Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Nats education policy would harm local schools

18th April

“The recent release of National’s education policy should be of serious concern to parents in Howick and Pakuranga”, says Pakuranga Labour candidate Michael Wood.

“The policy would allow schools to reach individual employment contacts with their teachers. At the moment under Labour all teachers are covered by the same contract and the same employment conditions. That’s fair”, continuous Wood.

“Under National’s policy, wealthy schools would be able to raise large amounts of extra money from parents and use that money to offer teachers higher salaries than those on offer at schools in low to middle income areas”.

“I believe that teachers make the difference in education. Great teachers inspire students and they also help other teachers be the best they can be. Under National, wealthy schools would be freed to pay for the very best, and the rest of our schools would lose out.”

“Of even deeper concern to local parents should be the comments in the leaked draft of Dr Brash’s education speech in which he suggested that National would divert more public resources to fund private schools, and a change to the decile funding formula. Under this policy, middle income schools in Pakuranga would lose funding”.

“Labour is committed to ensuring a high quality, publicly owned education system that works for all people – not just the very wealthy. National’s policy shows that their focus is on turning our schools into competitive business units, not on providing a sound education for all children”, concludes Wood.


Graham Watson said...

Peeling past all the scaremongering Labour mantra why shoudn't we pay good teachers more? Educating our children is worth it.

This happens in most other professions and is an incentive to perform.

Anonymous said...

But should good teachers end up at the schools with the wealthiest parents by deliberate policy design?

Graham Watson said...

You confuse the point. All schools should receive adequate funding to attract good teachers, and have the ability to remunerate on performance.

Do not assume that it is only wealthy parents who want the best for their children.

If schools in whatever area decided to fund raise to attract greater expertise surely they should be free to do so.

Anonymous said...

Attracting good teachers to a school shouldn't have anything to do with a school's funding in the first place. Under the current, sound, system, schools can attract good teachers on the strength of their philosophy and ethos and how they are translated in the organisation and management of the school - and the money for the salary automatically follows.

How much money a school has in its bulk-fund as augmented by parental donations, and so how high its salaries are, should not be a driving factor in where good teachers end up.
Of course low to middle income parents care for their children as much as wealthy parents - they just have less money to throw at a salary race with the likes of Auckland Boys' Grammar.
Yes I expect that under the National policy schools would be free to augment in this way - its even less of a market if they can't. Not that you can ever have a market when education between the ages of 5 and 16 is compulsory but that's another story.

You seem to assume that National and Act would oversee such a massive increase in funding for teacher salaries that even the school in the poorest area would be able to offer a much higher average salary than that prevailing now, and that this increase would attract many more good people to the profession, so that the number of good teachers is in turn boosted. If current funding levels remain, and with a tax-cutting administration who would expect otherwise, then paying a teacher who is good - or popular with the principal for some unfathomable reason - simply means cutting from current levels the salary of another teacher. That sort of salary roulette is not going to attract good people to the profession.

Good teachers are paid more money now - it's just that they have to leave the classroom and go into administration to get it. At secondary level, the PPTA has signed up to a 'master teacher' concept for incorporation into the collective employment contract that would see the best teachers paid more to remain in the classroom. It can be fairly done.