So, the Nats want unqualified teachers teaching the country’s most disadvantaged kids in charter schools. This is meant to close the gap with rich kids. Oddly, private schools opt for trained teachers. Also, oddly, it was only 2 months ago that the Nats were saying they wanted all teachers to have post-grad qualifications. Why the back-flip? It’s all about that well known route to economic and social success: driving down teachers’ wages.
Corrupt minister John Banks oddly talked about retired maths university professors and SAS veterans playing at being teacher. As if, you know, simultaneously managing 30 children and somehow getting them to learn is something that anyone can do without any training if they have a crack.
It’s part of a long history of the Right denigrating teaching.
There’s only really one reason why the Right is constantly attacking the status of teachers. It’s that education is a major area of government spending and teachers’ wages are the lion’s share of the education budget. If the fat elite want to pay less tax, then they need less government spending. Paying teachers less is one route to that (kicking poor families off benefits is another). Unqualified teachers in charter schools, which have the power to set their own pay rates and to run for a profit, is all part of driving teachers’ pay down.
Viewed through this prism, the move to make teachers gain post-grad qualifications has a twisted logic. See, most of us saw that and said ‘ah, that’ll raise the quality and status of teachers a la Finland, the best education system in the world – a surprisingly good move from National’. But we were confused when National simultaneously made getting a post-graduate qualification harder by making it so you can’t get a student allowance.
Now, it all makes sense. Raise the bar for teachers to get qualified, make it more expensive. Allow profit-taking private operators of charter schools to hire unqualified staff on the cheap. Juke the stats so that the charter schools appear to be doing well (typically, they cherry-pick students from the state system). And bingo! You’ve got fewer wannabe teachers getting qualified and, instead, heading into charter schools at lower wages.
Next step: replacing surgeons with tradies.