Education Changes – 2008-2015
In the last five years there has been a dramatic shift in Education. Since this government (National) came into power in 2009, they have been non-stop in making wholesale changes across the sector.
There is an old Māori whakataukī that says:
Inā kei te mohio koe ko wai koe, I anga mai koe i hea, kei te mohio koe. Kei te anga atu ki hea.
If you know who you are and where you are from, then you will know where you are going.
What I want to do is take what changes have been made since the start of the National Government, and track these changes to their logical conclusion. By using what changes have been made, we can follow the progress of the GERM in our country.
GERM is the Global Education Reform Movement.
The Government is trying to create a crisis in education and impose a business model on our world class schools. This model, known as the GERM (Global Education Reform Movement) has infected other countries by introducing standardisation, competition and test-based accountability. – NZEI
National’s Education Timeline
- National releases their education policy.
- National: Overhaul NCEA; introduce national literacy and numeracy standards; extend 20-hours early childhood education subsidy to playcentres and kohanga reos; teach more trades in schools and set up five “trade academies”; ensure all 16- and 17-year-olds are in school, work or approved training courses.
ACT: Scrap Education Ministry and replace it with new Education Authority; allow state funding to public or private school of parents’ choice; deregulate schools but require them to be licensed by education authority; move curriculum “back to basics”.The key part of these policies is getting rid of the current education schemes, and replace them with more privatised versions of them. National Standards introduced to help regulate and narrow the curriculum, including going “back to basics” of reading, writing, and maths. Collect and monitor this data in primary school, and use NCEA “overhaul” to position schools against each other, including league tables. Deregulated schools, or Charter schools are to follow very soon after the election as part of ACT’s coalition.
- National elected into government, using MMP to go into coalition with Māori Party and ACT.
- Education (National Standards) Amendment Bill passed under urgency, allowing it to bypass the Education and Science Select Committee where the merits of National Standards could have been debated. Government sets precedence of limited to no consultation with parents or the sector.
Visit NBR.co.nz for more information on government policies from 2008 election.
- Anne Tolley becomes Minister of Education.
- National makes large cuts to Teacher professional development services. This leads to a rise in private companies offering courses for teachers, and schools having to fund their own education development of its staff.
- $35million additional funds budgeted over the next four years for independent (private) schools.
- Education Amendment Bill 2009 introduces the idea of a ‘…body corporate or corporation sole may be appointed as a limited statutory manager or commissioner’
- ‘Consultation’ with the public over National Standards. Data somewhat ignored (38% against, 14% for). Teachers vilified by the media for ‘not getting on board’ with the government policy.
- Changes made to National Administration Guidelines to essentially make National Standards compulsory in all primary schools.
- The Ministry begins promoting teaching and teacher supply initiatives and TeachNZ scholarships, informing overseas teachers of employment opportunities in key shortage areas in New Zealand, and awarding 1,023 scholarships to student teachers to study across the early childhood education, and schooling sectors.
- Schools expected to begin using National Standards from the first day of school.
- Schools that oppose National Standards forced to adopt them through threats of charter rejection, enforced ERO monitoring, or even closure.
- Lesley Longstone appointed as Secretary of Education. Ms. Longstone had been a key figure in the introduction of charter schools in the UK.
- National win general election by a landslide, and are re-elected into Government. Partnership with ACT and Māori Party continue.
- Hekia Parata appointed as Minister of Education.
- Minister of Education Hekia Parata announces policy to increase class sizes in order to be in-line with Treasury to save $43million each year. Continues with precedence of announcing policy with no consultation of the sector. Teachers appeal on force, and show multiple flaws in the numbers suggested by the Minister (such as making exceptions for technical teachers at intermediate schools).
- Ms. Parata makes first mention of performance based pay for teachers as an option.
- Minister of Education Hekia Parata backs down on class size policy, due to incorrect figures presented by Treasury, and from widespread disagreement from teachers, and more importantly, parents. “Ms Parata said the policy had caused “a disproportionate amount of anxiety” for parents and she was responding to that.”.
- Novopay introduced for all teacher’s pay with limited to no trial or testing, despite advice given not to roll out the system which wasn’t ready. Not surprisingly, the system causes widespread issues, with some teachers not getting paid for months on end.
- School Report launched by Fairfax Media to make National Standard data publically available. First comparisons between school’s data begins.
- School closures and mergers in Christchurch announced following the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. Limited to no consultation with those affected.
- The Education Amendment Bill to allow charter schools introduced on October 15, 2012.
- Lesley Longstone resigns after 13 months in the position, sighting a breakdown in relationship with Hekia Parata.
- Education Amendment Bill 2012 passes to allow charter schools to operate with no requirement to register teachers, and for private companies to be involved in the education sector.
- Announcement that the first charter schools will open in 2014.
- Government announces Investing in Education Success. $359million put into education through expert teachers and lead principals to oversee more than one school in an attempt to bring better practise across all schools. Initially accepted by secondary and principal unions. Primary school sector unhappy with the idea. Once again, limited to no consultation with the sector. NZEI negotiates changes with the Ministry.
- First five charter schools open for the school year.
- Government takes over ownership of Novopay. ‘All issues’ finally sorted out, two years after it’s release.
- Removal of teacher elected Teacher’s Council. Rebranded as Education Council, with representatives selected by the Minister of Education.
- Decile ratings changed for many areas around New Zealand.
- Rules around teacher registration changed to align with the Vunerable Children Act 2014, introduced in light of child abuse and indecent assault of children, by teachers and those in authority. Examples: 1. 2. 3. 4.
- PaCT tool being rolled out across the country for schools to ‘opt-in’ and use.
- NZEI announces adjustments to IES proposal and seeks teacher vote.
Where things are headed
Firstly, your guess is as good as mine. All we can do is speculate and take what has happened and take it through to its logical conclusion. We can assume that this government what to turn schooling into a business, and privatise as many assets as it possibly can. The rich will get richer, and the poor even poorer. These are some of the natural conclusions of the moves that have been made in the reform of education in this country.
- PaCT to become compulsory for schools to use to assess student achievement in Years 1-8, essentially becoming a Nationwide assessment.
- PaCT data to be collected by the Ministry, and ‘failing’ students linked with their teacher so they can be monitored.
- Teacher performance becomes linked to student achievement (or lack there of).
- Performance pay introduced as a ‘reward’ for good teachers.
- ‘Bad’ teachers ‘weaned’ out through lower performance pay, and increasingly difficult registration regulations and expectations. Some of these ‘bad’ teachers, however, will be ‘good’ teachers who have struggling students in their class and who aren’t getting ‘good’ results according to PaCT.
- IES to make schools with ‘failing’ students adopt ‘successful’ school principal and lead teachers. Aligns with performance pay, and the removal of ‘bad’ teachers and principals from the school.
- ‘Good’ principals to manage and run more than one school. Much like a CEO of a company.
- School funding changes, along with IES, where groups of schools receive ‘bulk funding’ or ‘pooled resources time and money‘. (See 5.)
- League tables introduced and made publically available through the media for parents to send their children to ‘successful’ schools, and avoid ‘failing’ schools; even though the quality of the teaching may be the same or even better. Schools funding also begins to be based on results of Fairfax Media’s “School Report“.
- Failing schools to be merged into charter schools with private ‘managers’. More privatisation of the education sector.
- Experienced teachers on highest pay packet to be replaced with young, inexperienced teachers on a lower salary, to save money in the budget.
- Increase of class sizes to be rolled out.
In my opinion there are very few ‘bad’ teachers in education in New Zealand. When I make reference to ‘bad’ teachers in this post, I am making it from the perspective of the government, who would have us think that any teacher who has poor achievement results in relation to National Standards is a ‘bad’ teacher.
In addition to this, I fail to see how teachers can be assessed in their ability to teach by the results of their students. I have had some students from struggling situations and home life who have made amazing progress in a year, but are still below where the Government reckon’s they should be according to the ‘aspirational’ National Standards. Furthermore, I have had some students who have made no progress, but I would challenge the best teacher in the country to do a better job and get that student to be At the National Standard, while still maintaining the teaching of the rest of the class as well. Therefore, this definition of ‘bad’ or ‘good’ teacher is completely flawed.
Some may call this post ‘scare-mongering’; except it isn’t. The majority of it is laying out the facts, and then extrapolating them to their natural conclusion based on the precedence set by this government, and its desire to reform education in this country.