Hekia Parata saying good things about teachers? It must be approaching an election year.
Forgive my cynicism, but after years of being told by Ms Parata that teachers are failing, need reforming, need watching and monitoring more, to suddenly have her tell us that “Celebrating excellence in education is an important part of the Government’s commitment,” is a bit rich.
Ms Parata, you say you are committed as a government to “… raising the status of the teaching profession, and publicly acknowledging the critical contribution the profession makes to lifting overall student achievement…” So show me what in the past two (five, however many) years you have done to demonstrate that.
“There is so much excellent teaching and learning going on in New Zealand, and the festivals will be an opportunity to showcase this,” you say.
Well, I am racking my brain to remember all this glowingly positive stuff you and the government has said about us, but forgive me if I am struggling.
As another observer noted: “What, we are suddenly fabulous…we the failing, need performance pay to make us work, nasty, mean unionised teachers who don’t even need to be trained or qualified??” Indeed.
I’ll tell you what we do remember…
We remember you rapping us over the knuckles from mispronouncing students’ names – apparently a key part in our failure as educators.
We are starkly aware of you being held accountable for acting unlawfully when trying to close Salisbury school for special needs girls.
Hmm, what else … didn’t you make a right royal cock-up when you tried to get rid of loads of technology teachers (thereby grossly increasing class sizes) and have to back down?
We remember your myriad press releases telling us 20% of children fail at our hands, while you refuse to acknowledge that the huge majority of those leaving without NCEA2 in maths and English are actually our poorest children and that there just might be a link there.
We recall you slowly privatising the school system at public cost and doing it right under people’s noses.
I daren’t even mention Christchurch… We remember that all too well.
But we sure are having trouble recalling all that celebrating of us you reckon you’ve done.
Oh wait… reading on, the clouds clear and it all starts to make a little more sense: Parata said “Hosting the international summit, holding the festivals, introducing the excellence awards, and establishing the new professional body EDUCANZ, are all part of acknowledging the profession, raising its status, and recognising the critical contribution that quality education achievement makes to the future prosperity of New Zealand.
Oh, so you undermined us for years but now want us to perform like trained monkeys because you have an international summit coming up? Ooookay.
And you slip in there that EDUCANZ, the replacement for the Teachers Council. is part of this celebration. Funny that, because all the teachers I have spoken to are appalled that the new body is to be run by people appointed by you and you alone, with not one representative on there that we have chose to speak for us. Despite us having to pay for it. Yeah that move sure told us you trust us and treat us with respect..
Look, let’s get real. There is no point you coming out, after all you have done, to make one speech where you insist you celebrate teachers.
Talk is cheap. You need to walk that walk.