When the unions, Labour and militant principals complain…

…something must be going in the right direction.

A Northland principal says legislation passed this week is likely to stop teachers from airing concerns about education policy.

The Education Amendment Bill, which replaced the Teachers’ Council with a new body called Educanz, passed its third reading in the House .

President of the Tai Tokerau Principals’ Association Pat Newman said the code of conduct in the bill could prevent teachers from criticising the ministry.

He said that posed an ethical problem.

“Because as teachers, whether the Minister likes it or not, we have a code of ethics that says we have a responsibility to stand up for the needs of our children.

“And that straight away runs contrary to the code of conduct that says you can have all these concerns, but don’t say them in public.”

He said under the new act, the Minister of Education will appoint all the members of Educanz – making teachers the only professionals who cannot elect their own national disciplinary body.

Interesting to see that Red Radio (RNZ) have dusted off Pat Newman as a “Northland principal”, but forget to disclose his long history of NZEI militancy, the fact he ran for the Labour Party in Whangarei, and has essentially been a media go-to guy to get an anti-Government quote.

He even is on record for defending a Northland pedo teacher. ?Don’t ask which, they seem to have more than their share up there.

This time he’s whining that Educanz, the organisation that is replacing the clearly dysfunctional Teachers?Council, doesn’t have any guaranteed teacher positions on it.

Now, I wonder why that would be? ?Could it be due to decades of ineffective, secretive and put-the-child-last decision making from the Teachers Council that has led to its replacement?

But what frustrates me more is that certain people, like me for example, can’t get a mention in the media without having all our imagined biases and associations repeated ad infinitum, yet the main stream media are happy to use go-to-quote-guy people like Pat to give things the air of independence.

As far as I’m concerned, whenever union people complain, we’re making progress.

As for not being able to criticise the Ministry of Education, is Pat suggesting that the teachers unions are not going to continue as they have acted in the past? ?Educanz, as the Teachers Council before it have to deal with thieves, violence, drug takers, drug dealers, fraudsters and kiddie fiddlers. ?I’m not entirely sure how?these people not being able to criticise the Ministry is going to be a erosion?of their rights.

UPDATE: ?A reader ha emailed to point out that neither RNZ nor Pat Newman have disclosed that he has a conflict of interest with this article in that he is actually a member of the Teachers Council and has been for years