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PPTA celebrates 50 golden years

PPTA celebrates 50 golden years

Prime Minister Helen Clark will join PPTA tonight to launch a book celebrating the Association’s first 50 years.

Those who can, Teach, by historian David Grant, aims to set the record straight by reflecting the huge role that secondary teachers have played in shaping secondary education in New Zealand.

PPTA president Phil Smith said the book highlighted PPTA’s proud history and recognised its contribution to positive change in education.

“Often PPTA is cast simply as narrow-focused organisation campaigning for better pay and conditions for secondary teachers.

“While we certainly do that, our people are also heavily involved in all the major educational debates: curriculum and assessment, private schools, Maori education, gender issues, bulk-funding, resourcing and rural education to name a few. “

Mr Smith said PPTA’s first 50 years had seen the organisation evolve from a quiet, professional group dominated by senior teachers to one now led predominantly by classroom teachers and covering a plethora of industrial and professional issues.

“This book is a tribute to the overwhelming majority of members of this profession who see membership of PPTA and participation in PPTA decision making as the best way of improving the quality of secondary education in New Zealand,” he said.

Author David Grant said annoyance at teachers’ stories being neglected was a key motivation for him to write the book.

“The book is a balancing of the ship. Previous histories dealing with secondary education have largely ignored, misrepresented or marginalised the role of the teachers themselves.”

He called PPTA a very democratic union in which every teacher could participate in decision making, and action.

“PPTA is egalitarian, industrially assertive and willing to take direct action and while that can make it unpopular at times, it has also ultimately been successful in delivering advances to teachers.”

The book will be launched at the National Library from 5.30pm tonight.

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