Teachers deserve a democratic Education Council

Teachers around New Zealand reeling from the news that their registration fees could more than double will be even angrier that the National Government has removed their ability to have any say about who sits on the Council that sets those fees, Labour's Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. 

"National removed all elected representation from the Education Council, making teachers one of the few highly regulated professions to be governed by a body appointed exclusively by Ministers.

"The Council are the appropriate body to set registration fees, but their mandate to do so has been seriously undermined by the lack of democracy in the way they are selected.

"This week in Parliament I will table an amendment to the Education Act that will give teachers the right to elect the majority of members on the Education Council.

"My amendment puts teachers back in control of their own regulatory body and I challenge all parties in Parliament who profess to support teachers to vote in favour of it.

"Labour has been very clear from the outset that one of our top priorities in the education portfolio will be putting more autonomy and trust back in the hands of the teaching profession. My amendment this week is one small step towards that goal,” says Chris Hipkins.


Showing 4 reactions

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • commented 2017-04-22 14:32:22 +1200
    Claire Laverty. None of my comments were misleading.

    Any organisation who is consulting on it’s role funds it. Even a school consulting with parents on something to do with the school funds this themselves. Would you suggest the Education Council goes to GoFundMe?

    At least five of the nominations must come from the teaching profession, so the Minister has to choose some Council members from teachers that teachers themselves want. Your argument that just because some of them are registered teachers doesn’t automatically make them good representatives of the profession is a null argument. The exact same thing can be said of teachers who are voted directly onto the Council if the Minister wasn’t involved at all. Are you suggesting that they aren’t good teachers, or that the Chair isn’t a good principal of Sylvia Park School?

    Of course it the fees being paid by the MoE has happened only once; the agreement only came in quite recently. At no point did I suggest otherwise. Nor did I say it would continue because no one knows as the PPTA and MoE haven’t started their next pay round. What I did say is that it is an employment matter and has nothing to do with the Education Council. This is a matter for the PPTA to take up with the MoE.

    The PPTA does do a lot of work regarding professional matters for secondary teachers. It does not however make them the professional body for teachers. The clue is in their name – Post Primary Teachers’ Association. They represent secondary teachers, not primary or early childhood teachers. Therefore they are not the professional body of teachers, or are you suggesting non-secondary teachers aren’t worthy of a professional body?

    All your points are invalid.
  • commented 2017-04-16 21:33:09 +1200
    Philip Martin: There are a few comments you make that seem misleading.

    “It could be argued that the professional body should have a say in the standards for people who want to become teachers” Yes, but being consulted is not the same as having to FUND the review!

    “The Education Council being comprised of those elected by teachers. Chris Hipkins seems to be addressing this in his amendment” – Yes, but this depends on it PASSING. The fact that all 9 members are appointed by the Minister of Education raises serious questions for me about the independence of the body. Yes, I am aware that some of the council are registered teachers, but this doesn’t automatically make them good representatives of the profession.

    “At the moment teachers in primary and secondary schools have their fees paid by the Ministry of Education (MoE)”. This has been done ONCE. There is no guarantee that it will continue, therefore the level of fees is of great interest to teachers.

    “The PPTA is the union for secondary teachers. Unions and professional bodies are two different things and shouldn’t be confused”. Except that PPTA is not just a union. It is a professional association and carries out a lot of the research, consultation and promotional functions that one would expect of a professional body.
  • commented 2017-04-16 11:21:46 +1200
    Claire Laverty: There are a few misconceptions in your email which hopefully are addressed in the following:

    The Teachers’ [sic] Council was a regulatory body and ceased existence on 31 June 2015. The Education Council is a professional body and came into existence 1 July 2015. It isn’t simply a name change; legislation shows the difference. The Education Council, as a professional body, has a much wider remit and therefore needs funding to achieve it. It does not exist only for teacher registration.

    It could be argued that the professional body should have a say in the standards for people who want to become teachers.

    The Education Council being comprised of those elected by teachers. Chris Hipkins seems to be addressing this in his amendment. At the moment the Education Minister appoints all 9 members of the Education Council. At least five must come from nominations and at least five must be registered teachers with a current practising certificate. The Education Council governing board currently has five registered teachers with a practising certificate, which includes the Chair of the Council who is a primary school principal.

    In the consultation paper the comparison with other professional bodies includes nurses, midwives, occupational therapists, psychologists, physiotherapists, dentists, doctors, solicitors, accountants and engineers. Some of them likely can claim back the fees back through their tax as an expense. At the moment teachers in primary and secondary schools have their fees paid by the Ministry of Education (MoE). Some ECE centres pay the practising certificate fee. This is an employment matter which is outside the remit of the Education Council.

    There are a large number of teachers who pay union fees. The PPTA is the union for secondary teachers. Unions and professional bodies are two different things and shouldn’t be confused. You are correct in saying that the Teacher’s [sic] Council is not the professional body for teachers. When it existed, it was a regulatory body. The Education Council is the professional body.
  • commented 2017-04-12 22:15:07 +1200
    There are a whole bunch of issues with the recent actions of the Teachers’ Council. Firstly, a lot of the reasoning for the funding increases are nothing to do with registration. Teachers are being asked to pay for things like setting the standards for initial teacher education – this should be the government’s responsibility.

    The Council claims to be the champion of teachers. If this is the case, it should be comprised of those elected by teachers.

    The fees hike was also justified by commenting on what “comparable professional bodies” paid. The comparison was made to lawyers and engineers professional bodies. This ignores the fact that some of them can claim the fee back on their tax (teachers cannot) and ignores the fact that the vast majority of teachers pay a lot of money to their professional body PPTA. Teacher’s Council is NOT our professional body.