Government Can’t Afford To Shut Door On The Chalkface
The largest education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa says it is incomprehensible that parliament’s education and select
committee has voted to deny education sector groups an opportunity to have some input on critical legislation to
introduce national standards for literacy and numeracy.
The National government appears poised to push through the Education (National Standards) Amendment Bill under urgency,
without the sector knowing what the detail of the legislation is, and what effect it will have on teaching and learning.
NZEI has a strong history of working closely with government, the Education Ministry and other sector group to ensure
that all New Zealand children have the very best learning opportunities that the system can provide.
In the run up to the election, the National Party campaigned on a platform of collaboration and inclusiveness, yet at
this early stage it appears to have slammed the door on those at the chalkface.
NZEI President Frances Nelson says “successful implementation of any new system relies on the commitment of the teaching
profession. Teachers will be very willing to implement a process that is educationally sound, but a system of national
standards and testing that doesn’t assist in the teaching process, is fraught. It has the potential to take the focus
away individual children’s learning needs and move it to meeting the requirements of the standards.”
NZEI believes transparency and openness is critical to ensure that any decisions around teaching and learning are
educationally sound and will lead to increased student achievement.
“By shutting the door, the government is ignoring a golden opportunity to utilise the skills and expertise of the sector
and forge positive relationships with the very people it will be asking to make its policies work,” says Ms Nelson.
New Zealand Educational Institute
NZEI Te Riu Roa members work in every community in New Zealand, leading and advocating for quality public education.
We are the 50,000 principals, teachers and support staff who work in primary, area and secondary schools as well as
early childhood centres, special education and school advisory services. We come together as NZEI Te Riu Roa - New
Zealand's largest education union, a Treaty based organisation and a powerful advocate for quality public education.
We have the most important job in New Zealand - educating for the future.