19 December 2011
For Immediate Release
Government needs to come clean on principal plans
The education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa is urging the government to come clean about its agenda for education and any plans it may have to change the way school principals are hired.
Media reports suggest that the government is planning to make the Ministry of Education responsible for the appointment of principals rather than boards, and also ban them from speaking out against government policy.
NZEI President Ian Leckie says the suggestions are alarming and need to be honestly confirmed or denied.
“There have been a lot of rumours and speculation about the issue and principals and schools are understandably very anxious. Removing the ability of schools and their communities to hire their own principal strikes at the heart of Tomorrow’s Schools and you have to wonder how much further the government is willing to go”.
“There’s also the question of motive,” says Mr Leckie.
“Handing over the employment of principals directly to the Ministry and attempting to gag them is a likely response to principals’ widespread criticism of National Standards”.
NZEI says like charter schools, the government seems like its readying to push through more unmandated educational change and policy.
“Changing the way principals are hired and managed would represent a major shift to our quality education system. It would be completely wrong and would be met with opposition from principals, schools and communities. It would also get the new Education Minister off to a very bad start with the sector as a whole,” says Mr Leckie.
“The government needs to front up and be honest about what’s on its agenda for education and put an end to the climate of suspicion and mistrust that it is fostering”.