Teachers council overhaul a major assault on the profession
Teachers council overhaul a major assault on the profession - PPTA
1 October, 2013
An overhaul of the New Zealand Teachers Council at the whim of the education minister could see a major assault on the teaching profession, says PPTA president Angela Roberts.
“Just as the Teachers Council was starting to get on top of its role and develop links with the wider profession, and just after it came out so strongly against the proposal to increase class sizes and cut teacher staffing, it is forced to undergo a major overhaul at the minister’s whim,” she said.
PPTA members are discussing the fate of the council, with the paper ‘Teacher ownership or government takeover?’ being presented at the association’s annual conference.
Roberts described the government’s consultation paper on the Teachers Council review as the most contradictory document she had ever read.
“Every section leads off with spin about ‘improving teacher ownership’ and ‘better leadership of the profession’ only to be followed with exactly how a new professional body will dismantle teacher involvement in that same body.
“The government had shown a stunning ignorance of the current work of the Teachers Council,” she said.
Particularly concerning and insulting was the review consultation document’s constant references to teacher unions as “industrial advocacy groups” ignoring PPTA’s long history of working towards high quality public education for New Zealand’s young people, Roberts said.
“PPTA is our union, but it is our professional voice too. The minister should know you cannot separate the industrial from the professional by rebranding unions as simply “industrial advocates” and overhauling the Teachers Council. Issues like class size, non-contact time to implement NCEA and beginning teacher time allowances are all examples of issues that have both industrial and professional elements.
“It’s time to stand up against these changes which seek to remove teacher voice from the Teachers Council.”
The Teachers Council is the only professional body in New Zealand that is a crown entity and as a bare minimum it should be owned by the profession, Roberts said.
“Why teachers need to be overseen by a crown entity when other professions that work in publically funded systems such as the health system are overseen by statutory authorities is far from clear,” she said.
paper sets out the bare minimum for the council as:
• Having a majority of registered teachers
• Having elections for teacher representatives, not just ministerial appointments
• Maintaining the rights of teacher unions to nominate representatives on the council
• Having statutory authority status rather than being an autonomous crown entity.
PPTA’s annual conference runs from October 1 to 3. It is being held at the Brentwood Hotel in Kilbirnie, Wellington and media are more than welcome to attend. It will also be webstreamed live at www.ppta.org.nz
The conference programme and papers are available at: http://ppta.org.nz/index.php/events/annual-conference