web analytics
The Standard
Advertising

LB: Executive Principals and National’s Education Dystopia

Written By: - Date published: 8:34 am, February 27th, 2014 - 18 comments
Categories: education, greens, schools - Tags:

Local Bodies put this post up last week. I see that Dave Kennedy, aka the author bsprout (no relation to The Sprout), has also announced that he is the Green’s candidate for Invercargill. Good luck. With the retirement of the National incumbent, the seat is far more wide open now.

If you asked teachers and school communities what would make the most difference in helping their kids and lifting achievement, especially in lower decile communities, I know what the responses would be. They would ask for greater access to special education services and RTLBs, more teacher aids to provide support for their high needs children and have our once amazing advisory services reinstated. They would ask for more time to organise high interest programmes and less time on data collection and report writing. Teachers would also like to have their professional knowledge respected and greater autonomy to decide themselves how to meet the needs of those in their class. Having nurses and social workers available to deal with the constant health and welfare issues that confront many teachers as they try to teach would also be useful.

When John Key announced the Government’s plan of spending a whopping $359 million on education it was received with a sort of stunned incredulity. For years there was never enough money to pay support staff a living wage or fund our special education services fully and suddenly we were presented with a significant windfall.

Elements of what Key presented were similar to what the profession had been wanting for a number of years, recognition of great teachers, greater collaboration and career pathways, but the government’s version was a little different to the profession’s. This wasn’t a comprehensive policy that also addressed the complexities of teaching and learning across different communities but a model of a new leadership structure and one that gave huge financial rewards to an elite few.

What the National led Government proposes is a shift away from the self managed Tommorrow’s Schools to Ministry led ‘Executive Principals’ selected to do their bidding. These principal’s (most likely drawn from the secondary sector) will oversee clusters of around ten schools and will appoint expert and lead teachers to work in those schools under their direction. Ministry selection panels will be appointing these principals who have a commitment to the Government’s data driven National Standards and as such will be under the same gagging clause as others who work for government ministries. This will effectively shut down much of the professional opposition to future changes and will separate school leadership even more from their teaching colleagues.

There is some vague semblance of consultation with the profession around these new roles but when you consider that it generally takes many years of collaboration, research and trials to develop sound educational change, the ten weeks that the Government has allowed in this case is laughable. I am guessing there will be few changes allowed to the actual roles but some input will be grudgingly accepted to the manner of implementation, as occurred with the introduction of National Standards.

There will be an even greater distinction between public and private education from now on. Private schools will continue to receive even greater funding and support for their elite students and will enjoy a high level of autonomy (as will the newly introduced Charter Schools). Public Schools, on the other hand, will become data driven institutions where their leadership will be expected to deliver Ministry driven programmes centered on literacy and numeracy. I can predict that once the Executive Principals (EPs) are appointed the Government will eventually save money from the initial investment by applying a business model to schooling. The EPs will most likely develop into CEOs and all other principals in their cluster will lose their management roles and become lead teachers. The many school boards will probably become merged into one governance body that will oversee all the schools in the cluster. The savings will be considerable but each school will lose their identity as they will have to conform to the vision of each EP, a little like franchised businesses.

You may think that this is a cynical exaggeration of what the government has presented but we only need to look at how National Standards and Charter Schools were introduced, with the total disregard of professional advice, to see the logic of what I have described. This Government clearly supports the GERM agenda that has corrupted public education in Australia, England and the US and we are only experiencing what has already happened there.

Few conservative governments understand education and the value of professional knowledge and the treatment of the Christchurch schools revealed a total disregard of the importance of communities. The complexities of natural human development and the flexibility necessary to meet the individual needs of children is also completely beyond them. They do understand inputs and outputs, spreadsheets of data and commercial competition. Applying this thinking and understanding to education is a logical outcome and the proliferation of ‘one size fits all’ models. Sadly, once again, our most vulnerable children will not receive the sort of support they really need and inequalities will continue to grow.

18 comments on “LB: Executive Principals and National’s Education Dystopia”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    National’s standards? Gone by lunchtime.

    Charter schools – closed or compulsorily acquired without compensation. No compromise. Promise to do this every single time the right tries to privatise or otherwise interfere in education. For the children.

    Let teachers teach.

    • miravox 1.1

      National’s standards? Gone by lunchtime Yes

      Charter schools – closed or compulsorily acquired without compensation. No compromise. Promise to do this every single time the right tries to privatise or otherwise interfere in education. Yes

      For the children, Let teachers teach Yes

  2. One Anonymous Bloke 2

    The new management structure looks like a tool for direct political interference in public education (Uncle Joe Stalin would be proud) while funding private schools where privilege can be nurtured, entrenching an “us and them” mentality.

    Odious.

  3. ianmac 3

    Well written and captures the essence of the problems confronting the sector.

    I suspect that this new model would fit the Secondary Schools better but is fraught with problems especially in deciding what a good teacher is. A Mr Tom Parsons Principal Queen Charlotte College was one of the party who visited Hong Kong and Singapore to suss out their approaches to the Leadership program that then became ours. He is a vigorous supporter of the plan but again it is from the Secondary sector where subjects taught are sharply defined.
    And $359,000,000 to spend? What a waste!!!

  4. KJT 4

    I doubt if there will be savings.

    These “executive principals” will, no doubt have to have “executive” salaries, and like similar executives elsewhere, will require a well paid administrative staff of lesser “executives” to do their work for them.

    The “savings” will be as illusory as Bradfords “lower power prices”.

    The “great man” executive model does not even work well in the private sector.
    http://kjt-kt.blogspot.co.nz/2011/04/kia-ora-corporatism-and-neo-liberalism.html
    “Many corporations and State or private enterprises run despite management, not because of them. In fact the constant parade of new brooms trying to make a name for themselves, with rapid changes and cost cutting, cause competent staff to resign and demoralise the rest”.

    Meanwhile. Teaching initiatives that have been proven to work, such as remedial reading, Teacher aids, and support staff will be starved of funding as usual, while the well researched student centred, new curriculum, will continue to be sidelined by idealogical failures, copied from the USA and UK.

  5. KJT 5

    Just what Teaching needs. More supervision, managing, “executives” and bureaucrats.

  6. greywarbler 6

    The future is in providing services we have been told. Our education system is to be limited by National Standards programs planned as suitable for service workers no doubt.

    And employment opportunities are to be looked for in supplying call centre workers. Well educated, low salaries, English speaking make NZ an attractive world centre for northern hemisphere businesses particularly.

    Whoopee. That is what we have to hope for. A battery hen existence, virtually chained to your seat and your output constantly monitored. Experience of an acquaintance of French conditions for software programmers had them lined up facing two long walls facing their computers in a cell-like room with a window at one end a door at the other, where you could escape! But they would still be receiving reasonable pay. Call centre workers have the attraction of low wages as part of their allure. So sexy being poor and stuffed!

    And catch this heard on Radionz – an excoriating rant on poverty (in NZ?) and ‘judge me’. The Houso Kid. Laurie May an Oz performance poet. Poetry slams in NZ are being run here by Laurie, one already in Hamilton and one to come in Wellington so look out for it!!!
    Laurie May at Poetry in Motion
    Heaven Pizza, Wellington
    Wed 5 Mar 7:00pm
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon
    10.05 Feature: Laurie May – Alice Springs slam poet

  7. dv 7

    AND has anyone seen any cost for covering the teachers out for 2 days a week?

  8. captain hook 8

    Half the trouble in New Zealand education would be fixed by raising teachers pay and attracting more intelligent people and stopping the brain drain.
    Its that simple.
    throwing money away on establishments for religious nutbars and idiotes who think they know everything is a complete waste of time and effort and typical of a party who get by on native cunning and leave it up to the rest to fix up their blunders and depredations..

  9. ianmac 9

    Teachers in my family do it for the satisfaction and barely notice the salary. Ask a teacher what is their net salary and they are unsure. Ask them what the reading age of a child is and they know. Money is nice to have but it is not the only reason.

  10. greywarbler 10

    ianmac
    Your family are clearly the reason why Joyce has been able to get away with mismanaging the mismanagement of the provision of the software for Novopay’s mismanaged salary payment system. If they weren’t so dedicated to the job they would have been jumping up and down and going on strike and picketing parliament and so on. This old-fashioned dedication to work and service over emolument is disadvantaging them in today’s thrusting, competitive society.

  11. kiwigunner 11

    As a principal I am disgusted by these proposals on so many levels. But mostly by the reaction of the NZ Principals Federation and the PPTA who saw money and asked how high do you want me to jump/ The NZPF foolishly believing that despite this govt ignoring them for the last five years and treating them and all their members with disdain that getting around the table was eer going to be successful and the PPTA who have selfishly seen that most of these positions will go to their members and so they can shit on primary schools and education in general.

    Congratulations on summing up the issues so well. National have all but stuffed public education in our country this is the beginning of the end if it happens no one in leadership in education understands it as well as this poster. In some ways we deserve what we get.

  12. BEATINGTHEBOKS 12

    I don’t see how the proposed incentives could be a bad thing. They will encourage a section of the work force who did not previously consider the teaching profession an option worth considering. As for charter schools give them a go let the market decide, the parents will be the first to judge ( as they should be), the funding should follow the children that is their right as citizens, it is their money.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 12.1

      Nah. Close them all. Offer no compensation to the investors. Make clear this will happen every single time the National Party tries to privatise or otherwise interfere in education.

      • felix 12.1.1

        +1. What do we gain by letting them even half-fuck it?

        • One Anonymous Bloke 12.1.1.1

          Same for health, prisons, welfare, police, justice, military, ACC, regulatory authorities etc.

          Left and Right, we all agree: we need these services. Delivering them isn’t a money-making scheme, it’s what government does.

    • KJT 12.2

      If, the market, was deciding, charter schools would not be getting many times more money than State schools.

  13. captain hook 13

    let the market decide. what planet did that guy come from. does the market train teachers? can the market discern a religious nutter. all the market can do is offer false promise to the fools who are standing in line waiting to be fleeced.

Important links

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Government’s housing failure puts pressure on Reserve Bank
    The Government’s failure to take action on the housing crisis has put pressure on the Reserve Bank Governor who has to deal with a rampaging housing market and low inflation at the same time, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.… ...
    4 hours ago
  • Labour wishes Russel Norman well
    The Labour Party wishes Russel Norman well in the future as he stands down as Green Party co-leader, Labour Leader Andrew Little said today. “Russel has made a significant contribution to New Zealand politics in his nine years as co-leader… ...
    4 hours ago
  • Russel Norman to stand down as Green Party Co-leader in May
    Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman has announced today that he will stand down as leader at the party's Annual General Meeting in May.Dr Norman will remain as Co-leader and retain his finance and climate change portfolios until the AGM."After… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    6 hours ago
  • Russel Norman to stand down as Green Party Co-leader in May
    Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman has announced today that he will stand down as leader at the party's Annual General Meeting in May.Dr Norman will remain as Co-leader and retain his finance and climate change portfolios until the AGM."After… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    6 hours ago
  • UE bar hike denies access to thousands
    A Government rule change denying access to thousands of young Kiwis access to tertiary education is doing nothing to build a smart, fair future, Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson David Cunliffe said today.  “NZQA rules changed by the Government have reduced… ...
    8 hours ago
  • Progressive Rainbow rights? Yeah, nah….
    Legally, New Zealand is perhaps one of the more progressive countries when it comes to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) rights even though we have further to go on the last two. However, the latest Westpac’s Rainbow Acceptance… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 day ago
  • National’s back to the future on housing sell-off
    National’s newly announced state housing policy is simply a re-run of its failed ideologically-driven 1990s experiment, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “News articles from the mid-1990s uncovered by Labour shows this is just more of the same. ...
    1 day ago
  • National’s back to the future on housing sell-off
    National’s newly announced state housing policy is simply a re-run of its failed ideologically-driven 1990s experiment, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “News articles from the mid-1990s uncovered by Labour shows this is just more of the same. ...
    1 day ago
  • National’s back to the future on housing sell-off
    National’s newly announced state housing policy is simply a re-run of its failed ideologically-driven 1990s experiment, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “News articles from the mid-1990s uncovered by Labour shows this is just more of the same. ...
    1 day ago
  • Waihopai – years on, still the same
    On 24 January, I attended the Waihopai Base protest in my electorate.  It was attended by a great range of people who are all concerned about the direction our country is heading in.  Thank you to all of those who… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    2 days ago
  • Greens call for ring-fencing of state home proceeds
    The Government must ring-fence the proceeds of any state home sales and spend every dollar raised on more Government-built homes in order to address the housing crisis, the Green Party says.Prime Minister John Key has indicated that his first major… ...
    GreensBy Kevin Hague MP
    3 days ago
  • English breaks his $6000 wages promise
    Just one month into the new year Bill English has already rowed back on his election promise of real wage rises for New Zealanders, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “During the election campaign National promised Kiwis that the average… ...
    1 week ago
  • National fails to produce evidence justifying attack on RMA
    The National Government is misusing evidence provided in the Motu report on planning rules to justify gutting the environmental protections secured by the Resource Management Act (RMA), says the Green Party today. The Motu group's research into the impacts of… ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter MP
    1 week ago
  • RMA changes won’t knock a dollar off the cost of a new home
    The Government’s proposed changes to the RMA won’t increase the number of affordable homes or knock a dollar off the cost of building a new house, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “Tinkering with the RMA will not solve National’s housing… ...
    1 week ago
  • What is the real ‘price of the club’?
    What price is too high to join a club?  According to the current the New Zealand Prime Minister, the lives of young Kiwi men and women are a part of the package. In his latest BBC interview, John Key fails… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    1 week ago
  • DOC debacle means hundreds may have missed out on fishing licences
    Hundreds of families and recreational fishers may have had their holidays spoiled by missing out on their fishing licences, with Conservation Minister Maggie Barry preferring instead to focus on more high profile portfolio priorities over the summer break, Labour’s Conservation… ...
    1 week ago
  • Rheumatic fever rates continue to soar despite millions spent on prevention...
    The Government’s $65 million spend on rheumatic fever prevention has made little impact on the alarmingly high rate of the disease among young New Zealanders, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Latest figures from ESR show there were 235 notified… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech to the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum in Quito, Ecuador
    I was honoured to speak to the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum, calling for cooperation and action on climate change. You can read my speech below. Greetings from New Zealand in our first language – kia ora nga mihi nui… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech to the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum in Quito, Ecuador
    I was honoured to speak to the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum, calling for cooperation and action on climate change. You can read my speech below. Greetings from New Zealand in our first language – kia ora nga mihi nui… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Government wipes off $5 billion in tax debt
    Since coming to office, the National Government has written off $5 billion* in tax debt owed by more than a million, Labour MP Stuart Nash says. "There are two sides to the New Zealand economy under the National government: the… ...
    3 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere