Teachers reject Govt's education plan

JO MOIR
Last updated 15:35 21/08/2014

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The country's biggest teacher union has overwhelmingly rejected the Government's $359 million education policy.

The announcement today by NZEI that 93 per cent of teachers and principals voted "no confidence" in the policy could potentially scupper the Government's Investing in Educational Success plans.

The policy, announced in January, has divided teachers and principals and only minutes before NZEI's announcement the Minister of Education revealed a memorandum of understanding has been signed with a number of principals from other organisations across the country.

NZEI president Judith Nowotarski said more than 25,000 members voted on the policy. They were asked three questions, including whether they wanted to reject the proposal rather than trying to change the policy through negotiation. Seventy-three per cent voted to reject it outright.

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Today's decision takes NZEI off the negotiation table as they wait to be approached about another round of sector consultation.

"This will make it problematic for the Government when the biggest part of the sector has said a resounding no,'' Nowotarski said.

NZEI will be lobbying the government ''to start from scratch by genuinely consulting with the profession and parents about how to spend the $359 million for the benefit of the children.

''The policy proposes a one-size-fits-all, top down management structure, Nowotarski said.

''The policy has been proposed without the involvement of schools or parents and with no evidence that the new model will boost student learning.''

Investing in Educational Success (IES) would include schools collaborating in groups, new teaching and leadership roles and a teacher-led innovation fund.

Minister of Education Hekia Parata said last week that detail was "freely available to the level it has been developed to so far."

"The reason why we can't say definitively 'This is it' is because we're consulting with the very people that they're wanting us to consult with. So it's a process," she said.

Recommendations from a sector working group - including both teacher unions, different schooling levels and ethnic groups - had been worked on since May.

Labour education spokesman Chris Hipkins said the policy was "effectively dead in the water" following today's rejection.

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Labour has promised to scrap the policy and replace it with an extra 2000 teachers leading to smaller class sizes if they get in to Government.

- Stuff

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