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Saturday, September 18, 2010

An idiot's guide to exterminating state education in ten simple steps 

An idiot's guide to exterminating state education in ten simple steps:

1) Give the Minister of Education portfolio to your least intelligent MP – a woman known around the capital as ‘Chocolate teapot’ Tolley. Ensure that she has no experience of educational practice, pedagogical theory, or knowledge of the sector.
2) Tell the state education sector that there is no money in the budget, then give $36m to wealthy private schools.
3) Ignore the genuine crisis within state education and manufacture a whole new one around achievement, so that voters are distracted and misinformed, and dogmatic changes can be pushed through without the support of teachers, boards of trustees, school managers, academics or anyone else who actually understands education.
4) Enforce changes to the sector based on populist, vote-winning slogans and initiatives that have failed internationally, are not backed by peer-reviewed research and therefore not supported by the sector.
5) Wage war on the sector by taking an arrogant approach to pushing through these changes against all the best advice of those with the most experience and knowledge.
6) Undermine the work teachers do by entering negotiations in bad faith; removing hard-won advances in conditions and terms of employment and proposing an effective pay cut for teachers.
7) Ensure that while conditions deteriorate and pay is reduced, workloads increase and class-sizes grow.
8) Ignore concerns about recruitment and retention.
9) Ignore agencies working within the international marketplace who are actively recruiting New Zealand teachers every day.
10) Continue to repeat simplistic soundbites and one-line rhetoric in attacking teachers as greedy, mischievous and unprofessional, instead of working with the sector to address genuine concerns and negotiate an acceptable solution.

If you are as concerned about the decline of state education in New Zealand as I am, please copy and paste this, publish it, hand it out, stick it up etc etc etc.

Neil Watts

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