Teachers want ‘crisis’ resolved – then exacerbate it with their intransigence

The political “kindness and empathy” which the  Ardern coalition government  has  patented as  its trademark  doesn’t  seem to be  making  much headway  with the  teachers’ union.  Which is  ironic  in  many  ways.

Latest  reports say  primary  and intermediate teachers and  principals  have  “overwhelmingly”  rejected  the government’s  latest  pay offer , on the grounds, it’s said, it will not fix  the industry’s  staffing “crisis”.

About 30,000 New Zealand Educational Institute Te Riu Roa (NZIE) union members voted on what was the third round of offers, in a secret online ballot.  NZIE president Lynda Stuart said the message from members was that the offers did not do enough to fix the crisis in teacher recruitment and retention.

“The big concern for members was that the offers had nothing that would give teachers more time to teach or principals time to lead.” Continue reading “Teachers want ‘crisis’ resolved – then exacerbate it with their intransigence”

Just a trivial misunderstanding – history students’ ignorance won’t be penalised by NZQA

Sorry – but did we hear that correctly?

Sadly, we did.  According to an RNZ item in the midday news, students won’t be penalised for not knowing the meaning of “trivial” when they bumped into the word – apparently for the first time – in a history exam.

The chair of the History Teachers Association, a bloke by name of Graeme Ball, was quoted as saying he welcomed this news from the NZQA..

But perhaps we should not be too surprised.  The first objective on the list of his association’s aims is to “promote and encourage the teaching of history”. 

The teaching of the English-language component of the three R’s obviously is somebody else’s problem. Continue reading “Just a trivial misunderstanding – history students’ ignorance won’t be penalised by NZQA”

After expelling the charter schools, Hipkins is pressed to do better on teachers’ pay

So who  do you feel  sorry for:  primary school  teachers  who  say they are  undervalued, underpaid  and  overworked?

Or Education Minister  Chris Hipkins, who is  “disappointed”  teachers are  going  on  strike, despite the government’s “strong new offer”.

Political aficionados might find some irony  in the  whole  affair. Teachers   were   desperate  for  the Labour  Party to win the  Treasury benches,   knowing it    would be a relatively  soft touch  after  nine years  of  a flinty-faced  National government.

And  Hipkins  early  in  his term  sought to cosy   up  to the teachers’ union  by  bending to  their   demand  that charter  schools  be abolished.

Continue reading “After expelling the charter schools, Hipkins is pressed to do better on teachers’ pay”

$5bn surplus divided among 17,000 teachers – it’s not so simple when Robertson becomes involved

The looming teachers’ strike poses a real headache for the Ardern government. In throwing down the gauntlet to Education Minister Chris Hipkins, the teachers’ union has talked of a “crisis” in the schools, a desperate shortage of teachers, and of principals “in tears” with the stress of trying to ensure there is a teacher in every classroom.

Hipkins says he is disappointed, but not surprised, that primary teachers will strike again.

The government has raised its initial bid of an increased 2.2% to 2.6% a year to 3% a year over the next three years but the the gap between this and what the teachers are demanding remains wide. Continue reading “$5bn surplus divided among 17,000 teachers – it’s not so simple when Robertson becomes involved”

Ontario has a lesson for NZ on how to deal with universities which constrain freedom of speech

Education Minister Chris Hipkins perhaps has been too busy to notice, but the Ontario government has determined it should force post-secondary schools to discipline students who interfere with “free speech.”

If this be so, we recommend the Minister ask someone to brief him on overseas government responses to publicly funded universities which constrain freedom of speech and academic freedom.

Come to think of it, he might also get a staffer to advise him on how to answer questions we put to him last month about the apparent breach of the legislation which governs New Zealand universities when  Don Brash was banned from speaking at Massey University.

In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford’s office is dealing with this sort of campus carry-on by requiring all colleges and universities that receive government funding to publish a “free speech policy” by January 1. Continue reading “Ontario has a lesson for NZ on how to deal with universities which constrain freedom of speech”

Unitec is the immediate challenge – but Lincoln University poses problems too

Unitec,  the  country’s  largest industry  training  provider,  is giving the government   a $50 million headache as it struggles to resolve a host of issues.  But it is not the  only  problem in  the tertiary education sector:  ministers   are wrestling   with  similar  issues  at    Lincoln  University.

Lincoln’s student numbers are down and  James McWha, ex Massey, has been appointed to manage the place while a long-term solution is found.  Several universities, including Otago and Massey, are contemplating a take-over.

A cheaper, faster solution might be to restore it as Lincoln College, a constituent college of Canterbury University, returning  Lincoln to its roots as a high-end agri-business, food and plant technology institution.  But that’s all too obvious and Lincoln may slip through Canterbury’s hands without a sustained effort from Christchurch itself, led by Mayor Lianne Dalziel. Continue reading “Unitec is the immediate challenge – but Lincoln University poses problems too”