Advertising, Billboards, Don Brash, Politics, PPTA

The 2005 National billboard you never saw

billboard-education-rejected

It was my favourite of the lot, but it never ran. Don Brash wanted it to, but others thought no one would understand what PPTA was.

I replied that the media would ensure that they soon did!

I think this billboard would have created a firestorm, which the teacher unions surely deserve.

It would have thrown the spotlight on the real wreckers of the New Zealand education system: unions that for decades have quite deliberately destroyed the futures of thousands of children by insisting that they be exposed to useless, boring, uninspiring teachers.

Let’s hope the latter-day Nats can summon up the guts to deal to these Labour-protected losers – and pay good teachers the six-figure sums they deserve.

(They just might too, as depowering the PPTA would be hugely popular with parents, students, business, and anyone who cares about New Zealand’s future.)

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21 thoughts on “The 2005 National billboard you never saw

  1. Welcome back.

    I love the bill board and agree that good teachers deserve much better pay.

    Can you explain why the union whose members spend so much of their time evaluating the performance of pupils struggle with the concept of performance-based pay?

  2. There can only be one explanation for that, homepaddock: complete and utter hypocrisy.

    We all knew who our good and bad teachers were.

    My stepson is now in his fifth year of private schooling, having spent five in the public system.

    How John Key can say the state system is just as good beggars belief, and he knows it. The Auckland Grammars are very much the exception – certainly the Wellington Colleges are down this way.

    In short, the private schools care more.

    But having said that, he had one teacher at this private school whose idea of teaching was to read from the text book, and require the kids to copy his blackboard notes all lesson.

    No surprise that his marks in that subject took a dive that year.

    He had another teacher – from the sub-continent – whose accent he simply could not fathom. His marks in that subject dipped accordingly.

    On the other hand…

    …he had an English teacher in Year 8 who inspired him to write a 150-page novel in three weeks.

    (By comparison, I wrote a 138-page book. It took me 12 years!)

    You’d have to see these novels to believe the efforts these boys went to – absolutely extraordinary, from the writing to the illustration to the packaging.

    This teacher’s name is Jonn Nicholson. He deserves to be choked with gold.

    Mr Nicholson used to require the boys to get to class 15 minutes early every morning, so he could take them through a philosophy session.

    They loved it.

    The philosophy they acquired helped these highly-competitive A-streamers deal with the disappointments at the end-of-year prizegiving, when only one of them could be named dux.

    The same teacher also inspired the pipe band and robotics teams to national titles, coached the hockey reps, taught art to a high level, introduced the boys to the classics, and produced the most immaculate newsletters I’ve ever seen.

    To suggest that Nicholson and the chalk-and-bore teacher are remotely comparable is a sick joke. Yet that is what the PPTA would have us believe.

    They should be exterminated.

  3. I think this is absolutely great: you’re right – it’s the most important change that National should make, and it is disappointing this hasn’t been fixed yet.

    But it’s really Muriel Newman who has the right policies here: basically state schooling cannot help but inculcate immaturity and dependence on the state.
    Because teachers and schools do not have to compete for funds, their pupils graduate expecting to be owed a living by hardworking, taxpaying New Zealanders.

    Abolishing unions is the first step of reform – without which it cannot proceed. But then next step must be to abolish all existing state schools: turn them into private companies, gift them their land and buildings, but permit no further state subsidies whatsoever. (Existing support to well-established private schools should of course continue). The ex-state schools can be set free from the min of ed, free to hire whom they choose, pay what their teachers are worth , and of course to enrol (or not) any students they desire under whatever conditions the school deems appropriate.

    This is all that the state should do for education

  4. When our daughter was in form two we looked at three private schools and the local state one.

    To our surprise the small town state school compared very favourably with the city private ones.

    That may be unusual but I think it means it’s not who runs the school but how good the teachers are which matters.

  5. I agree.

    I’ve had personal experience – as a pupil, parent, or step-parent – of 13 greater Wellington schools.

    Eight were primary. Five were secondary.

    Nine were state. Four were private.

    Of the eight primary, six were state.

    (Epuni, Waterloo, Clyde Quay, Kapanui, Paremata, and Hutt Intermediate.)

    And two were private.

    (Wellesley College and Scots College Preparatory.)

    Of the five secondary, three were state.

    (Hutt Valley High School, Paraparaumu College, and Wellington High School.)

    And two were private.

    (Rathkeale College and Scots College.)

    In that mix are two very liberal schools (Clyde Quay and Wellington High) and two more conservative, church-run boarding schools (Rathkeale and Scots).

    So I’ve had plenty of chances to compare systems over the last 45 years.

    And no, I don’t want to dump on the state schools either.

    But nor am I rushing to agree with John Key that the state system is just as good as the private system.

    That’s nuts. He knows it’s nuts.

    Some state schools are better than some private schools, yes.

    Some state schools are probably better than most private schools.

    (I’m thinking here of Auckland Grammar, Wellington College, and Palmerston North Boys’ High. I’m sisterless and daughterless, so can’t offer much gender-balance.)

    As far as the teaching went, there were pockets of excellence and mediocrity at all of the above – state and private.

    When I wrote a book a few years ago, I sent copies to three of my best teachers to say thanks. Two were state and one was private.

    To those who say the private schools attract better-behaved children, I’d say: don’t forget they can also be a dumping ground for spoilt, dysfunctional rich kids.

    There are some excellent and inspiring teachers working in the state system. And there are some real duds in the private system.

    But overall, in my experience, it’s no contest.

    The odds of encountering good teachers are higher at private schools.

    At state schools, you take your chances – and sometimes you get lucky.

    What you notice about private schools is that they set the bar higher. They expect more of their students – because the parents expect more of them.

    I remember the culture shock for one of my boys when he left a state school and went to a private school.

    Suddenly he had to wear a silly uniform.

    Worse, he was getting what, for him, had been a week’s worth of homework – in one night!

    It was a shock. There were a few tears before bedtime, I can tell you.

    But he adapted quickly, as kids do.

    And before long, he was feeling very proud of himself for being able to rise to his new school’s expectations.

    The first thing that strikes you about private schools is that they’re calmer, more orderly places.

    The children know they can’t get away with bad behaviour. That’s because the school knows it can’t get away with it either, or the parents won’t pay.

    So the discipline boundaries are set tighter.

    It makes you wonder what we could do for the country if the whole education system raised the bar, and set higher standards and tighter boundaries.

    You’re right homepaddock, it begins and ends with finding and treasuring great teachers.

    Class sizes don’t matter if you’ve got a great teacher who can explain things well. Would you rather be in a class of 40 with a great teacher or a class of 10 with a dud?

    It’s about the craft of explanation. More on that later.

  6. homapaddock – that seems like a very very strange anomaly.

    Comparing say Wellington College (a good state/socialist school) and Scots,
    or Wellington Girls (another socialist school) and Marsden – there is absolutely no contest.

    If you go further afield, you’ll find tens of “state” schools who just warehouse kids until they are old enough to go on the Dole (male) or DBP (female).
    They’d be much better of getting a job at 15 than hanging around smoking dope and getting pregnant.

    No government has had the guts to admit this – because the resulting changes would be drastic indeed. But if you visit the schools, look at the facilities, look at the kids progress through life – it really is no contest.

    John Key is the exception, going to a socialist state high school.
    Cullen is the rule, going to a private school.

    If you want your children to succeed, if you want them fit for something other than the dole or the civil service, there really is no choice.

  7. I would speak up for Wellington College there, Anonymouse.

    From what I’ve seen of it, it’s one of those rare exceptions: a great school that’s also a state school.

    Why?

    Same reason as Auckland Grammar and Palmerston North Boys’ High are great state schools.

    All have principals – supported by a parent body – who are the socialists’ worst nightmares.

    The school cultures are founded on achieving excellence.

    But they achieve their results in spite of the Ministry of Education, not because of it.

    When Maharey was the local MP, we wouldn’t visit PNBHS.

    Why?

    Because the school’s success embarrassed him. It flew in the face of everything he stood for.

    (What were Massey thinking when they made Smarmy Steve Vice Chancellor? You’d think they’d be trying to lose the ‘joke university’ tag, not confirm it.)

  8. Well John, the ad is a good reminder of why Don Brash lost the election. While the ads were sufficiently glib and superficial to create a sensation amongst the “chattering classes” they were, in the end, too divisive. Have you forgotten that you lost Don Brash the 2005 election and John Key won because he wisely avoided taking political advice from you. That’s also why he won’t be so dumb as to act out your sad fantasy about attacking the PPTA because it will cost him the 2011 election.
    You shouldn’t assume that the whole world thinks like ACT voters(remember when Roger Douglas solemnly promised everyone that ACT would get 50% of the vote when the reality is it can barely get 3!) and is motivated entirely by money. Some people actually do things out of sense of principle and ethical commitment! Although no-one goes into teaching to get rich, they do expect fair and decent pay.
    It’s not fair to set up a system where teachers in schools in rich communities with kids who are well supported at home with music lessons, sports coaching, access to books and computers etc (all of which predict success at school) get paid more to do what is an easy job. It’s actually a piece of p… teaching at all the high decile state schools and wealthy private schools so lauded by your contributors. Most of those teachers wouldn’t last a day in a school where the kids aren’t packed to the gunwales with cultural capital. So should they be paid more because they get to work in a school with top quality facilities, all the latest equipment, a full range of support staff, all the professional development they want and by-and-large motivated students? Dumb, dumb, dumb…
    Another problem that arises when one works in advertising and consequently has only the most tenuous connection with reality is that you are unaware that there is actually a SHORTAGE of teachers, full stop. At the start of 2008 a principal offered 17 units (around $50,000) extra for a technology teacher to come to his school. I don’t know if he found one but it illustrates the problem – in most subject areas there are only single applicants for jobs so the idea that you could put any performance criteria out there is a complete dud. And yes schools already pay more (via units) for teachers in certain subject shortage areas but there’s not enough money to cover them all. Again, the situation’s a bit better for wealthy schools because it’s less stressful teaching there so they get slightly more applicants. (Plus for all the sudden defence of over-large classes – richer schools have smaller class sizes and usually advertise that fact as a marketing device.)
    Where you go wrong is in failing to understand that because education is mandated by the state until a child is 16, you can’t just say (even if were possible to sort out the individual performance factors from extraneous effects like parental wealth)we’ll punish some teachers by paying them less because that’s punishing kids – hands up those parents who want their kids taught by the the teachers who are being paid the least and find that profoundly de-motivating. (If you’re an ACT voter of course, you
    don’t have to bother about what happens to other peoples’ kids as long as you’re ok that’s all that matters).
    What we have to do in New Zealand is bring back payment for training so that there is a decent pool of recruits for schools to choose from (currently our strategy is to pinch teachers from other countries regardless of the cultural and language problems that that may throw up) then we need across-the-board pay increases of at least $10,000 so people want to stay in teaching, then we can have really tough entry standards because we’ll have a surplus. Then something will have to be done to make class sizes in state schools as small as they are in private schools so teachers really can develop the relationships that Hattie says are so essential and that will have a double pay-off of reducing the absurd assessment load in the senior school so teachers have time to prepare lessons, to be inspirational and enthusiastic and to enjoy their jobs.
    Much more rational than a half-arsed idea of chucking a few pieces of silver around; too sensible for you to grasp I fear.
    Who knows though, with the economy going south (love that new right economics – it works so well!!) maybe there’ll be a few out-of-work advertising hacks and and tax avoidance charlatans who want to try their hands with a class of 30 recalcitrant adolescents on Friday afternoon. Best of all, they wouldn’t need any training because they are already such bloody experts!

  9. By highlighting the shortage of teachers, you are highlighting exactly why we need performance pay.

    By offering higher pay to better performers, and the hessian receptacle to the duds, we would quickly send the signal to quality people that they are warmly welcome in the teaching profession.

    Why would attacking the PPTA cost National the 2011 election?

    Parents would love it – once reminded of the PPTA’s long and shameful record of putting the interests of hopeless teachers ahead of those of the children whose minds they so spectacularly fail to engage.

    They’ve got a damn cheek, these dullards. They have no difficulty grading students on merit, yet would have us believe they themselves should be immune from such assessment.

    That’s absolute bullshit, and it’s grossly dishonest to pretend otherwise.

    Another point is that teachers at private schools very often get there precisely because they HAVE succeeded in state schools.

    Inspirational teachers rise to the top anywhere. That’s because they take the trouble to engage the pupils, not alienate them.

    Yes, it’s undoubtedly harder teaching an undisciplined rabble in a Decile 1 state school. But that’s partly because the schools themselves tolerate slacker discipline.

    When I once questioned a state principal why certain kids were allowed to get away with disrupting the class for the others, he just shrugged and said, “Well that’s the best we can do in the state system.”

    I didn’t agree. I thought he should have hauled the miscreant out and locked him in a small room beside the office until he agreed to behave. If his parents complained, tough.

    But if it was the best the state could do, then I say let private enterprise compete for the business.

    There’s a precedent. It will upset your delicate sensibilities, but here goes:

    Private prisons.

    Even the British Labour party don’t build state prisons any more. They know the private system works better. Inmates prefer them too – all round the world where they’ve been tried.

    Even the likes of Nandor Tanczos agreed that the private Auckland Central Remand Prison worked very well before Labour shut it down for nonsensical ideological reasons.

    And before you get carried away, no, I’m not suggesting we run our Decile 1 schools like prisons.

    I’m merely suggesting that private education providers with the right financial incentives are likely to do much better at managing problem schools – or problem anything – than one-salary-fits-all bureaucrats with no incentives.

    Good teachers who are able to manage and educate those kids would deserve to be paid more than the present crop who can’t – same with the private prison officers versus the corrupt Corrections alternatives.

    Your bitterness is so palpable it’s hard to read your comment. I respectfully request that you reply with a bit more light and a bit less heat.

  10. Oh dear. How delightfully pompous! “I respectfully request that you reply with a bit more light and a bit less heat.” You let fly with a generalised and unsubstantiated attack on secondary teachers and their union (justified only by a few self-serving and prejudiced anecdotes) and then have the cheek to complain when your shallowness is exposed.
    I certainly do get impatient when people proudly parade their ignorance and expect to be treated like some sort of a genius for sharing! If I had a dodgy product I wished to off-load on the public and needed an advertising campaign, I would welcome and respect your expertise but I don’t have to give the time of day to your educational observations because you are out of your depth. Just because you have been to school and sent your children to school doesn’t actually mean you know anything about teaching and learning anymore than going to doctor occasionally would qualify me to run the health system.
    For your information, at the beginning of the 19th century New Zealand had exactly the system you envisage and the schools sought the protection of a state funded national salary structure because they couldn’t afford to pay for the teachers they needed. Sadly, those who can’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
    As to your answer to shortages – that’s just nuts. So we are going to have schools up and down the country saying to parents, “sorry we can’t offer subjects like technology, maths, music, science or Maori because we don’t have any teachers but we are assured by the famous educationalist John Ansell that soon some will appear. Good grief! Maybe you could take your brilliant idea to hospitals – let’s pay young doctors different rates according to how many people they cure (or don’t actually kill) and that’ll fix the shortage; we could do the same for airline pilots – pay those that don’t have crashes more than those who do. No need to waste money on silly things like training and support! It’s genius alright.
    Unlike you I have taught in decile one schools and decile 10 schools. When I moved from the decile 1 to the decile 10 school, my pass rates increased over 30% so I suppose I should have demanded an immediate 30% pay increase – except that I knew which job was harder.
    John Graham had the reverse experience when he went from Auckland Grammar to a school in Mangare and found himself unable to turn it into the Auckland Grammar of South Auckland. He slunk back to the hallowed halls of middle class academia and pretended it had never happened.
    You could do real research, you know. Professor Martin Thrupp has written extensively on how the middle classes are able to twist education policy (and funding) to suit themselves which is at the heart of your proposals. I accept that your entitled to think that but I think you should be honest about it. In contrast, Thrupp acknowledges, as do I, that his children are part of the advantaged group. There is a huge body of research on this topic but that would get you started and might lighten some of your darkness.

    Alternatively, instead of glib and uninformed comments about low decile schools, why don’t you do something useful and make yourself available to help out at one! Don’t cheat though – no spending hours preparing something, popping in a for an hour and sliding out without the marking and NO SMALL CLASSES since you think (and you would know) that they don’t matter. Five hours of teaching 130-150 kids in one day (many of whom won’t hesitate to tell you where they think your insights should be shoved) lunchtime duty, a meeting or sports practice etc after school and 2-3 hours of marking and preparation in the evening. (And that marking has to be accurate – it will checked by your colleagues and moderated by NZQA and if you can’t get it right consistently, questions will be asked.) It’s romantic bravado to say, “well if they swear at me I’ll lock them up and call in the parents” – you’d have no kids left in your class and you would get absolutely no support either from the school or the community. Instead you’d get to read websites written by the sublimely arrogant, pronouncing you as incompetent.
    It’s not really my area but I would have thought that
    it’s obvious why attacking the PPTA wouldn’t assist John Key. It’s not 1951 – under MMP, the Right can’t gerrymander the electorate any more and that electorate is mainly left of centre. Labour lost because their voters didn’t feel the need to turn out. A vicious anti-union campaign will get them out rather well.
    Unlike you, teachers live and work in these communities and consequently have some appreciation of the difficulties of their lives and receive considerable support and respect accordingly. I certainly wouldn’t put money on the PPTA ranking behind advertising gurus in a national “who do you trust list”. After all, ACT got only 3% of the vote; the vast majority of New Zealanders are decent people who find ACT’s espousal of greed and selfishness both distasteful and totally unrealistic.

  11. Being born in a rich family and going to a school in a rich community don’t guarantee success at school. The success of our children depends on them a) being supported at home with homework and other disciplines, b) knowing that they’re expected to succeed by working hard, and c) having inspirational teachers who can guide them to success.

    Having put my child through both public and private systems, I’d say that good teachers work harder no matter where they teach. Paying all teachers the same would be like giving all students the same grade, regardless of the standard of their work. It is simply unfair. Every student and parent knows who the good teachers are. It doesn’t take much to work out. As a parent I appreciate immensely the difference good teachers have made to my child’s life, and I would have no problem rewarding them. I also often wonder how some teachers can keep their jobs year after year when all they do is waste the children’s time and destroy their love of learning.

    My problem with public schools is that the overall expectation is lower. A lot of energy is spent on not overstretching our children so they don’t get upset. The fact is, kids soon get bored with the lack of challenge and become a problem in class. At private schools and good state schools the expectation is generally much higher. It’s more focused on learning. Of course the pass rate is higher.

    Lalaland seems to have some misgivings about the private and high decile state schools and their parents. The fact is a lot of these parents are making great sacrifices to give their children the best education money can buy. And those children who succeed do not have everything handed to them on a plate. They simply work harder, much harder. When I switched my son from a public school to a private school, we immediately noticed the improvement in his work standard and attitude. Instead of cruising like he used to, he knew that he had to work harder to match his classmates.

    Both my parents were teachers (in Taiwan) so I know very well about this low-pay, high-stress job. After my father died my mother had to bring up four kids on her own so there was never any cash to go around when I grew up. Somehow we all managed to finish our degrees and two of the four of us are now doctors. The point I’m making is that you don’t need money to succeed. My mother made it very clear to us that if we wanted to get anywhere in life we would have to work hard. We had no excuses, so that’s what we did.

    I’m pleased that I was able to get out of poverty and am now able to pay for my son’s music lessons, sport coaching, books and anything which might help him succeed. But I also know unless he gets good teachers, nothing is guaranteed. Yesterday we received his NCEA results. There were subjects in which he got Excellence. There was also a subject that he just “achieved”. Same child. Different teachers. Good teachers get good results, bad teachers don’t. Simple.

    I can’t see why only teachers and their unions are allowed to have opinions about educational matters that so deeply affect children and their parents. We parents, and particularly, of course, our children, are the ones who suffer most from the effects of poor teaching. Do you have to teach your child’s class to know your child is not learning? Do you have to be your own doctor to know you are not feeling better? And what kind of results have these experts at the Ministry of Education/PPTA delivered? Can we look at our classrooms today and our children on the streets and feel confident that our children are equipped to cope in the real world?

    Lalaland, I appreciate your passion and presume that you consider yourself a good teacher. But would you teach your students to shout down somebody that you don’t agree with by attacking their occupation and choice of political party? Maybe we should suspend our hatred and focus on the issue: how to help our children to succeed, no matter who they are and where they come from. When I consider this, I do see some merits in ACT’s education policies and hope that one day it won’t just be the privileged few who can choose the school that best suits their child’s needs. And I hope the desire to have good teachers is no longer regarded by people like you as an act of selfishness.

  12. What a wonderful read – Ansell having his balls handed to him on a plate by someone who actually knows what they are talking aout.

    Time for a nice, hot cup of tea and a digestive so I re-read and savour the ownage.

  13. Sorry guys, I’m immune to being abused by lefties who use personal attack as a smokescreen for not being prepared to address the issue.

    Lalaland may know what he or she is talking about, but is going to great lengths to avoid what I’m talking about.

    I’m NOT talking about how hard life is for teachers who can’t teach.

    I AM talking about how hard life is for those who CAN teach. I want to make their lives easier, by paying them something closer to what their remarkable people skills deserve.

    But what I’m talking about more than anything is how hard life is for the children who are exposed to those teachers who can’t teach – and who as a result can’t learn.

    I’m talking about teachers who collectively (via the PPTA) put their own interests ahead of those of our nation’s children.

    Neither of you two abusers have bothered to engage on that subject.

    I wonder why.

    How dare you call parents selfish for wanting to educate their children as they see fit?

    This from the most selfish, and arguably most evil, organisation in our society.

    Oh, and by the way, I believe New Zealand parents are as slack, or slacker, than the schools.

    If I was a principal at a Decile 1 (or any) school, I’d hold a meeting of the parents and the kids on the evening of the first day.

    I’d welcome the parents to the teaching faculty. I’d designate them Homework Coordinators, and make it clear that I couldn’t do my job without them taking this job seriously.

    Their job would be to have a zero tolerance policy towards homework, and help out where they could. The school would suggest techniques to make that job easier.

    Most parents would be delighted to be regarded as a vital part of the education process. At the moment they’re an occupational hazard in an industry controlled by bureaucrats and unions.

    Those parents who didn’t cooperate would be held jointly responsible for their children’s results.

    But then, I’m not qualified to have ideas like this, am I?

    I’m only a customer.

  14. The Nats education policy so far is pure rubbish.

    In our country there are thousands if not tens of thousands of children who are failing at school.

    Quite often they are children of the poor.

    Many of these children will abandon their educations and will appear in our courts and prisons as they ‘mature’ .

    It seems the Nats response is some three strike law and a privatised prison system.

    ………… their announcements and ‘urgent’ reforms to the education sector so far are right wing spin and not much else.

    Increased fines for the parents of truants and more tests for the kids will do NOTHING for the present generation of failing school children.

    National’s ‘urgent’ reforms so far comprise of punative spin.

    At least with private prisons some one will make money out of the failed kids who end up in prison ……

  15. lalaland is good proof of how state schooling has failed. Why is it John that only the wealthy can afford to send their kids to the best schools while the poor have no choice whatsoever?

    I wonder why lalaland is so against great teachers, such as who you described above, not being better rewarded for his job than a teacher who doesn’t give a toss?

    Chin up John, you’re speaking commonsense and your detractors are obvious Labour plants. They are here to attack, not provoke debate.

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  17. What rubbish. Performance pay just simply does not work. Teachers are not factory or call centre workers. You cannot measure success in one simple way.

    Teacher A teaches at a low decile school where students enter with reading and writing ages of between 6 and 8 years. Lifts these reading and writing ages to nearly be comparable with their ages. They still achieve very poorly at NCEA Level 1 – patchy results of mixed Ns and As. The teacher also supports several students through trying times, inspires some to read their first books, others to feel good about themselves and has success with students bring equipment to class, completing homework and at least attempting different activities. They also manage to instill some values in the students they teach – they start respecting one another!

    Teacher B works at a high decile school. Students enter well above their reading ages (most are on stanine 9/10 for reading and working two curriculum levels above where they should be for writing). Does a poor job teaching, don’t worry most parents get tutors to support their children. At the end of the year, though not great, most students receive Ms without really trying.

    Now based on the system that you are espousing (rather ignorantly) teacher A would receive substantially less than teacher B – is this fair? Is this the system that you think would work best and encourage teachers into the profession. NO. What this would cause is further ghetoisation of the education system – I know right-leaning conservatives don’t care about this because they live in the nice, white areas with high decile schools.

    Your attack on the PPTA (calling them evil? Really?) also shows ignorance. The PPTA IS the teachers. They are voted in by the teachers, teachers are the ones that ask the PPTA to work on their behalf. You are afraid to attack teachers directly because you know that this won’t garner as much support, so what you are doing is using the union as a proxy – it is obvious.

    As for comparing public to private schools, this is ludicrous. I have worked in both. Private school students arrive with generally higher literacy levels, parents are paying so generally parents care about the success of their children, resources are better, class sizes are about two thirds the size (if not smaller) and schools can use discretion with who the accept. The differences are huge. Oh…and these great teachers that work at private schools are also not on performance pay. Which must strike you as strange considering that they work for a private business – surely if anyone would use performance pay it would be these institutions – but they don’t, because they know that teacher success cannot be quantified as easily as you think.

    You really have no idea about the system that you are talking about.

  18. What is so special about teachers that makes them immune from measurement?

    After all, they have no trouble measuring the pupils.

    I have the highest regard for teachers who can inspire kids to want to learn and raise the bar. That’s not a decile thing.

    The softer qualities you mention can be measured just like academic performance. In other industries where the unions don’t blackmail the employers, this is exactly what happens.

    And it’s the improvement in performance that should result in the highest rewards, not just marks.

    My question to you is the same as the one Trevor Mallard doesn’t want to answer on Kiwiblog…

    Does the union put the interests of poor quality teachers ahead of the interests of New Zealand children?

    If so, that’s evil, pure and simple.

  19. ‘Evil’ really? This is pure hyperbole. What a ridiculous statement to make.

    No…the union does not put the interests of poor teachers before the interests of NZ children. In fact the PPTA and NZEI spend huge amounts of money every year on professional development and research for teachers so that they can effectively teach the students in front of them.

    I would really like evidence from you about when (specific examples) the PPTA or NZEI have ‘protected’ poorly performing teachers – and not just generalised ranting please. Even if you can come up with examples (I would say you won’t be able to) you will not be able to come up with many. The simple truth is that you are trying to do what you do best – spin.

    Your comments also make little sense. Improvement in ‘performance’ not just results, but surely the ‘results’ are the measurement of the performance. As for measuring ‘soft qualities’ – how? How do you measure this? If you want a system of performance pay you better think a little harder about how this would work.

    If you could work it out then you would be better than most international educational researchers who have been trying to introduce similar schemes for years. But, for the most part, have found that it is just too difficult.

    What you are doing in thinly veiled teacher bashing. Don’t dress it up as anything different.

  20. Four questions Tim:

    1. Does the union allow a school to dismiss a teacher who the principal thinks is not up to standard?

    My understanding is that it does not.

    2. Does the union insist that all teachers be regarded as of equal standard, and that no teacher should be paid more than any other for the quality of their work?

    My understanding is that it does.

    3. Do the union and principals plan to defy the government over national standards, a policy on which this government was democratically elected?

    My understanding is that it does.

    4. Does the union plan to prevent the media from informing parents which schools are performing best?

    My understanding is that it does.

    Tim, I’m happy to make these issues the subject of a new post, where I’ll humbly apologise if you can show where I’ve erred in my understanding.

    Despite what you may have heard about me, I’m really only interested in the truth – and in the welfare of our kids (and of good teachers, whom I greatly admire).

    If teacher unions are using their position in society to effectively hold the kids to ransom, I’m going to get mad about it.

    If not, I’m happy to broadcast my new-found understanding.

    I see on ratemyteacher.com that you’re very highly thought of by the pupils who’ve commented. Well done.

    One last point: how do you think all other industries manage to measure the performance of their staff?

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