20 March 2014
Paid union meetings called over EDUCANZ attack on profession
PPTA members will be holding paid union meetings (PUMs) next month as preparation for making submissions on legislation that attacks the teaching profession.
The Education Amendment Bill (No 2), which the government clearly intends to push through before the election, establishes a new professional body for teachers - the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand (EDUCANZ).
EDUCANZ, which is set to replace the current New Zealand Teachers Council (NZTC), purports to be about “raising the status of the profession” but the reality is very different, PPTA president Angela Roberts says.
“It’s clear from the bill that the intention isn’t so much to ‘raise the status of teaching’ as to remove professional autonomy and bring teachers firmly under the control of politicians,” she said.
The bill sets out an extensive new role for EDUCANZ including developing new sets of standards (which the body’s transition board chair John Morris has recently signaled he would prefer linked to performance pay) and replacing the NZTC code of ethics with its own code of conduct. It will also be made up entirely of appointments by the minister.
“There will be no elected or union positions and no guarantee there will be any practicing teachers or principals on the council. The board will be accountable only to the government of the day, not to the profession,” Roberts said.
The minister of education’s obvious intention to push the legislation through before the election was presumably in the hope that no one would look too closely at the proposed changes, Roberts said.
At PPTA’s 2013 annual conference members voted that PUMs be called if the legislation establishing the replacement for the teachers council failed to address their concerns.
“Submissions are due by 30 April – hence the urgency,” she said.