Teachers Council approval required for all courses: These are your people and your policies NZEI

NZEI we don’t like your new friends or their policies; they are now your responsibility.

When NZEI (and the NZPF) became an adjunct of the ministry and deceived, betrayed trust, and bullied its members to support the government’s cluster plan that, for me, was it.

I’d seen this rubbish 25 years before; predicted exactly what would happen, and that is what happened … exactly.

Over clusters, NZEI gave its love to the government: none to the children and principled teachers.

I am the villain … happened all before.

The game for at least a decade is up, perhaps, as for Tomorrow’s Schools, a generation.

New Zealand primary schools are now all over the place, and at the same time, unfortunately, never been so much together. Oh happy times.

The only thing holding the system together is high stakes testing, made easier by also being own stakes testing.

In the time ahead, I’m mainly going to leave NZEI to its own devices, though getting in a jab here and there for a laugh (as an alternative to crying); defending teachers and principals against bullying as it happens, and by the way it is (and increasingly over clusters); and concentrating on the holistic curriculum.

Why aren’t the teacher organisations letting you know what is really going on? After all, it is their policy.

A few years back, Hattie who is in association with Pearson, lobbied the government and the Treasury for schools to be organised into clusters.

Hattie and Pearson, you won’t be surprised, are now in negotiation with the government (at this stage) to provide services and professional development.

And now we have the NZEI president in a media release, and Paul Goulter, the secretary, in a NZ Herald article, crying woe is us! the TPPA gives multi-nationals unfettered right to takeover services and professional development,  and to set up privatised schools at the taxpayers’ expense. (Some countries gained the right to exclude this from their TPPA agreement; Key has taken considerable satisfaction from it being included.)

You have done brilliantly NZEI.

This is your policy. I made a considerable point about the matter but you showered me.

And here are the schools of New Zealand forming themselves into convenient little groupings, more or less saying: Take me … and they are about to be.

I could tell you a lot the teacher organisations know, but are too scared to tell you – one or two titbits:

All professional development courses are to be approved by the Teachers Council (including schools in clusters and without).

Oh well done all those National Party principals who have been so busy in the clusters doing the government’s will.

NZEI even has an executive member (representing herself though) on the Teachers Council seeing it all happening close-up and personal.

Is this approval thingy in any education literature? is it in any other democracy? no but soon in little old New Zealand.

It all started off 25 years ago with considerable freedom being allocated to schools, now look where we are. Schools can’t even take a course without approval from the government. There is no parallel and no justification in education literature – this education gangsterism.

This is your cluster policy in action NZEI.

You want another titbit?

Professional development money will only go to schools in clusters.

Those taking professional development are already reporting back to the ministry on principals and  teachers who are being challenging. There will be eyes everywhere: from professional development; colleagues in leadership positions and those skulking around corners; and boards of trustees.

And ears – loose lips and all that.

Want to hear a con?

There will no longer be an emphasis on numeracy and literacy on their own, so to speak. They will be subsumed under Health, Science, and Technology.

I can hear the story now (in different circumstances, some of it has something to offer): Maori health (why not start with school tuck shops?) and science concepts, also employment opportunities in science and technology (the best way to prepare children for the future is to meet their needs in the present – and not with a half-baked idea like this).

I don’t want to go into it: all I want to say is that the only success will come from high stakes assessment of the sort made possible by own stakes testing.

Perhaps, I  could add that reading, mathematics, and writing are in such a tenuous situation, with  so much needing to be straightened out, that imposing this creaky structure (irrespective of the Maori concepts) is one that will pull Maori and Pasifika children back. Classroom teaching is such a subtle thing, so dependent on moments of insight derived from carefully and beautifully constructed knowledge – oh the transcendent teaching I have seen in my years – and in come these terrible people, ideologically laden, condescending, educationally ignorant, they are a new breed in a way –  and they surround themselves with cronies and minions of a similar temperament. It’s not that they don’t want to help children, they do, but only if it is seen as being derived from the ideology concerned and brings personal aggrandisement to the instigator. It’s really about ideology and power first, children second – the drive being to assume more power at the expense of teachers. It’s either do what you are told or you will be harassed and bullied. It is a matter of taking mana from teachers and then taking more and more as confusion and demoralisation sets in. At the moment the failure is being disguised by false statistics and a huge media propaganda machine.

These are your people NZEI.

I am a great admirer of Rose Pere (thinking of her concepts as an example), I worked with her, but the education environment is all wrong; good people being cut off at the knees; fear and lack of trust; education by direction; fantastically ignorant bureaucrats swarming over schools; bullying, cronyism, and much that is less than the truth – the atmosphere sour. The characteristics of the present education system are heavily antithetical to the concepts sure to be involved.

A new con is not needed.

For goodness sake Hekia, reduce class sizes, increase support staff, get those bloody know-all, know-nothing bureaucrats out of schools’ hair, and let those who know what to do, do it. Deep down I suspect you know that that would work but it doesn’t come from your ideology or you – takes all the fun away, gives the limelight to teachers.

You and your sister have been a severe obstruction to Maori and Pasifika education with all your swanning around gabbing on about national standards being the answer, cracks in classroom floors, lapel badges, changes to children’s school reports, high quality teaching the answer, it’s about achievement (insightful), 21st century education (what else could it be? or are you offering a choice?), data this and that, fly-in principals, modern learning environment (pity about the learning bit), charter schools, deciles are not destiny (smartass putdown as a substitute for leadership), computers are the answer (to what?), that low decile school over there is doing it (pull the other one), 20% when it should have been 80% (what a whopper), and now mindset (oh how chic! Stanford no less). Oh my goodness! This change in policy is an admission of failure, but the change being made (given the context) is rubbish, dangerous rubbish because some will believe it will work, meaning another damaging delay in doing something genuine for Maori and Pasifika children.  It’s another cruel chimera. Neither of you have a clue about primary education.

A good story for the public; another con for the children.

These are your people NZEI. In supporting clusters they became your people and their policies your policies and your responsibility.

Anyone read 1984?

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6 Responses to Teachers Council approval required for all courses: These are your people and your policies NZEI

  1. kellyned says:

    So the assurances I have been given that PD will not be restricted to cluster members are false? It wouldn’t surprise me.
    Having just read Elwyn Richardson’s ‘In the Early World’ we are so wide of the mark now that only a major leap could take us back to the simple and rational logic of his work.
    No wonder our achievement outcomes have suffered over recent years.
    When you add to the growing NZ equity gap which is compounding the issues it all makes me feel rather hopeless.
    However as a deliberate fight back, I have thrown open the doors for my staff to spend 2016 trying new approaches and deliberately working to meet the immediate needs of the students in front of them, as they see fit.
    I can’t wait to see some of the results.
    Thanks Kelvin
    Kia kaha

  2. Roger Young says:

    Good on you kellyned. Elwin Richardson’s In The early World was one of the main readings used extensively in an old and no-longer used institution called Teachers’ Colleges. These were designed to train teachers and were staffed by experienced teachers. Now teachers are trained by people who have never taught in an institution which is profit driven.
    Kelvin is absolutely right with all of his statements. Hattie and Pearson are about making big money. Their philosophy is doomed to fail and is seen with with demise of the first charter school. No one cares about the children who are lost in this series of debacles. There are good teachers and principals all around the country being driven out of the profession because they don’t want the children to suffer.
    The answer is clear yet we are drifting further and further away from it.
    Reduce class sizes, support teachers, encourage the ideas of experienced teachers and bring back teachers’ colleges.

  3. Ken says:

    It’s not the Teachers Council. It’s the Education Council. At least with the Teachers Council we had some sense of ownership and involvement.

    • Kelvin says:

      You were right to point this out Ken. I did know but was being playful or sulky or something: it is neither a teachers’ council nor an education one so I decided not to change at all. My apologies.

  4. Mel says:

    Thanks for your continued passion for quality education for our nation’s children! I have contacted NZEI via Twitter and await their reply re this worrying information.

    Just to let you know that you have a presence on Twitter, through a number of people who are also concerned about the future of our education system. This ensures that people in the wider community have access to other stories in education, as the ‘system’ is increasingly shutting down diverse voices.

    You also need to know that you are a treasure to teachers at the coal face, who are facing standardised testing and other assorted assessment regimes with little or no validity. I have the sad feeling that things are only going to get worse…….

    Please keep up your efforts!!!!!!!!!! You are the fresh air in our deflated sails.

  5. John Carrodus says:

    Hi Kelvin. Since I have left education, I despair at the carnage in primary schools. The appaling political interference, waste and damage being delivered by education orcs at all levels. There are three groups of teachers emerging from this ebbing turgid sea of kelp. Those who are completely deluded and think things are great and never looked better. ( Consultants, PD providers, Cluster Leaders come to mind in particular) Those who are ground down and completely compliant, gasping for breath and holding out for some rescue. Then there are the realists who are bouyed and sustained by their cynical attitude and tow the thinnest line for as long as they can. They are the cunning adaptable survivors who come out on top in the end. Unfortunately Kelvin, the last elk’s days are numbered as they have an ERO bounty on their heads.

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