Teachers upset over education plans

"The dream is that we might be listened to."

JO MOIR
Last updated 05:00 16/11/2012
tdn teach full
Cameron Burnell

Teachers and NZEI members Christina Milliken from Westown School and Luke Mattock from Marfell School.

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Two New Plymouth teachers have spoken out against the "teaching to the test" style of education they say the Government is imposing.

North Taranaki teachers met at an NZEI union meeting at Devon Intermediate yesterday to voice their concerns over a string of policies including a new curriculum model, performance pay, league tables and national standards.

The Global educational reform movement is a curriculum model that Taranaki teachers say the Government is pursuing despite it being tried and failed overseas.

It is based around national standards that will make teachers "teach to the test", Westown School teacher Christina Milliken says.

"I spent a year teaching in the United Kingdom where they teach to the test and I couldn't get out of there quick enough because it doesn't work," she said.

If performance pay is introduced, a threat Marfell Community School teacher Luke Mattock fears, he says teachers will probably leave the industry. Ms Milliken agrees with him.

It's the lack of communication between the Ministry of Education and the school sector that also has teachers up in arms.

Mr Mattock says during the last two years teachers and NZEI representatives have met to discuss the issues around performance pay and what models might work.

"A lot of work has been done around this by people that work in the profession yet the ministry hasn't acknowledged it once," he said.

"The dream is that one day we might be listened to." Teachers attending the first of three meetings in Taranaki wore red and black in support of Christchurch teachers dealing with Government-imposed school closures and mergers.

"We're here standing up for Christchurch teaching staff and pulling together as one strong voice," Ms Milliken said.

NZEI North Taranaki president Ramona Taogaga said there was a lot of emotion at yesterday's meeting but teachers were prepared to fight and see things through.

"The minister just won't engage with teachers, unions, national educators or leaders," Ms Taogaga said.

"She just refuses to get in dialogue and decisions are being driven by finance."

The next New Zealand Educational Institute meeting in Taranaki is being held at Manukorihi Intermediate on Thursday.

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