Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Q+A -Panel Discussion in response to Parata

Q+A – March 25, 2012

Panel Discussion in response to HEKIA PARATA interview


PAUL Well, I think we all agree that this is an education minister who will not be taken lightly.

Absolutely not, no.

PAUL And neither, as Michael Williams said with David Shearer – was it last week or the week before? Won’t make policy on the hoof.

JOHN TAMIHERE – Former Labour Minister
Yeah, but just going back to the main conversation, which is this huge problem that we have in our education system – it’s a big, big industry. It’s very complex. It’s all over the shop.

PAUL Decile five back to decile one.

JOHN Well, that’s where I target, right.

PAUL The long tail, yep.

JOHN That’s my community. Cos 80% of our schools out west are in that bracket. And so we’ve got the Education Review Office supposed to audit – hopeless in the northern region. So if parents aren’t able, by default the teachers and the principal become the everything for their kids’ education. So, a lot of our parents love their kids, get them to school dressed and fed and everything, but, gosh, they struggle to help them on the campus, and they’re just hoping like hell that it’s working for them. By the time we get to secondary schools out there, we’ve got major problems on kids connecting with the secondary curricula. Now, we’ve got to sort that. So it’s not about an employment agency for teachers any more. It’s about really concentrating on outcomes for the kids.

PAUL Yes, well, what about performance pay? I mean, I think the thing is she’s talking about it, of course – reward the better teachers and so forth. But then you might say that’s dangerous for her. The unions will just take her apart. But then you’ve got David Shearer talking the same kind of stuff.

DEBORAH Yeah, yeah. I mean, I think they’ve just... The unions have just got to stop fighting that battle. You see, Robin Duff keeps insisting that it’s not all about teachers, cos they like to blame the parents. But in Los Angeles, you know, they did this survey over seven years of comparing exam results over maths and English, and it was a controlled result which took allowance for poverty, background, ethnicity, etc, and what it showed, that Hekia Parata is absolutely right – it comes down to teachers. It’s nothing to do with class size. Schools, whether it’s charter, private, whatever – they’re just in the end bricks and mortar, and it all depends on the teacher.

PAUL If the teacher can inspire you, you will go ahead.

DEBORAH We all know about a teacher who inspired us, and we have to identify those teachers, and we don’t have anything external in New Zealand. We lag behind the rest of the world in terms of identifying our best, our excellent teachers and rewarding them with performance pay. They have to move out of the classroom to get better pay.

DR RAYMOND MILLER – Political Analyst
Having taught in decile-one schools in South Auckland, I know there are things you can’t control – child poverty, dysfunctional families or whatever. But within the environs of the school, there are things you can do, and teaching competence is incredibly important, and all the research tends to back this up. She didn’t go too far with the performance pay, but performance pay has to be part of the formula.

PAUL That’s right. I think she feels we have no real criteria to assess performance at the moment.

RAYMOND That’s right, and that is a problem.

DEBORAH No external...

RAYMOND That’s right, and of course the unions keep talking about individual performance pay, but you can, as the universities in New Zealand do, you can actually reward people in groups for their performance. You don’t have to reward individuals.

PAUL And of course, you see, the self-interest of the PPTA again – Shane mentioning that quote from, oh, one of the big wallahs in the PPTA that if you do this with your class sizes, 2000 teachers will be gone.

JOHN You see, there's a whole bunch of tools that are gonna be needed to have this conversation open, and one of them is charter schools, one of them are national standards, one of them is performance. So it’s not one tool, it’s a whole bunch of tools. See, Lange’s Tomorrow’s Schools are now today’s bloody catastrophes. They are a generation out. So we really need to refocus them. Schools used to be the hub of our communities. We’re locked out of them up till 8.30am. We’re locked out of them from 4.30pm. They’ve got huge theatres. They’ve got huge swimming pools. Yet the ratepayer’s gotta double-pay and build other... So we’ve got to get these principals and these schools reconnected to their communities as well, and that’s all part of it.

DEBORAH But, see, people like John Hattie, who’s gone to Melbourne, he was at Auckland University; Russell Bishop at Waikato – these aren’t raving right-wingers. Patrick Walsh, president of the Secondary Principals Association. I mean, they all talk about performance pay. Russell Bishop at Waikato had the Te Kotahitanga – the teacher expectation, especially with Maori pupils. Spectacular success.

PAUL Having said this, though, things with kids don’t... I know in my experience things with kids don’t happen overnight. There are wonderful things... If you go to the schools, there are wonderful things being done in them. There are dedicated teachers.

JOHN That’s the problem with the conversation. When you have a go at education, all the hard-working teachers, all the outstanding principals feel you’re getting at them. And that’s not the issue.

RAYMOND And we do have in New Zealand an extremely good educational system, and we tend to...

PAUL We’re in the top 10 in the world.

RAYMOND Yeah, that’s right.

DEBORAH Look at the youth unemployment rate at the moment.

RAYMOND Yeah, I know there are problems, but nevertheless there are lots of positives. We do know that educational performance is absolutely critical to social mobility and to economic prosperity, and I’m sure that’s why Treasury has weighed in on this particular debate.

JOHN Yeah, but it’s not working if you’re brown, and...

PAUL I’ll leave it there. Can I just leave it there? Strong point.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Erebus Memorial In Parnell

Social media can be a wonderful tool for bringing people together in a common cause. It can also be a seedbed and spreader of mis-information on a community-wide scale. To which category do the protests against the siting of an Erebus memorial (to the 257 New Zealanders who died in that tragedy) in a secluded corner of a Parnell park happen to belong? IMO, it is clearly the latter, and the reasons for thinking so are explained below... More>>


Agriculture: Government To Phase Out Live Exports By Sea

The Government has announced that the export of livestock by sea will cease following a transition period of up to two years, said Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. “At the heart of our decision is upholding New Zealand’s reputation for high ... More>>


Norman Gemmell: New Zealand’s New Housing Policy Is Really Just A New Tax Package — And It’s A Shambles

Norman Gemmell , Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington Economists like to talk about “optimal policy instruments” — essentially, policies that achieve their objectives more effectively or efficiently than the alternatives, and ... More>>

Climate Change: Emissions Report Shows Urgent Action Needed

Every part of Government will need to take urgent action to bring down emissions, the Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw said today in response to the recent rise in New Zealand’s greenhouse emissions. The latest annual inventory of New ... More>>


Claire Breen: ACC’s Policy Of Not Covering Birth Injuries Is One More Sign The System Is Overdue For Reform

Claire Breen , University of Waikato Recent media coverage of women not being able to get treatment for birth injuries highlights yet another example of gender bias in healthcare in New Zealand. More>>

Police: Police Accept Findings Of IPCA Report Into Photographs Taken At Checkpoint

Police accept the findings of a report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) relating to photographs taken at a checkpoint in Northland. On November 16, 2019, Police set up a checkpoint down the road from a fight night event in Ruakaka ... More>>


Health: Drug-Testing Law To Be Made Permanent

Interim legislation that is already proving to keep people safer from drugs will be made permanent, Health Minister Andrew Little says. More>>




InfoPages News Channels