow and clearly linked to national standards.
Daryl Aim who put up such a brave fight to save Kawerau Intermediate (and what a corrupt story that is) reports on the Waihi experience when ERO tried to set up the Waihi schools and much else besides for an IES trial.
This is his story:
I was elected by other primary schools to be the representative on the ERO reference group for the Waihi Cluster Review. The review was to be around transitions of students at all levels of schooling, including early childhood and into the workforce.
When I was questioned by Phil Cowie, leading the ERO team, about its obvious ties to IES – he was adamant that it was coincidence – yeah right!
I attended the reference group hui in the last school holidays. The group was made up of the Waihi College principal, three early childhood operators, myself, the ERO team and a woman from Auckland who was presented as an expert on the model. We spent half a day framing the dimensions for review. The ERO team were also very interested in drawing up a list of community groups who could be part of the review.
My feeling following the meeting was that this was clearly a trial for a post-IES ERO system. A cluster review system where poorly performing schools can be singled out and dealt with.
After taking my views back to our primary cluster principals those present were unanimous in their decision to withdraw from the review.
ERO attempted a last minute salvage operation wanting to meet with us late on Friday – no chance!
Then an e-mail went out to all early childhood, primary schools and the college stating the review would not go ahead, and how disappointed the ERO team were … boo-hoo!
Imagine waking up on Sunday morning after the election and pondering the vocational prospect of this bureaucratic nonsense. Imagine your school being messed up in day-to-day detail by the ministry, ERO, PDL providers, community groups, other schools, local high school – all busily dispensing advice.
We read about our future recurring to dismal education effect; our present being stuffed by a group who just don’t care; back to the future again – and it is dismal; but there was one heartening thing – the decisiveness and courage of Daryl and the Waihi primary principals in giving ERO its marching orders.