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NZSTA hits out at PPTA’s inaccurate paper


Media Release

“Don’t let facts spoil a good position paper” –

NZSTA hits out at PPTA’s inaccurate paper


New Zealand School Trustee Association is labelling a report from the secondary teachers’ union PPTA as being biased and short on facts.

The PPTA conference paper, Tomorrow’s Schools, Yesterday’s Mistakes, carries a recommendation that an inquiry into the Tomorrow’s Schools reforms be undertaken. It is to be released at the upcoming teachers’ union annual conference.

NZSTA president Lorraine Kerr says what the PPTA chooses to take to their annual conference is their business, however there is a responsibility to ensure factual information is being distributed.

“This background paper is sadly lacking in facts, and is biased by way of a very selective use of quotes and in some places it is downright wrong.  Presenting this type of information to their membership is not useful at all.”

Ms Kerr says the paper’s lack of objectivity means it has little credibility and is little more than a statement of the PPTA’s ideological position.

“What we have here is a paper which places some 2450 boards of trustees as the scapegoats for everything PPTA sees as being wrong with New Zealand education.

“It is useful to remember that pre-1989, we had an education system that was over centralised, overly complex, without effective management, and lacking in the necessary information people need to make good choices at various points in the system.”

She says change was needed, and cites comment from the Picot Report that at the time of the centralised system that “almost everyone feels powerless to change things that need changing”.

Lorraine Kerr says while NZSTA doesn’t claim that New Zealand’s model of self governance/management is perfect, independent reviews show that the governance system is doing very well.

“I know from my own experience, and from feedback from principals and boards around the country, that it is light years ahead of the old system, and to the extent that I am unaware of anyone that I have met in schools who wants to turn back the clock.”

She says self governance works well for the majority of school communities, and help is available for those who need it.

The Schools Sector report, tabled in Parliament last week confirms NZSTA’s belief that self governance in NZ is alive and well, she says.

The report states that boards of trustees “play a crucial governance role and ensure that schools are accountable to the government and community. A recent report from the Education Review Office confirms that the majority of New Zealand schools are well run with a clear strategic focus on improving student learning and achievement”.

It also found that an “analysis of 2007 statistics shows that, overall, New Zealand schools are being capably governed and are in financially healthy positions”.

Ms Kerr says ERO, in its 2007 report on governance, identified training as being a key for improvement, something NZSTA has advocated for some time, and continues to support.

“Attempting to wind the clock back is of little benefit. Information such as the new report confirms that the New Zealand style of governance, while not perfect,  is going very well overall and most importantly student achievement is on the rise.”

She says New Zealand should be proud of its system and as a country it does very well by international standards which is supported by 2008 OECD data.







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