Consultation on the government’s proposals to “update” the Education Act generated a whopping 1800 submissions – with two-thirds coming from educators.

Frequently mentioned goals for education in the submissions included:

  • Student success and achieving individual potential
  • Connection to others and good citizenship
  • Resilience, determination, confidence, creativity and critical thinking
  • Valuing cultural knowledge and identity, recognition of the Treaty of Waitangi and te reo Māori New National Education Measures?

These are quite a long way from the narrow focus of the current National Education Priorities, and how they play out with policy driven by literacy, numeracy and student achievement data.

As well, government asked for feedback, late last term, on proposals that question the right of principals and staff reps to be voting members of boards of trustees. It also proposed new National Education Measures, likely to be based on questionable data. A business lobby group, The New Zealand Initiative, is publicly lobbying for these kinds of measures to be linked to funding, and to be used to “sort” students and teachers.

Which raises the question of whether or not this government has the political leadership to rewrite the Education Act in a way that respects public opinion.

NZEI research indicates parents want a fair and adequately funded school system. Educators have made their views clear through submissions and the Joint Initiative process. The release of the new bill, expected this term, will be followed by a six-week round of written submissions, followed by oral hearings around the country. Gear up to speak out!