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Minister must come clean on real agenda for education

Minister must come clean on real agenda for education

NZEI Te Riu Roa National President Judith Nowotarski says the Minister of Education, Hekia Parata, must come clean on the Government’s real agenda for education.

Briefing papers just released from Treasury show it planned to prioritise radical “workplace reform” in education, including bulk funding of teachers’ salaries last year.

“The Minister and Treasury were knocked back on increasing class sizes last year and these policies are equally wrong-headed,” Judith Nowotarski says. “The Minister has no mandate to foist radical change on New Zealand’s highly successful public schools or to re-introduce failed policies from the 1990s.”

She says it’s ironic that the Government and Treasury talk about improving teacher quality when policies such as bulk funding would have the opposite effect.

“Bulk funding would pressure schools to reduce salary costs by employing cheaper, less experienced teachers.”

“It would be an enormous step backwards, would reduce the quality and status of teaching and contribute to further inequalities in our school system.”

She says international research from the OECD [OECD 2011, Building a High-Quality Teaching Profession – Lessons from Around the World] clearly shows that engaging teachers and teacher unions as “architects of change” is critical to successful education reform.

“We need to be clear that there is no crisis in education apart from one being manufactured by the Government to push through an agenda designed to increase privatisation and competition.”

ENDS

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