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Liberty Belle

Liberty Belle
Deborah Coddington's Liberty Belle

If ever we needed conclusive proof that the teacher union bosses are concerned more about protecting their own patch than protecting the education and well-being of students, we certainly found it in today's newspaper. "More secrecy about teachers' misconduct" the Dominion Post'sheadline reads. After complaints from the union bosses about the publication of so-called "salacious and graphic" material on the Teachers' Council website, material which explained why teachers had been refused registration, the Teachers' Council's chairwoman Joanna Beresford has agreed to publish only brief summaries. Beresford, a former teacher union boss herself (NZEI), said she hoped that by only providing "summaries" she would "strike the right balance between being transparent and open, and putting critics' minds at ease".

Too bad about putting parents' minds at ease - that doesn't seem to count. Information previously published had covered teachers' sexual relationships with pupils, violence, criminal convictions and "other inappropriate behaviour". The Post Primary Teachers Association president Debbie Te Whaiti said publication of details of teachers' offences was harming the status of teaching and was "irrelevant to the public". That's a totally spurious argument. If the PPTA was consistent, it would lobby for law changes which would grant blanket name suppression for every single person convicted of an offence, on the grounds that publishing their names and details of behaviour was harming the status of the human race.

Parents are, once again, being treated like idiots. They are not trusted with information so they can make up their own minds about those whom they must trust with their children. No wonder there's such a huge trend towards home education - a trend which saves the taxpayers' thousands of dollars but which, under the current funding system, discriminates unfairly against parents who choose to educate their children at home.

One of the biggest obstacles to raising education standards in this country is the power, wealth and socialist ideology of the teacher union bosses. They are the ones who give the teaching profession a bad name - not the Teachers' Council website. I've said it before and I'll say it again: if we really want to do something positive for education in this country, we need a Minister for Education, not a Minister for Teacher Unions. Don't hold your breath.

Yours in liberty,

Deborah Coddington.


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