Saturday, October 30, 2010

Teachers strike extends to school prizegiving?

The Bay of Plenty Times reports
Secondary teachers are refusing to take an active part in end-of-year prizegivings as part of their pay dispute...The ongoing battle between secondary school teachers and the Ministry of Education has seen bans by the Post Primary Teachers' Association (PPTA) on teachers attending meetings and events after 5pm.

Otumoetai College principal Dave Randell said this meant he took "total responsibility" at last night's Creative Arts Awards ceremony.
Well, according to the Ministry of Education
A ban on PPTA members attending meetings and events before 8.30am or after 5pm.... includes a refusal to attend events like parent/teacher meetings and departmental meetings, but will not include formal prize giving ceremonies.
Just putting aside that creative arts awards are not end of year prizgivings, but are formal prizegiving ceremonies, the Ministry's website implies all prize giving ceremonies, including creative arts awards, are able to be attended by teachers in their teaching capacity.

But, unlike this journalist, I actually spoke with the PPTA. I was told the PPTA position exempts "academic prizegivings", even though that's not what the Ministry indicates. It would have been really nice of a journalist to contact the PPTA to clarify that end of year prizegivings are to be attended by teachers as they are exempt from the pay dispute, rather than write an inflammatory and incorrect article based on ignorance.




Blogger Swimming said...

wo of my children attend Island Bay primary school, in southern Wellington.

The Board of Trustees recently provided a newsletter to parents advising that Island Bay school would not be complying with the requirements of the National Standards policy. This appears to represent a change in position by the newly-elected Board, and replaces an earlier resolution (reproduced on the Principal’s Federation website opposing National Standards) in which the then Board decided to comply with the requirements of the policy, while formally resolving that it did not support the policy.

The newsletter to parents states that the Board has resolved to write to you and to the Secretary of Education directly informing you of the position. They may not, however, have informed you of the poor process used in reaching the decision. We requested copies of Board papers considered in reaching the Board’s decision, and were informed that there were none. There was also no ex ante consultation with parents. The school advertised an open meeting at which it was stated that the Principal would articulate his (well known) views on National Standards: in fact, this meeting proved to be simply a vehicle for the Principal to explain the Board’s decision. We asked for a copy of the presentation slides used at this meeting and were refused - almost certainly a breach of the Official Information Act.

As a parent and as a taxpayer, I support the Government’s apparent desire to lift the performance of our education system and, as part of that, to provide parents and taxpayers with better information on the performance of our schools. I am relatively indifferent at present on the specifics of National Standards themselves, and regret that the National Party stepped away from, for example, the approach to education reform taken in its 2005 manifesto.

But the critical point now is that government policy, backed not only by a clear electoral mandate but also by legislation, must be, and be seen to be, implemented. The Island Bay Board of Trustees, and their employee the Principal, are simply refusing to do that. State schools are Crown entities. Most parents have little effective choice but to use state schools. We therefore expect that you and your ministry ensure that those charged with the management and governance of those Crown entities, which deliver formal education to our children, do their job. I fully respect the right of individual members of the Board of Trustees, and of staff, to disagree with the policy and its application. But they have an obligation - not just a moral obligation, but nothing less than that – to implement it. If they, as a matter of conscience, decide that they cannot implement it they must, as matter of moral obligation, resign. But if they won’t, you have a responsibility to dismiss them. You act for parents, for children, for taxpayers, and for the rule of law. I therefore urge you to make clear to the Island Bay Board of Trustees that they must either quickly comply or face dismissal. If there are no sanctions, the policy itself risks failing before it has ever been given a serious trial.

November 5, 2010 at 1:32 AM  

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