Better’s better than more

National’s policy of improving teaching quality has more support than Labour’s plan to increase the number of teachers.

New Zealanders would rather money was spent on improving teaching standards than on reducing class sizes, a Herald-DigiPoll survey reveals.

Education has become a political battleground before September’s election, with both major parties promising to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on it.

Asked about their priorities, more than 60 per cent of those polled said they would spend money on trying to improve teaching standards rather than cutting class sizes.

Labour has included reducing class sizes in its election policies.

Another of its policies, a promise to pay schools which do not ask parents for donations, gained support in the poll.

National has pledged $359 million for a scheme that would pay the best teachers and principals more.

Labour countered by promising to use that money to instead hire 2000 more teachers and reduce class sizes.

Asked about those policies, 61 per cent of those polled said the money was better spent on trying to improve teaching standards.

Thirty-five per cent thought it should be used to cut class sizes. . .

Education Minister Hekia Parata said the survey showed parents recognised the worth in the initiative.

“Parents have great knowledge about what makes a difference for their kids’ learning, and it is about the quality of learning that happens in their child’s classroom.”

If there was enough money for both better teachers and smaller classes that would be ideal.

But while we have to make a choice, it’s better to have better teachers than more.

National’s policy was designed to get the best educational outcome. Labour’s was written by the unions who put themselves and teachers ahead of education.

Labour’s policy would make a very small difference in class size, National’s would make a significant difference to the quality of teaching and that will make the most positive difference to pupils.

11 Responses to Better’s better than more

  1. Dave Kennedy says:

    “National’s policy was designed to get the best educational outcome. Labour’s was written by the unions who put themselves and teachers ahead of education.”

    Ele this is a blatant misrepresentation of the facts. National’s education policy is all about paying some principals and teachers $20 – $50,000 more a year for leaving their schools and classrooms for 2 days a week to work in other schools. NZEI have actually put kids first and have questioned spending so much on teachers when the biggest difference could be made by employing more teacher’s aids, properly funding Special Education and restoring our advisory service.

    Our sacked advisors used to provide great professional support and a good teacher would make the most difference by remaining in their class.

    Often good teachers have very demanding classes and finding a capable reliever to replace them two days a week would be very difficult. A few years ago I had a class with a large number of children with behaviour problems. There were a number of times when I had to apologise for being unable to attend important meetings because a reliever couldn’t be found who could effectively manage my class. When I was on NZEI National Executive we always had to put our class and school first.

    It would be very easy to improve teacher standards if it became a job with high status. In Finland teachers are considered to have greater status than doctors and have to have a post graduate qualification. They have around 6,000 applicants for 600 training positions a year and can choose from the best.


  2. jabba says:

    so a Labour/Green Govt will pull 2000 quality teachers out of their bums and all will be ok .. brilliant


  3. TraceyS says:

    Dave, what a gem you are! You call Ele out for a supposed misrepresentation and then launch straight into one yourself.

    Engaging – not!


  4. TraceyS says:

    Jabba – there are lots of teachers looking for work at the moment. The focus of Labour’s policy is teacher employment. Very transparent.


  5. Dave Kennedy says:

    Jabba, the Greens plan to restore some of the $400,000,000 that this government ripped from early childhood education and make access to this more equitable. We believe in spending in an area where we can really make a difference (according to research and evidence) 🙂


  6. Southern says:

    stuff the extra teachers, just give bulk funding to the schools and let them set the pay rates. Then true equitable teaching would happen, those teachers who do well and are respected in school and the community would do well, the crap ones would be….. well who cares what they do as long as they are not teaching my kids.


  7. Dave Kennedy says:

    “just give bulk funding to the schools and let them set the pay rates.”
    Southern, perhaps we should do that for doctors and nurses too? And how would we identify the crap teachers? National Standards? Not all classes are equal, what teacher would want to risk their career by teaching troubled kids? The best education systems are where teachers are well trained, well supported and work collaboratively, name one system where bulk funding works? I have also seen beginning teachers given classes beyond their experience and then pushed out because they couldn’t cope. At one time we had proper career structures where good teachers moved up with experiencing and proving their skills and an advisory service provided professional development to teachers and skills that matched their needs.

    Your knee jerk approach to education displays an ignorance of what the teaching and learning actually involves.


  8. Paranormal says:

    DK you are really sad in your promoting of the status quo to ensure the continuation of union power. That equates to ongoing student underachievement.

    Interesting you have found a way to vilify the spreading of best practice simply because it may break union control of the teaching ‘profession’.


  9. Southern says:

    Mines not knee jerk Dave, I was brought up by two teachers, my sister is a teacher, my wife trained as one, I spent many years working for a PTE writing courses and tutoring and have served time as a trustee for a school, so knee jerk, naaa just the usual sanctimonious green reply, “if they don’t agree with you, then put them down” – passive aggressive – your mate bOb is an expert at it.

    Yep, there are rouge kids and rouge classes, just like there are rouge employees, rouge contractors and rouge customers yet funny enough, there are millions of successful businesses around the world coping quite nicely with these unfair intrusions, and they are paying the great employees great wages.

    BTW, I don’t have a problem with the medical field being paid on how well they perform their job.


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