NZPF and NZEI – great: PPTA need a pay cut and to be hauled in

For those in primary, as far as organisational representation is concerned, we can now feel comfortable.

Yes – NZEI is in a complicated IES position that in one sense doesn’t make full sense, but they are cool, and we have learnt we can trust them. NZEI is not in IES, but the government is – Lewis Carroll territory really.

But now Denise Torrey, for the NZPF, in the most recent newsletter, has shown her hand, and we can all breathe a sigh of relief. She, like Louise, is demonstrating sensitive diplomacy with great strength.

To be direct, I admit to having had some questions about Denise. During the national standards fight (though it should be seen, of course, as still continuing), she was a phenomenon – incisive intellect and outstanding presence and articulation. Then, for me, she seemed to fade into Christchurch – was there a ministry contract? where was she? I heard very little from her in last year’s executive troubles. Did Christchurch have too much continuing power in the NZPF executive? But we can rest easy, Denise’s newsletter on the scourge that is EDUCANZ was dignified, firm, and principled.

I’m mildly euphoric.

With principals fearful of speaking out, we need the leaders of our organisations to do terrifically well for us. We are looking for a Moses to lead us from our troubled state. I would ask that as well as the usual issues we should make clear the need for teachers to feel sufficiently free to make the curriculum work for children. That would require a restructuring of the whole system but the starting point should be the end one.

The PPTA is, however, in a moral and ethical mess. A once proud organisation fallen on sorry times. The how I learnt to love the IES executive.

In defending their support for IES they said no they hadn’t become a weak organisation: I said oh yes you have; they said, oh no we haven’t – you wait and see how we fight EDUCANZ. All right, the whole world is watching.

Let me tell you boys and girls that the PPTA is starting to line up a complicated argument that will have them, in effect, supporting EDUCANZ. If a teacher organisation can’t oppose the invidious EDUCANZ, there is no line in the sand they won’t retreat from. They are using the same argument as for IES which is the argument of capitulation, one that has oft been repeated in history, this expression of the argument goes – it’s going to happen anyway, so we might as well get under the EDUCANZ table for a pat on the head and some crumbs, that would be better than nothing.  As a Stuart, I call it the Campbell trope – and it would be disastrously worse than nothing.

The PPTA has been sorely affected by the head office syndrome of identifying more with other head offices than with their members, because dammit, those members are always whining and saying rude things about us. Whereas it so warming to being with big people and have conspiratorial cups of tea.

The paid PPTA staff should be pulled up with a start. First, a pay cut for performance, to take them back relatively to where teachers were before pay rounds were postponed and, where they weren’t postponed, only piddling amounts gained. And from then on, pay increases should occur at the same time and rate as teachers.

There is in the PPTA head office, a lot of high intelligence frenziedly circulating in a tightly constrained space of low ethicality.

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