19 June 2002
Secondary teachers would react to National’s pay offer, announced today, with deep scepticism, PPTA president Jen McCutcheon said today.
“Welcome to the election round. It is very easy for National to promise secondary teachers the earth, when it is only words. Why not the moon and stars to boot, Mr English?”
She said the National leader’s offer of something in the order of the National government’s 1999 pay offer – about 6.8% over two years for teachers at the top of the basic scale – plus a $2000 NCEA allowance this year, was pretty rich in light of their treatment of teachers and secondary education over the years.
“If National governments between 1990 and 1999 had invested in secondary education, we would not be having to fight for its future now. From the moment they took over the reins in 1990 In 1991 they proceeded to attack quality secondary education left, right and centre with their seriously flawed policies and their axing of at least 1000 teaching jobs.
“However, it is a sad day indeed when the leader of the National party makes a seemingly better pay offer to secondary teachers than a Labour government voted in by constituents wanting state education to be a top priority.
“We are having to fight tooth and nail for every extra cent and every extra teacher we can get out of this government. And it is so debilitating for teachers and immensely disruptive for our students.”
Mrs McCutcheon said the life chances of young people deserved to be treated better than a political football. “We wish that all political parties would commit themselves to investing in secondary education, i.e. ensure we can attract and keep sufficient numbers of teachers in the profession to meet both the pressing number and needs of students.
“We wish that all political parties would commit themselves to raising the status of secondary teaching so that, instead of being one of the worst jobs in the country, it was simply the best.”