NZEI in its manipulation of the membership has been a series of plans so cunning you could pin a tail on them, and in its relationship with the government, if you maintained your gaze, has delivered cockups and backdowns to dizzying effect.
Since I have been detailing this monkey business in postings, I receive a whole lot of information from members. The most consistent is that at last year’s election conference there was a gale of rumour that Frances Guy would be a risk for president because she would be too confrontational over national standards and clusters. The rumour was accompanied by how extra-vexed Hekia would become if Frances Guy was made president knowing that her husband had resigned from his principal’s position in protest against national standards.
So this is a black mark for office in NZEI? This worked for you?
I do not know who began the rumour because that is the nature of them, and we cannot say that those who benefited from them were those who began them, but I can say, from information received (and not by Frances Guy might I add), that the rumours were there and to devastating effect – and if the rumour did mean Frances Guy was not elected, and then we look at what has happened this year – let us weep.
Before I go any further, I don’t have the merest presumption that anything I write will have any effect on the election, possibly because it’s drivel, and if not that because, unlike my magazine of the ‘90s which got to teachers, the emails get mainly to principals.
But I write for the record and a probably a miscued sense of what is right.
I write from a number of bases, one is the horror that is national standards. I invite you to read the link, then the others at the end of the posting. We are in a terrible situation.
Where is the success that is implied in so many of the CVs? Where is the desperation, the urgency?
And why the smugness that pervades?
An understanding I have of NZEI is that the secretary, Paul Goulter, has too much power. I could be wrong and look forward to being corrected. I have the suspicion that he manipulates for those around him to be ones he feels comfortable with, perhaps confusing that with those who would be best for teachers and children.
I know there is a history of dominating NZEI secretaries but Paul you are no Jack Smith. A dominating secretary is all right I suppose, if that secretary gets things right, but you don’t anywhere near enough. And the decision to go for clusters so NZEI could keep on side with Hekia and pick up some goodies on the way, based on your understanding that clusters would eventually fail anyway, was a terrible calculation. Clusters have embedded national standards, and national standards is about everything that is bad, bad for teachers, bad for teachers, bad for our education future, and bad as the basis for our anti- teacher and children education system.
I note that Liam Rutherford is well set in NZEI and is standing for vice president and Lynda Stuart as well. A year or so ago I went up to Auckland from Cambridge to support teachers (with my eldest intermediate-age granddaughter who I wanted inducted into a key behaviour of my Shadbolt family, that of demos) and Lynda spoke well, but then she put herself forward for election to the Education Council, an invidious neoliberal organisation. How deep a thinker is she? Last time in her CV, if my memory serves me right, Lynda mentioned national standards, this year not a whisper.
Might I say that Cherie Taylor-Patel also spoke at Auckland and was dazzling, though her CV, in one sense, was light, in another, a powerful leader could be gauged in the outline of her experiences (a pity, perhaps, she is not going for vice president).
Of the other candidates, Jan Tinetti is a strong candidate but not going for vice president (a legend in my area); and Phonderlu Siohane I have known for some time and is wonderful.
Two candidates (though not going for the vice president position), Byron Sanders and Zac Markham, came through strongly for me. There was a tone of urgency in their accounts and an absence of complacency.
You will understand that I am distressed about NZEI.
It’s in mess.
It is time for a change, a considerable change.
For that reason, seeing Colin Tarr’s CV in the list was a delight and relief.
He has been NZEI president (2005) before and was considered one of our best ever. Like MacArthur I think he could return to good effect and not to a little concern for the NZEI establishment.
He knows that dignity is important in the role and would be polite and measured in his relationship with the government but unmoving on principle – willing to fight the long battle and able motivate the troops.
Colin Tarr has had an amazing record of experience and achievement.
If you want something better for NZEI; if you want a change; if you want an organisation led by someone who knows how to command public attention to powerful ends – Colin Tarr is your person.
A long shot perhaps considering memories can be short but you don’t need memory to know something has to change and that NZEI has had its worst institutional run ever and it must be brought to a stop.
Have a good conference – don’t listen to rumour, on second thoughts, perhaps start one: let’s have a real change.