Parata announces backdown on teacher cuts
Thu, 07 Jun 2012 2:08p.m.
By 3 News online staff
Education Minister Hekia Parata has announced a complete backdown on planned teacher cuts.
At a press conference this afternoon Ms Parata announced the Government has decided there will be no change to pupil/teacher ratios.
“We had thought that some modest changes to teacher/student funding ratios would help us fund this investment,” says Ms Parata. “…but over the past week, it's become apparent these minor adjustments have caused a disproportionate amount of anxiety.”
The planned changes, which would have seen larger class sizes in some schools and the loss of some teaching positions, were met by fierce criticism from teachers’ unions and education groups.
Unions said more than 2000 schools would lose staff if the Government went ahead with the plans.
They wanted to meet with Ms Parata earlier this week to discuss the policy, but she refused.
The changes were supposed to save the Government around $174 million over four years, of which $60 million was going to be re-invested in the education sector.
Ms Parata’s decision to backdown on larger class sizes means that investment is no longer possible, and there will be a net shortfall of $114 million over the four-year Budget forecast period.
She says she will be meeting with groups from the education sector in coming weeks.
Opposition parties are pleased with the Government's decision to reverse its class size policy but are making the most of the opportunity to criticise Ms Parata for her intitial stance.
Labour leader David Shearer says it's a humiliating policy reversal.
"It's great the minister has finally seen some sense but it's still mind boggling that National could have ever thought increasing class sizes was a good idea," he says.
"It now has zero credibility on education, parents and teachers will be waiting for the next round of cuts."
NZ First also thinks there will be cuts somewhere else to save the money Ms Parata wants for teacher development.
"The Government hasn't finished with its slash and burn tactics just because they've backed down on their stupendously stupid idea of bigger class sizes," says NZ First education spokeswoman Tracey Martin.
The Greens say Prime Minister John Key must take responsibility for the backdown and Ms Parata should be stood down.
Teacher unions, fierce opponents of the policy, say they're delighted.
They're also relieved.
"We sincerely hope we can put this behind us and ask the minister to work collaboratively with the sector," says primary teachers’ union president Ian Leckie.
Watch political reporter Patrick Gower's report.
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8/06/2012 7:29:12 a.m.
Why are teachers so against reviews and the trimming of fat where needed? I am damn sure there are teachers out there that are next to useless and these are the ones that need thinning out. I am also sure that there is a huge waste of money that could be rained in. What I cannot get to grips with is why was it manual classes taking the cuts? What about some of the other classes/subjects?
Note for National Party/NZ Government: deregister the teachers union. Rob did it to the Wellington Boiler makers.
For a group of public sector gougers, who get more vacation time per year than the rest of use, they still bleat and moan at how hard they work. All I can say to these people: if the bath is too hot, get out. Come and work in the real world!
8/06/2012 5:12:56 a.m.
Alison C wrote:
Resign,along with the rest of your foolish party.
8/06/2012 1:52:17 a.m.
Completely agree Mike. Everybody else is subject to performance reviews, so why not teachers. Not sure I agree with larger classes, but the rest of the cuts? Go for it! And to all those screaming about a little public money going to private schools, you should be thankfull for private schools. Because there are people willing to 'shell out' for their kids schooling it means YOU don't have to, and it saves tax payer money. Remember that theyre effectively paying twice.
7/06/2012 11:45:32 p.m.
EPIC FAIL!!! Time for her to stand down! Can't do her job...
7/06/2012 10:34:16 p.m.
Jeeeez, you just can't please some people. "Change it change it" they scream. Then they listen to the country and change their mind, and they call 'idiots, dumb.' There's no winning against people like that.
I didn't see a problem with the cuts. Everyone has to pull together - times are tough. My (private) company has had cutbacks too that has directly affected me. Why are teachers immune? And heaven forbid they are judged on their performance!!
Still the correct decision to change though as the public outcry was so large.
7/06/2012 9:17:27 p.m.
Thank God for that,What makes her change her mind, this shouldn't have happen on the first place any way. Now it make's them look stupid, But I wonder what's next on their agenda. They should change there mind on everything that the New Zealander people are not happy with it, not just Teachers. We will just have to wait and see and there's still alot to protest about is not going to end there.
7/06/2012 9:15:51 p.m.
Deeply Worried wrote:
I think people have been too forgiving about the whole "disaster". How a government that campaigned on 'building a brighter future' can even entertain this idea in the first place is deeply concerning. It reveals National's 'hidden' agenda and double standard which I think runs directly opposite to what ordinary, decent NZers believe. I am proud of the old fashioned values (less prevalent now I think) where NZers actually cared about each other and the government had it's priorities in the health, education and housing conditions of all NZer's. Now this move to cut funds to such a cornerstone component of our society and the key producer of tomorrow's leaders and innovators highlights their underlying user-pays mentality. Had there not been the kind of public uprising we had seen schools would have been forced to charge parents for technology lessons and other co-curricular activities forcing more financial pressure on low and middle class families meanwhile funding is increased to private schools which should be seeing less government money over time and not more. Here was Hekia's real "trade off" take money and opportunity from the poor and serve it up to the rich. It really does reek of duplicity and looking after thei own at the expense of lower and middle NZ and I am deeply concerned at what other areas this individualistic and 'survival of the fittest' philosophy will lead the government to slash.
7/06/2012 9:08:27 p.m.
Once again teachers overule. They have become a very powerful unit.
When you look at what they have done over the years is it any wonder we have the problems we now face with out of control kids.
7/06/2012 9:01:34 p.m.
Obviously Hekia Parata is not the puppet master, but I'd like to know what it takes to get a person to stand in the line of fire the way she is & say "I am accountable". We are not out of the woods by any means they've backed down on this, but the fact that they had the audacity to attack education so blatantly leads me to wonder where and when will they hit next.
7/06/2012 9:01:13 p.m.
Ok. Now make the savings, that have to be made somewhere in NZ, by scrapping the Dole. Paying people money to do nothing, is crazy, and just wrong + bring back the 'death penalty' for murderers and child molesters.
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