These are difficult times for me. I know people in education, even ones who support the philosophy I advocate, find me increasingly uncomfortable. Yes – I feel pretty lonely, but I continue, because I genuinely feel it is useful I do so. But I have to entertain the idea that no matter how genuinely felt I might be wrong.
The main point of difference, as I see it, is that successive governments have captured our past and peopled it with ghosts; while to me the past is how we interpret the present to have some control over our future. The fragmented philosophy of hierarchical certainty as against the holistic philosophy of inclusiveness has been a seat of struggle for centuries; to accept the fragmented is, from my point of view, to surrender to something fundamental – and I’m not willing to do that. The fight I can assure you is not one I have thought up to entertain myself in my old age. I look to principals for the wisdom to guide their teachers on this.
But as the following posting said:
A new 25-year-old cycle of neoliberal repression is beginning, at the centre of which will be EDUCANZ and the rapidly increasing influence of private capital in education including education multinationals. Imagine how I feel who resigned from the formal education system to fight the first one (and that was pretty lonely too).
And at the heart of the expression of this repression is the provider capture argument. An argument that works dynamically for repressive influences at all levels, especially at the grubby level of portraying teachers as self-serving incompetents.
The one ray of light for the present situation is that both teacher organisations are functioning in an enlightened way: NZEI as an organisation as a whole; NZPF as having a leader who is very good, even verging of greatness.
But the oomph has gone out of schools. I can understand why: complex regulations; an unaccountable review office; boards of trustees becoming increasingly tricky; and a ministry on attack; and overall wondering when will it end?
Schools have to be united for this second neoliberal wave. The organisational leadership is there or developing; under that leadership, think about the primary school community of 2300 schools not the government’s one of ten.
Have you noticed that in the maths controversy, Hekia Parata has made no reference to the last great neoliberal wonder – national standards?
And that is how it works.
Neoliberal governments are willing to entertain any idea for education as long as it doesn’t involve freeing up and trusting teachers. And the catch for primary school education is that no idea will work if it doesn’t.
Since Tomorrow’s Schools there has been an ever increasing control over schools extending to minor classroom detail, and with every increase there has been growing confusion and failure, leading to more control. Those who are the instigators of failure being the beneficiaries in a continuing cycle.
That is what the collusion between the right-wing reflexive think tank and Parata is all about. At the centre of everything will be EDUCANZ, then fantastical appraisal systems, PaCT, IES as a unit of control, more national standards (would you believe?), fantastical review office indicators, multinationals, and humiliation of teachers.
My suggestion is to make a stand on EDUCANZ now – stop the rot early. Really go for it.
Next two postings: mathematics and change; the review office indicators.