Teachers and their unions don’t like the new Education Council. Good

When it comes to professional disciplinary bodies, there is always at least the perception of conflict when the profession sits in judgement of their own. ?Lawyers, police, journalists, real estate agents – they all go to their peers to be judged.

The government is taking a sensible step away from this with teachers, and it’s fair to say it’s ruffled some feathers.

Groups representing primary principals and secondary teachers are planning to ignore this week’s call for nominations to the council because they are angry they are losing the right to elect any of the organisation’s members – instead the Education Minister will appoint them all.

The primary teachers’ union is also unhappy, but it will challenge the Government to choose people who represent teachers by running its own nomination process.

The Education Council is replacing the Teachers Council and will be a statutory body rather than an autonomous Crown entity, a change that places it further from government influence.

However, all the new organisation’s nine members will be selected by the Education Minister from a pool of nominees that anyone can put forward.

To be clear – anyone can be nominated. ?It doesn’t actually freeze teachers, principals their union mates or any strong advocate out from the process. ?

That has angered many teachers and principals, who elect four of the current council’s 11 members, while teacher unions the NZEI and PPTA nominate two others. Teachers will continue to pay for the council through their registration fees.

PPTA president Angela Roberts said its members had made it clear the new organisation was unacceptable and the union was proposing that they would not participate.

This is the adult version of holding your breath until you pass out.

“We’re just going out to members now to ballot them about whether or not they’re even going to bother putting up nominations or accepting nominations to get on the new council, because it doesn’t matter how wise, or ethical, or intelligent the individual members of this council are, they are going to have to implement fundamentally flawed legislation,” she said.

Ms Roberts said the new council should be focused on registering and disciplining teachers, and the PPTA was not happy that it would develop a code of conduct for teachers and audit 10 percent of teachers’ appraisals.

She said people selected by the minister would not be accountable to teachers.

Exactly.

They are accountable to the public instead. ?A change that has been long coming, judging by the never ending line of drug taking, drug dealing, fraudulent, stealing, illness faking, kid grooming, statutory raping and kiddy fiddling teachers.

Principals Federation president Denise Torrey said his group would not be nominating anyone and it would not support anyone who put their name forward.

“Our members think that this is a very undemocratic piece of legislation so they are extremely worried about it. This body was one that should be focusing on their core business of registration. We’re going to be paying for something that we have no control over.”

Anyone can be nominated, but it’s undemocratic.

“This is about controlling the profession and to raise the status of our profession we need to have some control of it ourselves. The Medical Council, the Nurses Council, the Veterinary Council, yes they have independent members, but they are able to nominate their own representatives to sit on those councils so we just believe this is anti-teacher.”

And the PPTA, NZEI and Principals Association can nominate theirs.

Let’s be clear here – this is a deliberate move to have no educationalists on the new Education Council all together, so they can continue to bleat on about how it is unfair and unrepresentative.

Please take note they are now choosing not to be involved. ?I suspect that’s a refrain we’ll have to come back to time and time again.

 

– John Gerritsen, RNZ

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