Try walking the walk, Hekia



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…

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clear conscience bad memoryWe remember you rapping us over the knuckles from mispronouncing students’ names – apparently a key part in our failure as educators.

You said we were falling behind other international systems despite the fact we are one of the best performing systems in the world.

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.


  1. In a post about teachers and education, realising the importance of contributing positively and maintaining a very good record of not descending into garbage language which characterises many blog sites, I feel I have to add my bit.

    When I saw Ms Parata in the House recently on some insane (for her) charm offensive about the excellence of our teachers, schools and education system, I exclaimed words like, “You dirty, filthy, slimy, weaselly bitch.”

    As 2014 progresses the image she wants in people’s minds is that she has rescued a hopelessly failing, under-standard system and turned it into an amazing, high performing “world class” education system.

    In questioning the rationality in my response to the attitude and behaviour of the Minister I think about not just her rebirth as the great admirer of teachers but all of her work. I keep getting back to how it has come to be, that in this age, in a country like ours the head person of education is so cretinous.

  2. As a strategy maybe teachers can walk away from educanz and set up their own professional body (if the law allows it). That way teachers and parents and other educational interest groups can be represented. Maybe you can do it through the university’s Dept of Ed.

    It’s so important not to let democractic organisations vanish; and be replaced by organsitations run by political appointees. It just becomes more largesse for the goverment to hand out to their favoured lap dogs… while National makes benefits tougher and tougher to keep, they increase their handouts to the ruling class by making more “jobs for the boys”. And these appointees will always do the governments bidding because their income depends on it (and the government’s bidding in the education sector is pretty foul).

    • Interestingly, I remember when the PPTA was NOT a union – it was an Association (hence the final ‘A’) – a professional body for secondary teachers. I remember when we were forced by Government legislation to decide whether we became a Union or not. (They would not negotiate with us if we did not, I think..) It is an irony that we are now lambasted for being a filthy, nasty union.

      I think PPTA should consider rejecting the EDUCANZ proposition outright. I am still a PPTA member, and am happy to remain so. I already resent what I have to pay for the notional good that the Teachers’ Council fails to do, and will have no loyalty to EDUCANZ at all.

      • >>I think PPTA should consider rejecting the EDUCANZ proposition outright.

        The teachers should just refuse to pay registration to EDUCANZ.

  3. ( I may be repeating myself here . )

    I heard a theory that the government launched into parents and students of Post Quake Ch Ch particularly because there was one unfortunate and surprising consequence of those awful earthquakes for jonky’s band of minions . It United parents who gathered at schools and socialized as never before . The intellectual , rubbing shoulders with the beastly working class only to discover they had a unified voice against Big Bubba Brownlee and Stasi-esque shit bags like parata the piranha .

    Put simply , they just reached into the mix and gave it a good stirring to keep people divided . I had first hand experience of that and I’d say it was a valid theory indeed for no other reason than it makes more sense than anything else I’ve heard coming from the ministry .

    I see on tha tee vee that jonky is the preferred prime minister at 40 % while Cunliffe is at 10% and yet virtually everybody I talk to loaths jonky’s guts .
    In the immortal words of the Dalai Lama … WTF ?
    Could it be that the Tee Vee lies to us ?

  4. The transparency with which this PR exercise is being conducted will fool, as the old saw goes, some of the people. It is most unlikely anyone in Christchurch will get fooled again. I await the coming by-election with interest. I don’t expect Labour or National to be warmly regarded by electors. The rage felt by all of us will not be lulled away by the usual comfortable falsehoods.

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