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What Did the Teachers' Union Teach Our Kids?

What Did the Teachers' Union Teach Our Kids?

The rich and powerful secondary teachers' union must take some responsibility for the latest shameful suspension figures, ACT Education Spokesman Deborah Coddington said today.

"The annual Stand Down and Suspension Report is atrocious. Stand Downs haven't gone down. Suspensions haven't gone down. In high-risk groups - students at low decile schools, and Maori children - they have gone up. And when kids get suspended, twenty percent less of them manage to get back to school - so the drop-out rate is increasing.

"But look back at the 2002 school year: disruption, strikes, and teachers behaving badly.

"You have to ask why students - already turned off and bored in class - bothered behaving in school at all when some unionist teachers were more focussed on strike action than the classroom. The PPTA held students and the Government to ransom for a pay rise - what sort of lesson was that?

"The PPTA's annual budget is around $11 million. Perhaps it's time parents held the union financially accountable for the academic failure of their children.

"Of course, the union should not accept all of the blame. Parental responsibility is a naughty phrase under this Labour Government, with its feel-good, no-questions-asked, self-esteem is paramount, whanau knows best, buddy system. And there is absolutely no decent mentoring programme in place for high-risk students - just a targeted programme to `reduce suspensions' which is clearly a crock.

"These figures demonstrate the fundamental point that the most vulnerable students have been ill-served by the state's monopoly on education.

"Education Minister Trevor Mallard slipped the Report onto the Ministry of Education website at 4pm on Friday - the last day of a week of urgency in Parliament, and while US troops closed in on Baghdad. The cynicism in the gesture is appalling. These figures should be read by every New Zealand parent who wants to evaluate the Education Minister's performance. That's why I've made sure there is a link to the Report on the very popular ACT website, at ( http://www.act.org.nz/mallard) ," Miss Coddington said.

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