Education plans rile unions, Greens, Labour
Wed, 16 May 2012 8:33a.m.
By 3 News online staff
Performance pay for teachers and bigger class sizes have been mooted by the Government this morning in a pre-Budget announcement.
New teachers will also need post-graduate qualifications and new principals will have to take a ‘pre-principalship’ course.
Education Minister Hekia Parata says the teacher appraisal system will be implemented and performance pay is one of the variables in that system.
“We will collaborate in the development of an appraisal system focusing on driving up quality teaching and quality professional leadership. Performance pay is but one of a basket of options to reward and recognise that,” says the Minister.
Ms Parata says the system is not just about rewarding good teachers though.
"It will at the other extreme of the continuum also be able to identify those who are not performing and there are appropriate processes for that."
Class sizes will be bigger with a higher ratio of students to teachers which will free up around $43 million every year for four years.
These “trade offs” means the teacher-to-student ratio at primary school and in the early years of high school will be 1:27.5 and in the last three years of secondary school will be 1:17.3.
The Government funds each school depending on how many students it has – but how many pupils are in each class is left to the schools themselves.
“About 90 percent of schools will either gain, or have a net loss of less than one full-time teacher equivalent,” says Ms Parata.
The ratio changes will be implemented over the next five years.
The announcement today also included the requirement for all new teachers to have a post-graduate qualification and principals will be required to have a ‘pre-principalship’ qualification.
NZ SCHOOLS 'AMONGST BEST IN WORLD’
Ms Parata says almost $512 million of new funding would be spent over the next four years and says it will be the fourth consecutive year they've increased overall spending on education.
“We have an education system that is amongst the best in the world," says Ms Parata. "Four out of five kids are successfully getting the qualifications they need from school and we must celebrate their success and the professionals in the education system who make that possible every day.
“But our education plan is about getting five out of five.”
To achieve this, the Government says it will invest an extra $60 million over the next four years to boost teacher recruitment and training.
“We want to create a flexible, skilled, culturally intelligent and professional workforce through these initiatives to support the development of teachers and principals," she says.
TEACHERS’ UNION: MINISTER’S IN ‘FANTASY WORLD’
The union representing primary school teachers, NZEI, says Ms Parata is “living in a fantasy would” and her plans are contradictory.
Their national president Ian Leckie says it is ironic Ms Parata talks about New Zealand having one of the world’s best education systems yet her policy will undermine that claim.
“It is outrageous that the Government talks about improving education quality, especially for those in the bottom 20 percent, while at the same time adopting policies that will do the exact opposite.
“How does a reduction in the number of teachers in our schools and the creation of bigger class sizes result in better outcomes? It won’t happen. Sadly the Minister is living in a fantasy world.
“What’s most distressing is that this will have the biggest impact on the most vulnerable children - the 20 percent underachieving tail,” he says.
PPTA: ‘PARATA IS SPINNING NUMBERS’
The Post-Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) says the Education Minister is “spinning” numbers in order sell her plans for the education sector.
Angela Robert, PPTA junior vice president says the changes will make vulnerable students even more vulnerable because class sizes are larger.
She says increasing class sizes in years 9 and 10 is incredibly dangerous because those are the years where students are most at risk of disengagement.
“It’s very difficult to unpick those numbers that Ms Parata is spinning but she’s essentially saying it’s going to save $43 million in front-line teachers. That is the impact – classes will get bigger.
“Our most vulnerable students are even more vulnerable because teachers don’t have opportunities to work with kids. Increasing class sizes means teachers will be less able to engage with kids,” she says.
LABOUR: CUTS DRIVEN BY TREASURY
Tha Labour Party says the Government’s plans are being driven by Treasury rather than “evidence-based policy”.
Education spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says the Government’s ‘more for less’ philosophy has been applied to the education sector.
“How very predictable. Who would have thought that when National promised more for less it meant larger class sizes and fewer teachers?
“These cuts are a consequence of skewed priorities and National's failure to properly manage the economy or create growth.”
She says Ms Parata has not thought of the teacher redundancies which Labour estimates would be around 600 positions.
GREENS: STRUGGLING KIDS WILL BE HIT HARDEST
The Green Party says the proposed changes are all about cost-cutting and will have a negative effect for both teachers and students.
Their education spokesperson Catherine Delahunty says already-struggling kids will be hit the hardest because class sizes will be increased.
“This policy has nothing whatsoever to do with improving educational outcomes. It is purely aimed at cutting costs and ultimately teacher numbers,” she says.
Ms Delahunty says the $40 million that will be saved by increase in class sizes and the funding for performance pay would be better spent maintaining smaller class sizes.
She also says recent tertiary education changes will be a barrier to all new teachers getting a post-graduate qualification.
BUSINESS NZ: URGENT NEED FOR APPRAISAL SYSTEM
Business NZ has praised Ms Parata’s announcement saying an appraisal system for teachers is urgently needed to “support, recognise and reward” teaching and professional school leadership.
BusinessNZ chief executive Phil O’Reilly says the new plans will help “engender” confidence in the school sector and make teachers earn their keep.
“Seeing teacher numbers and salary budgets increasing substantially over the last decade without substantial learning improvements indicates a real need for performance measures and better information for families and communities to monitor progress and the effectiveness of our schools,” he says.
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7/06/2012 9:20:17 a.m.
Super Quals do not make a good teacher,understanding helps. Some of the top teachers were Maths Science Graduates,some took many years to complete their degrees and some never did.These people were able to get "down" to the level needed. Where as many with "super" quals were unable pass on their vast knowledge. State teachers must be superior than those in the private sector if they are capable of teaching greater numbers.(15 v 30)Instead of fidling with something that is working,cut the funding of private schools (Mr Key won't like that) and give the teachers back the resources that are continually are being eroded.How many of the 'armchair' experts could last out the day in front of the projected classe sizes? Forget that you had 30-40 in your class at school,think back, you respected your teacher and there was something called discipline
5/06/2012 9:51:35 p.m.
is this parata woman a teacher?I doubt not.It makes you bloody angry when you here of stupid decisions being made from people who have no idea.just a puppet she is-bugger off and do something good with your time
21/05/2012 7:58:17 p.m.
Jim Seaview wrote:
QUOTE: "BusinessNZ chief executive Phil O’Reilly says the new plans will help “engender” confidence in the school sector and make teachers earn their keep.“Seeing teacher numbers and salary budgets increasing substantially over the last decade without substantial learning improvements indicates a real need for performance measures and better information for families and communities to monitor progress and the effectiveness of our schools,” he says. "The current system of paying all teachers the same - regardless of performance differences and then automatically giving annual pay rises based on length of service is a great system - if you are a teacher.Performance based salary adjustments are done in most other employment sectors so what our Minister Parata is doing - is to bring the Teachers in line with what happens elsewhere. Seems a good idea to me, especially as bot Labour and the Greens oppose it.
19/05/2012 2:36:02 p.m.
I would also point out that we know the fact that the curriculum doesn't work for 20% of our kids. Some of the polynesian/maori kids I see really struggle to learn the curriculum. The government should stop fluffing about and use the money to introduce vocational and other practical courses to meet these kids needs. Address the problem.
19/05/2012 2:05:13 p.m.
I can't help thinking that this all started since the government hired Gordon Brown's ex-advisor as our head of treasury and a british education ministry official as head of ed ministry. Next thing we are getting treasury ideas on increasing class sizes, performance pay and the introduction of charter schools. I taught in UK schools for four years and their systems were behind ours. Why do we have to import their failed ideas at the expense of our well-regarded education system? Oh also now, 4 yr degrees, another uk introduction.
17/05/2012 10:12:58 p.m.
Before stating that "research suggests" it would be good if you could integrate some real unbiased statistics into your comments. How can you measure the effect of class sizes vs quality of the teacher, you should of course be promoting smaller class sizes and higher quality teachers, but higher Quality does not mean more highly qualified. Your teaching the curriculum in the most engaging way you can, you are not preparing them for a masters.
17/05/2012 9:15:14 p.m.
@Chris. You continue your practice of Quote Mining. meaning. You reflect comments by government ministers, without providing any information of these so called, International peer research papers. I can and will take pleasure in telling you. Most peer research papers from my research indicates the majority of these papers are ideologically driven rather than research driven. Most are indicating, the most important aspect of education is the quality of teaching, not teachers. quality of teaching can also include factors of, quality of teaching environments. which include, class sizes matter immensely. But you. As long as a government minister says it. It must be true? how does that old saying go?? oh yes. There is one born every day!
17/05/2012 9:13:22 p.m.
Increasing class sizes will have a negative effect on quality education in New Zealand. We have an enviable education system and dedicated teachers. The teacher positions that will be lost first are the skilled professionals such as ICT specialists, and special needs support, part time teachers who support and improve the standards in our schools. It is so shortsighted to cut the bits that are working well to pay for an English or American type system that is proven to have lower OECD standards than our own.
17/05/2012 11:36:16 a.m.
can people stop saying "we'll end up like greece"? we won't, because our net public debt is 10.9%, just above australia on 9.3%. even if you use the household budget analogy (which is silly, because governments Don't Work Like That), it's roughly like servicing a loan of $20k on an income of ~$55k. you can work it out for yourself here: https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2011/02/weodata/index.aspx
there is no way anyone can consider new zealand to be in financial trouble. we can spend more - it's the right that's blinded by ideology
17/05/2012 10:58:32 a.m.
Chris you are totally right, research stays that the quality of the techer counts. But the research also says that feedback is the most important element in the classroom. Thus with more students = less feedback. But beware people those that start the sentence with "research shows"
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