It’s not just Parata versus teachers

Teachers always seem to be fighting against National, Hekia Parata is just the latest minister to come up against them (and hasn’t fared well).

Whale Oil has pointed out that Robin Duff recently declared war on the New Zealand government:

“PPTA will now be able to focus its energies on fighting the government’s agenda of undermining New Zealand’s public education system.

“We will campaign actively against the imposition of charter schools and the constant reductions created by quarterly funding and demand accountability for the Novopay and Christchurch Renewal Plan debacles,”

A comment at The Standard hints at what teacher unions may wish for:

If I was an education union leader I would be dropping in for a quiet chat with Hekia over the break.I would make her an offer.“Do as we tell you for the next couple of years and we will keep you out of trouble.”

But maybe not, the teacher unions seem to like trying to destroy National. Some really see National as their enemy – ironically accusing Government of deliberately harming education. Another Standard comment:

Perhaps Parata is doing exactly what she was put there for: to destroy
and degrade public education. We know the Tories want to privatise. We
know the private providers can’t compete with the existing system: the
quality is too high for them. Solution: reduce the quality.

That’s bizarre old world political and class paranoia.

But Parata has been crap. She has been fighting against more than her own incompetence, she has been fighting a wall of opposition from the education sector. She doesn’t seem anywhere near capable of dealing with that.

But if Parata is replaced any new National Minister of Education will have difficulty with the ongoing political battle that eacher unions seem intent on being involved in.

The kids seem to take a back seat as the adults fight over the steering wheel.

Culture of violence in schools

New Zealand’s culture of violence is spread through much of our society. That it is apparently protected by schools trying to protect their reputations at the cost of teacher and pupil safety is, if true, disgraceful.

The secret story of violence in schools

A teacher is punched in the face, another is shoved in the chest and their lunch stolen, one is regularly verbally abused while another has their car vandalised.  But at the schools’ request, none of it is reported to police.

Post-Primary Teachers Association president Robin Duff called the situation “intolerable”.

He said, in the PPTA News, the teachers’ union could not continue to be “complicit in this conspiracy of silence” that concealed the level of violence within schools.

He said competitiveness in schools gave them an incentive to hide issues of violence towards teachers and staff, and some schools didn’t want police involved because it could lead to negative publicity.

The national executive was “particularly concerned” to learn that some schools were actually forbidding teachers from reporting instances to police.

This is similar to families who keep violence secret to avoid exposing their reputation or mana to scrutiny. But…

The Secondary Principals’ Association was reluctant to support the  PPTA’s move.

President Patrick Walsh said he had not seen any evidence of a conspiracy of silence, nor was he aware of principals banning teachers from reporting assaults to police.

An open inquiry would find out if he’s right or not.

Walsh said some schools could be worried by bad publicity associated with assaults, but principals would be foolish to cover up violence against teachers because it could result in a personal grievance case against the school.

But there are serious claims that it’s happening.

Until we deal with our violence problems openly and honestly the culture will continue to ruin people’s lives – can it will continue to cost some lives.

Dirty school secrets, like dirty family secrets, need to be exposed and addressed. This takes courage, but it’s something we as a country need to do.