Secondary Teachers Question Rationale For Changes To Relationship Education Guidelines
Secondary teachers are mystified by the reasons given by the Prime Minister for the need to remove the relationship and sexuality education guidelines, says Chris Abercrombie, PPTA Te Wehengarua acting president.
“When asked by
the media early last week about this policy, I said
secondary teachers were not sure what the problem was that
needed fixing. However, the Prime Minister’s comments,
reported on Friday, give us cause for serious
None of the reasons he has given for the need for change are valid.”
Radio NZ reported on Friday
that Mr Luxon said the government wanted a well-defined
(health) curriculum, agreed to by experts that makes sure
that the content is age-appropriate, requires parents to be
consulted and that
gives parents the right to withdraw their children from this education.
“All of these conditions currently apply to the relationship and sexuality education guidelines,” says Chris Abercrombie.
“The guidelines are evidence-based,
coming with a separate pedagogical guide for teachers. The
lead writer is an academic who is an expert in this field of
knowledge, the guidelines are age appropriate
- there are separate guidelines tailored for younger and older students - schools are required by the Education and Training Act to consult with their communities on the delivery of the health curriculum and parents can withdraw their children from all or part of it.
“Not one of the reasons given by the
Prime Minister appears to be valid. This is extremely
disturbing given this change, initiated by NZ First, was
agreed to as part of the National Party’s coalition
agreement with NZ First.
We would have hoped the Prime Minister would have made sure there was a very sound rationale for this change before putting it in the agreement.”
Chris Abercrombie said the apparent lack
of a valid rationale for the change set a very dangerous
precedent. “Who’s to know whether the government will
decide a little further down the track that the guidance for
science curriculum, or the social studies curriculum needs to be removed and replaced – for equally invalid reasons?”
PPTA Te Wehengarua intends to raise its concerns with the Minister of Education, Erica Stanford, at its first meeting with her soon.