Oh hello, select committee … sorry to interrupt your tea and bickies, but I have something on my mind that I really need to talk to you about.
You see, word on the street is that you are planning to rejig the Teachers Council into a 21st century thing of beauty called EDUCANZ. (Nice acronym, by the way – I like how you squeezed Aotearoa in there so it would say canz at the end – swish.)
Anyway, yes, this fabulous new Teachers Council. Great, I thought, no more of that nasty 20th century rubbish that largely worked just fine and only needed some tightening up around the edges – no, out with the old and in with the super modern and fabulous 21st century education doohicker. Sounds grand. This could be the next big thing!
But before I went to Stationery Warehouse and celebrated by spending my own money on classroom supplies, I did what any good teacher does, and checked out some of those dainty wee things that make all the difference … what are they called again? Facts. Yes, that’s them.
What did The Great Leader say when she read out the Education Amendment Bill 2?
“The Government recognises the contribution high-quality teaching makes to raising student achievement.”
Well this sounds good – because that’s what we all want, isn’t it? Well trained, high-quality teachers. So far so good – and how reassuring to know myself and Mme P are on the same page.
Just one little query, though… This bit about untrained teachers.
The new legislation allows someone “with specialist skills but not a teaching qualification” to teach for three years at a time without the employer even having to prove that they have tried to fill the position with a trained and qualified teacher.
Wait! Currently a person is given Limited Authority to Teach (LAT) only where a registered teacher can’t be found for the specific role. But this Bill will allow schools to hire an LAT without even looking for a qualified teacher with the necessary skills?
I’m confused, I thought Our Great Leader said she recognised the value in high-quality teaching? But now you’re saying schools don’t have to look for a trained teacher first.
Maybe I missed something there, around what you consider to be high-quality.
Esteemed Leader has made a huge deal about safety for our tamariki, and I see the new legislation will be changing the procedures for dealing with complaints. I’m not at all sure why you needed a whole new Council for that, though. Couldn’t procedures be made more rigorous without all that carry on – after all, it’s not that hard? But given the huge scale of the problem – under 60 out of over 100,000 teachers – maybe you felt marshall law was the only way?
Just to be clear on this safety thing, though – teachers with a criminal conviction are already banned from teaching under the current law, right?
So, one question … if it’s all about safety, how come someone with criminal convictions will be able to be hired under a Limited Authority to Teach?
Let me get this right: if an LAT ‘teacher’ works, say, at a charter school, they cannot be checked upon under the Official Information Act or in many cases by the Ombudsman, either. And all that despite the fact they can have criminal convictions.
I’m confused? Are you concerned about safety or not?
Profession Profession Profession
Never fear, I thought, because all of these things will be governed by our professional body, and so if they are not in the best interests of students or don’t make sense, we can have them reconsidered. After all, the Boss herself said:
“Teaching needs a strong professional body that provides leadership to, and is owned by, the profession”
“Yes, we do! We do!” cried the teachers, “We already have one, in fact! It’s called the Teachers Council. You might have heard of it? You’re about to close it down and replace it with EDUCANZ.”
You see, what worries me and a few other is that the Education Amendment Bill 2 states that on EDUCANZ teachers will have not one single representative voted for or otherwise chosen by them. None. Zip diddly doodah.
And, I feel rude asking, but is it true that the Minister gets to choose every single member of the new Council? And that there is no minimum number of teachers she must choose, so she could just not have any at all on there?
Because, with all that in mind, I am very curious just how EDUCANZ can be owned by the profession?
In fact, this very question left me in quite a spin for quite some time until I had a Eureka moment: I realised that what Mme P meant was that teachers will have to pay for EDUCANZ.
Ahhhh…. I see. We pay for it but we get no say in it.
I have to say, it sounds more 14th than 21st century , and not-quite-state-of-the-art when it comes to democratic representation.
So, please forgive my boldness, but if anyone out there agrees, you might want to make a submission on the Education Amendment Bill 2 by clicking right here. It might just be the best-spent minute of your day.