Should be easier to sack

Quote of the day:

. . . Policy announcements will need companion steps to help them succeed.

For instance, National’s plan to improve leadership and teaching needs to ensure employment law enables prompt pathways for dismissing principals or teachers who are not able to lift their performance sufficiently. Current arrangements are cumbersome and do not act in the interests of children. . .  Linwood Avenue School’s principal Gerard Direen.

It isn’t only schools which find it difficult to sack people who aren’t up to the job they’re employed to do.

26 Responses to Should be easier to sack

  1. TraceyS says:

    This is an article with a positive and hopeful tone which I appreciate. The following comment I can really relate to:

    “Labour’s focus on more resources in the first five years of life is a positive step. We know how crucial these years are to brain development, emotional wellbeing and positive pathways through schooling.. However we need to ask whether giving money to adults always leads to better things for kids. ”

    We certainly do. Because proposals advocating schools taking on responsibility for feeding kids is a kind of admission that some parents aren’t taking proper responsibility. So how will an extra $60 a week make any difference to that?


  2. robertguyton says:

    The Right is the polite party, right? Their people don’t resort to name-calling, right? Ad hominems are resorted-to as a desperate last gasp strategy by the Left, right?
    Key calls Cunliffe an “idiot” on radio.
    You’ll all swing in and condemn him for his petty name-calling – right?

    Yeah, Right


  3. TraceyS says:

    Robert, I got annoyed with you for calling me names when you got tired of the debate. Anyone else who gave me that treatment would likely receive the same response!!

    You are a fine one to growl about name-calling. Try not doing it for a prolonged period. Bite your tongue (or fingertips) every time you feeling like dishing out an insult. Then you can take the moral high ground.


  4. robertguyton says:

    Growl? Ha ha ha ha ha!
    I’m not even mildly annoyed. Nor am I Prime Minister. You’ll be joining Ele in condemning John Key for his petty name-calling, yes?
    And I may have missed it, but your response to Murray McCully’s confirmation that Cunliffe was correct and John Key was blowing? I’ve not seen it. Must be pending. Thanks, btw, for batting-down Richard’s claim that I was bullying you. He was wrong.
    Name calling is such a cheap shot, isn’t it! Key should be above that, as PM of our country, but he’s not. He’s kind of spiteful in that way, isn’t he.


  5. TraceyS says:

    Look Robert, if David Cunliffe comes over all hurt and offended, with sad puppy dog eyes then sure, I’ll feel an element of empathy for him (but still won’t give him my vote!).

    If he takes it on the chin (no pun intended) he might win some respect from me.

    Re Richard’s comment – you try hard to be a bully but you are not very good at it. And please don’t take that as a challenge to up-skill 🙂


  6. robertguyton says:

    Look, Tracey. My point has nothing to do with David Cunliffe’s reaction. I’m asking if you are comfortable or even supportive of the Prime Minister name-calling, calling someone “an idiot”. It’s not ‘Prime Ministerial” behaviour, in my opinion. Things may have changed. Name calling might be okay under John Key, I’m asking for your view on that. I suppose if you support Key calling members of Parliament “idiot” in public, then you’ll surely be okay with ordinary people like me or Mr E or Andrei or Ele even, doing the same on, say, this blog. I don’t imagine you’d support a teacher calling one of her students an idiot in front of the class without expecting the children to adopt that behaviour, so I wonder why you aren’t decrying Key for his un-leaderish behaviour?


  7. robertguyton says:

    And McCully’s statement? What’s your take on that?


  8. TraceyS says:

    I enjoy an argument better without name-calling, Robert, you know that. But I still converse with you, and would with other name-callers, because it’s evidence you/they are human.

    And I think we like that in this country, that is, people we can relate to because they might be a bit like ourselves.


  9. TraceyS says:

    Limited time to comment this week, Robert, so this one drops off. Sorry, I know you’d like to have a long chat about nothing of very much relevance.


  10. robertguyton says:

    I’ll take it then, Tracey, that you concede that Key’s “idiot” claim was spiteful and unsuitable for a Prime Minister, and that Murray McCully’s statement supported David Cunliffe and showed John Key to be untruthful. I’m sorry that you haven’t the time to discuss these things. I’ll soldier-on none-the-less.


  11. TraceyS says:

    How would it be if I politely suggested you “soldier-on” in some other corner of the internet? It’s not as if there is a limit to the opportunities present. I’m sure you wouldn’t be offended if I made such a suggestion. And it would allow comment to flow more freely here so would be quite a practically-driven, as opposed to personally critical, request.


  12. Dave Kennedy says:

    “It isn’t only schools which find it difficult to sack people who aren’t up to the job their employed to do.”

    Should it be easy to sack someone? For most people a job is a life line to ensuring that they can survive comfortably and to end a persons employment is a serious thing. Once a person has been sacked it becomes an impediment to gaining a new job, so the consequences are far reaching.

    I am also aware that some employers get lumbered with an employee who is more of a liability than an asset and yet a quick sacking is never an option. Many employers get frustrated through not being able to sack someone instantly and yet if they had a sound agreement and followed good process, it can generally be achieved relatively quickly.

    Also most employment disputes are not clear cut or one-sided and if we made it very easy to sack people some real injustices would occur.

    Teaching is especially hard and to read some comments one would think that a large number of teachers are incompetent and should be sacked, but what seems clear on the face of it is never straight forward. Other than the 0.01 of teachers who may abuse children (and should never be in a classroom) how do we determine the teachers who should be sacked, here are some scenarios similar to ones I have been involved with:

    A young male teacher employed in a rural school (because he is male) but disappoints the community because he won’t coach rugby and actually has a passion for the Arts. He gets bullied by parents who hold a public meeting (I have actually attended two of these) to get rid of him and use largely trumped up charges to justify a sacking.

    A beginning teacher who has not become fully registered and (because she has had a series of short term relieving positions) has had little oversight or advice and guidance, struggles to manage a large class of children with many behavioural and learning needs. The school is in a low decile, hard to staff area.

    An experienced teacher of proven competence becomes a father of small children and suffers numerous sleepless nights as his wife is struggling to cope with post natal depression. They have a large mortgage and are struggling with debt on one salary. The teacher, in a moment of frustration, when dealing with some extreme behaviours makes an inappropriate comment that is overheard by a number of parents who want him sacked.

    Sacking people with little process or regard to fair treatment is abhorrent and I have found that for every story i have heard from an employer regarding a substandard employee, I can name as many if not more, where the employer is at fault (I’ve heard some shockers). Interestingly in my experience employers who employ their workers carefully, provide good training and support and have sound processes in place, rarely have problems.


  13. robertguyton says:

    Not offended at all, Tracey and I fully understand that you find my polite questions about your Leader’s behaviour ‘awkward’ and impossible to answer without agreeing with me, as embarrassing as that might be. He was spiteful and un-Prime Minister-like, wasn’t he! You’ll note that I’m asking about someone else’s behaviour here, Key’s, not yours. As for McCully, I’m asking you specifically, as it was you who made the (erroneous) declaration about Key’s (erroneous) claims)


  14. robertguyton says:

    Oh dear!
    Now I read that John Key has been playing drinking games in public.
    That’s great role-modelling.
    What a guy!


  15. jabba says:

    bOb .. you are an idiot


  16. Denny says:

    There is some really good stuff in the article quoted. Let’s not get sidetracked to something other than the topic of education, which is what the article quoted is about. Employment difficulties is only one aspect the author raised. He made a strong connection between poverty and educational outcomes, and it seems to me as I read the article that the author sees this as the greater challenge. He makes another important point that because one kid comes from an impoverished background and has a great educational outcome, it doesn’t mean that others will. He likens it to one kid running across the road and not getting hit by a bus doesn’t mean that other kids will survive the crossing. The author is suggesting that the Greens education policy aims to address poverty and he supports it. This is worthy of more debate. Thanks for the post and leading me to the article


  17. Dave Kennedy says:

    You are right about the article, Denny, It is indeed worthy of a read as the writer understands the complexities of providing a strong public education system.

    My response was to Ele’s post, quoting a small part of the original opinion piece, which suggested that it should be easier to sack people. Many teachers are being given the impression that this Government largely blames under-achievement on poor teaching and that we have too many under-performing teachers. There is some support for the view that sacking bad teachers will be a big part of the solution. While there are obviously a number of teachers who will never be good at the job, the issue is not as widespread as many think and there are serious dangers in having witch hunts against teachers who may appear to be struggling.

    National’s ideas of supporting expert principals and teachers to support has some merit but the fact that they have invested so much on this one area is ignoring the complexities that Gerard Direen refers to. A combination of aspects of within the Green’s, Labour’s and National’s policies, with proper investment may be the best approach of all.


  18. TraceyS says:

    I purposefully refrained from commenting on that aspect, Dave, because it is far too raw and personal. A teacher of one of my kids made life for the child, and indeed the family, a living nightmare for an entire year. Not just a bad experience now relegated to the past either because it did immeasurable harm. By the end of the year, and following my many complaints and visits to higher up, the suggestion was that nothing could be done to help because “mother would not accept…” the label that they in their unqualified opinions wanted to pin on said child as a way of letting themselves off the hook.

    We are this close to opting out of state secondary (not primary) education. I will not tolerate the substantial taxes we pay ruining my child’s self-esteem. Only one of those thing can we, as parents, do anything about and it is not the taxes. It is not just poor kids that are struggling in the system. I could give you a long list of well-educated, well-resourced families with children who are failing, as mine did, to achieve National Standards and are miserable because of it. And I’m sick of hearing that National Standards are the problem. Anyone with a miniscule amount of social science education or training (and that should include teachers) will be well aware that standardised testing of complex human variables is a naturally faulted process but for many applications is still very necessary and useful.

    I would suggest that the MoE needs to consider how standardised testing becomes a barrier for children with learning disabilities. But in the meantime there is no need for schools or teachers to try and weed out kids with learning difficulties whom they know will always have trouble ‘achieving’ just so they look like they’re doing their job well.


  19. robertguyton says:

    “Limited time to comment this week…”

    I see.


  20. TraceyS says:

    Always able to find a little extra time for issues that actually matter.

    Reply to my comments on education by all means. However, your recent labeling of me as “unable to learn” will colour them I’m afraid.

    You could always try and prove me wrong by offering something of value. You can do it, I’m sure, despite the company here.


  21. robertguyton says:

    We’ll let the ‘was Key telling an un-truth’ and ‘is playing drinking games responsible behaviour in a PM’ questions go, Tracey, as too demanding, to time consuming, too uncomfortable.
    The education question is being very ably presented by Dave, so I’ll leave that to him.

    ” standardised testing becomes a barrier for children with learning disabilities”

    Agreed. National Standards are a farce in light of that aspect alone.


  22. Dave Kennedy says:

    I’m a parent myself, Tracey, and my own children have experienced teachers who have probably done more harm than good. But on the whole both of them received a solid education and they regard many of their teachers with some fondness.

    I would never say that there aren’t teachers who give the rest a bad name but often the reason many still teach is because the systems that do exist to manage such situations are not used well.

    I still wouldn’t want anybody being sacked without a fair process and this can already happen at times as I described earlier. Sometimes there are teachers who are preforming badly, not because they aren’t good teachers but the circumstances they find themselves in effects their performance.


  23. Paranormal says:

    Being sacked is a natural part of development if you are unable to cut the mustard. Employers don’t want to sack good employees.

    How about the older new entrant teacher with years of experience that bullies her children Dave? She couldn’t be sacked and eventually made her way to teachers college to stuff up even more children. Because of her my 9 year old daughter had a reading age of 7 and has only just caught up.

    You and your leftist thugs at NZEI are all about power and don’t give a real thought for what is important in children’s education.


  24. Paranormal says:

    Tracey – your experience mirrors ours and others in my family. One I posted above before reading yours. Surprising just how common it is in our ‘world class education system’.


  25. Paranormal says:

    Bullshit. The system that you champion protects dud teachers. That’s just how the NZEI wants it.


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