Tag Archives: politics

Performance pay for teachers via the back door? No thanks.


Dita DeBoni, One News

Every now again, while our attention as a country wanders to the Olympics, or housing prices, or the tragic relationship breakdown between Princess Beatrice and Dave Clark, a sneaky band of free-market zealots launch their perennial assault on our education system.

The band is led by hugely ineffectual Government minister Hekia Parata. Her offsider commands the support of a whopping .69 per cent of the voting electorate, and appears to hate teachers having any agency of their own.

That would be Act Party leader and Parliamentary Under-Secretary to the Minister of Education, David Seymour.

It’s an amazing quirk of our system that some who gained just over 16,000 votes at the last election holds such incredible sway over our education system.  And by amazing of course, I mean horrific.

Because it is Seymour’s misguided ideas that are setting a course for education as experienced by our children, and their children, and it is one that seeks to demean and devalue teachersunions in the service of privatising large chunks of our teetering system.

We can put aside the patchy performance of charter schools, the ongoing experiment that is National Standards, the continued propaganda over performance pay for teachers (for the record, OECD reports suggest no link between performance pay and student achievement, and that there are many other ways you can reward and retain gifted teachers), and the numerous other ways the ministers have misinformed the public about the wrong-headed direction in which they are taking us.

Their ideas, tried overseas, have led to systems that are more inequitable and less robust than anything run by Government.  But perhaps they assume none of us read the foreign press.

Their latest nonsense is so-called “global funding”.

Of course, this is bulk funding, but given a PR spin, and is designed to bring in performance pay through the back door.

It would reintroduce an idea that has already been tried and found wanting by the New Zealand education system, and would lead to larger class sizes in public schools that already struggle to properly fund the number of students they have.

This is why most teachers and school staff reject it.  Because it is not aimed at making education better.  It is only about breaking teacher unions.

There is no duty of care to students, or concern for a workforce already under severe pressure. There’s just a horrible cynicism that tries to pitch the teachers union against parents, all in order to enact loopy free-market ideas that are almost universally discredited.

“The thing you’ve got to understand about the teachers union is there’s a reason they don’t call it the children’s union, because they’re not there for the benefit of the kids, they’re there for the benefit of the teachers,” bleated David Seymour in answer to questions about the new bulk funding plan.

“Well as a taxpayer, I pay taxes for the kids.”

Well, David Seymour, there’s a reason that the best education systems in the world are guided by educators, not by politicians. I’m a taxpayer, and I pay taxes for the kids too – not for inexperienced, immature politicians, acting on behalf of business donors to implement ideas barely anyone wants.

Principals Office Blog: Election

By Wayne Bainbridge

A blog is a personal statement or opinion. Mine is about the election which for the first time in my adult voting life, I had very little interest in…almost to the point of not voting. The cup of tea saga and over reaction,the deals between National and Act and Peter Dunne leave a bad taste in your mouth and a feeling of a tainted democratic process.

That Mr Key and National have done well over the last 3 years is without doubt. Key is very good and he relates well to us all. His photo paying the pizza delivery person in shorts, bare feet and a polo on election night epitomizes his ordinary guy next door image. Tony Ryall has been a very good Health minister and Steven Joyce has been a very impressive Transport and Tertiary education minister. He gets things done

Labour have been an embarrassment to themselves and their history. For too long they didn’t realize they lost the last election. Too many policies were a tired return to the old socialist rhetoric of the 50’s and 60’s. The economic rational of raising the super age and making Kiwisaver compulsory were endorsed by every economic commentator in the country but it wasn’t sold well enough and for a long enough time. Goff surprised by running a very good campaign. Bravely, Labour
campaigned on policy not personalities but Goff was sabotaged from within.

Why didn’t he have the costings of their policies at the Christchurch Press debate…because Finance spokesman David Cunliffe either withheld them or didn’t have them ready

So, the Greens get 13 seats and NZ First 8 seats but neither could win a single electorate seat. A number of sitting MPs were dumped by the voters, sacked in fact, but parachute back into parliament on the list…the losers list!

Now Labour will try to resurrect themselves but are doomed to failure. Their party list rewarded the incompetent. The affiliated unions pay just 50 cents a member to control the constitution. The same old tired faces litter the top table. The leadership battle will further divide the party and reward the vain. What is needed is a clear out of the old and incompetent, the gender/sexual orientation representation and the union hacks.

David Lange became leader after just 3 years in parliament. He was a circuit breaker and Labour desperately needs another one. Phil Twyford/Jacinda Ardern would be a great new leadership combination, both telegenic, young, intelligent and an obvious break from the past and a metaphor for the future.

Likely to happen?
Not in a million years!
Australia continues to look better and better.

On Politics and a House Build on Sand

By Wayne Bainbridge

At the time of writing the Act Party and Maori Party are in disarray and the Labour Party still on a steep slide, downwards!

As a long Labour supporter with family links back to Keir Hardy, a Scottish unionist and founder of the British Labour Party it is soul destroying to see the despair of the New Zealand Labour Party, saddled with dead wood, stagnating under union control and totally bereft of any new ideas or solutions.  They have simply dusting off speeches and ideas from the 1950’s and 60’s reflecting a world that has long since passed.

Lest you think this is an attack on Labour, it is not.  Our country is in extreme danger from an economic and social meltdown.

Mr Key is an absolute revelation as Prime Minister.  He is very smooth, a smart operator but a populist.  Take him away and National has nothing.

At a time New Zealand needs strong government and leadership, there is none.  At a time we need courageous decision making, there is a void.  Instead the government simply continues to borrow $350 million per week and racking up our national debt to the level of Greece and Portugal.  That our credit rating will be downgraded shortly is inevitable.

At a time New Zealand needs a strong, viable opposition to stand up to the government, to question and expose and to offer alternative ideas and solutions, there is none.

Why is it important, why should we bother? Essentially, because despite record high export prices we risk economic collapse by our national debt burden.  Successive governments’ simply keep spending.  Too much spending is related to social policy bribes: student loans, working for families, welfare benefits.  Here our economic direction and social issues intertwine.

New Zealand desperately needs to radically reform the economy.  We can’t just keep giving handouts.  We need to boost jobs and productivity.  Much is made of poor school achievement of 20% of our children.  The reality is that poor achievement is related to socio economic income and poverty.  People without jobs or on low income don’t have the money to spend on good housing, warmth, good clothing, nutrition, health care and provide language/educational experiences for their children.  Some families are now third generation welfare dependent.  Advances in technology and world free trade means that huge numbers of jobs will be under threat.

We need new thinking and innovation and courageous decision making to totally reform the economy.

  • Big ticket items like interest free student loans, Working for Families need refining.
  • Our welfare system needs to be streamlined, tightened and probably subject to a time scale.
  • Our whole tax system needs to be restructured.
  • Financial assistance needs to be re-directed into research, development, job creation and export incentives.
  • $36 million handouts to Team New Zealand and $700 million for the World Cup should never happen again.
  • Government departments should be transferred to regional towns to create jobs.

These are but a few stupid thoughts from a teacher.  What I do believe passionately is that if we continue our current government practices, our economy will collapse and with it will come a complete dislocation of our social structures, with large scale unemployment and the corresponding rise in crime and antisocial behavior.

Our country’s economy is the house built on sand and it is absolutely the time for strong leadership and governance and a strong opposition.

In the absence of both, political apathy and a rise in the proportion of people who won’t vote, is inevitable.