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.

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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.

Safety First

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.




  1. Brilliant! Totally agree. The new-look teachers council will be just another ministerial tool for battering teachers and try to bring the uppity buggers into line. Anybody who cares about education should fight this long and hard.

  2. Thank you Dianne. I totally agree that we are being excluded from our profession by a Minister whose sole educational background is as a member of a BoT. Clearly she believes that teachers need ruling with a rod of iron. Sadly as a member of PPTA I imagine that the response of my Union will be to applaud the Minister for her bold and clinical forward thinking. While they are at it the union bosses will probably agree to a nice lunch date with Ms Piranha where they can agree to roll over and play dead at the next contract negotiations – it seems to be the best we have been able to do in the last 10 years. As an example – our “strategic” show of strength in our last negotiations was to ban meetings (at the start of a calendar year). A strategy that served to produce unnecssary friction between colleagues while having zero impact on the Ministry. It was no surprise when I learned that it was ignored by many schools in my area. Great strategy that!
    By the way – at the same time we were implementing a revised curriculum, National Stds, aligned Achievement Stds (NCEA), and implementing additional MoE returns. All of which were reliant on teacher cooperation. All of which involved additional teacher workload. Hmmmmm – the meetings ban was a blindingly great way to show the MoE that the PPTA is as wet and limp as a used tissue in flu’ season.
    Can I join NZEI as a secondary teacher and where do I sign up?
    PS – Love the alternate moniker for this new group . . . EFUCANZ! Kinda has a ring to it . . . and maybe a nice little piece of onomatopoeia too!

  3. Oi! When you say that you expect your union, PPTA, to applaud this rubbish can we assume that you are a MEMBER of PPTA? If you are, you will have attended a recent PUM that focused largely on the deficiencies of this draconian proposal, outlined the steps being taken to fight it and asked you to make a submission to the select committee, as an individual, branch or member of some other group. Did you do that? I did, and so did many of my fellow branch members.

    Don’t knock your union if you don’t attend union events, pat attention to Union policy or actually DO anything within your union to promote your views. Oh, I forgot – you do do something: you mouth-off on sites like this without checking your facts.

  4. Who selects the nominees for the minister’s approval? How does the selection process actually run?

    And, once upon a time, long long ago, there were teachers who had not come through traditional teacher training. They were usually found in the ‘trades’ areas – wood work, metal work, even homecraft and typing. They most definitely knew their material, and had a rough empathy for younger people who were not academically inclined, yet were of a practical bent.

    Hekia Parata is less than satisfactory in her role – and behind her are people at the ministry. The ones who can carry policy threads across time and election cycles. A few official information enquiries could be useful, perhaps. All is definitely not well there.

    (Sick and weakly ministries and departments seem to be a hallmark of this government. Thoroughly supine.)

  5. Hi Suz R
    Yes – I am, and have been a member for 20+ years. I believe in unions and unionism – however MY union is in a very sad state . . . let me spell this out for you
    – ineffective representation for the past decade (please prove me wrong here by providing evidence of how the profession has grown in stature in the last 10 years)
    – ill-directed action in the past 2 contractual rounds (the latest action served to pit teacher against teacher as we tried to begin an academic year without meetings, or camps – – that had been organised the year before, or extra-curricular events eg school productions that had the rights to perform sorted the year before . . . it was STUPID in the extreme and that is why I heard of at least 4 local schools IGNORING THE BAN . . . do you believe this is great industrial action Suz R . . . or aren’t you allowed an opinion . . . ?
    – exceedingly weak leadership (having exec members tell us in branch meetings that we had better agree to MoE terms or we will lose our existing conditions isn’t evidence of strong leadership in my books . . . there hasn’t been a message of soldarity or strength in years from the leadership of this union)
    – lack of insightful or visionary leadership (the PMs announcement of “investment in education” . . . ie prepping us for performance pay was greeted with a “thumbs up” by the PPTA . . . even David Farrar noted this: . . . sorry but if the leadership of the union can’t smell a neoliberal performance based pay rat from 30 paces then they need to stand down.
    Unfortunately too many members of the PPTA believe that their adversary is the SLT/school management. Newsflash! The Principal isn’t your employer. The DP/AP isn’t your employer. The Ministry of Education is the one yoy should direct your attention towards. Industrial action should inconvenience the Ministry – not your colleagues!
    Sorry Suz R. I am not a robot. I am not a blind devotee. I am a rational individual who has seen the rot in the PPTA and I am not alone.

  6. PS – Suz R
    Last year I attended a local protest in support of the ECE sector and in protest against GERM . . . NZEI banners abounded and many local branches were present . . . sadly there was NO representation from PPTA. NONE . . . I think it was probably because it was holidays . . . sad story – but true. When I challenged the local exec member my recollection is that he advised me that the PPTA had put out a press release to the local rag . . . awesome leadership and support for our fellow teachers, don’t you agree?

  7. OK mate, so what have you done about your concerns? A union is a collective organisation – the policy makers are classroom teachers like you and me. What’s the difference (from you, anyway)? They muck in and actually do something.

    When did you last attend the yearly National Conference, where all big decisions are made? It’s open to all members and anyone active at regional level is likely to be funded by their region and given representative status.

    Have you ever offered yourself for any kind of service? I’ve been active at branch, regional and national level for more than 20 years and in that time I’ve taken a lot of shit from people like you who like to snipe but aren’t ready to do the work. I remember more than one person demanding to know what they paid me for, and not really hearing the answer – that I wasn’t being paid, that a union relies on voluntary effort from its members.

    Do you understand that ALL of your policy examples were decisions made by the wider membership (with some, like the extra-curricular and meetings bans, being strongly promoted and supported by the wider membership but only actioned because of that – after all, the regional people and exec know how problematic and divisive they tend to be).

    Oh, and I don’t see any answer to my questions about attending the recent PUM and actually making a submission.

    You don’t have to agree with every decision made within PPTA. You can take some ownership of those decisions, though.

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