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Plan to establish elite teachers ignores biggest hurdles

New plan to establish elite teachers ignores biggest hurdle to student success

Creating a new elite group of “change principals” and “expert teachers” misses the biggest reason children do not succeed at school - New Zealand's high rate of child poverty and deprivation.

NZEI Te Riu Roa President Judith Nowotarski says the Prime Minister’s announcement of $395 million for new principal and teacher roles and allowances does not address the key
underlying causes of student underachievement - inequity and poverty.

Judith Nowotarski says the sector should have been consulted on the best way to use the new funding to support student learning.

"For example, we would like to see better support for students with special needs, a reversal of cuts to early childhood education, better professional development for teachers and school support staff, and extra assistance for students struggling with literacy and numeracy.

“NZEI has been working with the Ministry of Education for a long time to develop a career pathway that keeps expert teachers in the classroom and welcomes recognition of the importance of quality teaching and leadership.”

However, Mrs Nowotarski says members are concerned that aspects of the package -such as parachuting highly paid change managers into struggling schools - had not worked overseas and could increase competition rather than collaboration.

“Creating sustainable change requires genuine collaboration with teachers. With "change principals" the government is again imposing a failed overseas experiment and putting ideology ahead of what will really work for children’s education.”


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