Need for professional body to speak on education

Karl Du Fresne has worked out what was wrong with Ministry of Education head Lesley Longstone saying New Zealand’s education isn’t world class:

. . . Had she spent more time here, she would understand that only teachers and their unions are allowed to say there’s anything wrong with the education system, and that only they are entitled to define what’s wrong and what’s right. Longstone riled the teachers by drawing attention to the stubbornly high proportion of under-performing Maori and Pacific Island students. Teachers are allowed to highlight this, but only as a way of exposing government failings and condemning inequity in the system. When they are not focusing on the system’s failings, teachers are forever talking up our internationally high achievement rankings (which Longstone acknowledged), for which they like to take credit.

What upsets the teachers when the head of the Ministry of Education brings up the subject of under-achievement is that it threatens to turn the debate in a direction they don’t like. When teachers talk about under-achievement, it’s with a view to leaving the system unchanged but having more money ploughed into it: more teachers at the chalkface, higher pay (to encourage more people to take up the profession) and smaller class sizes. But when Longstone brings the subject up, in the teachers’ eyes it can only be because the government wants to soften us up for some wicked neoliberal experiment such as charter schools.

How much simpler everything would be if we forgot foolhardy alternative ideas and left it to teachers to control the education debate. That’s the natural way of things. The sooner the English interloper comes to terms with this peculiar fact of New Zealand education, the sooner we can all get back to normal.

Doctors have professional bodies which speak on general health matters as distinct from a union which speaks on industrial matters.

When education is in the media it is almost always the union which is quoted, confusing professional matters with industrial ones.

Teachers are badly in need of a professional body which speaks on education without the left-wing industrial bias which reduces the authority of union utterances.



One Response to Need for professional body to speak on education

  1. robertguyton says:

    Longstone’s stupid comment got panned by media commentators across the board at the time she said it, as did you, Ele, when you re-broadcast her view, but here you are again, having another go!
    Quite sad.

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