The government does not just want to remove staff voices from university and wānanga councils, it also plans to remove school and early childhood teachers from their national professional body, the Teachers Council.
Both teacher unions, NZEI Te Riu Roa and PPTA, oppose the bill, which will remove the right of teachers to elect representatives to their own professional body. The bill will replace the Teachers Council with a new Education Council of New Zealand to which the minister will appoint all the members instead of teachers electing some of them.
NZEI president Judith Nowotarski says a strong and independent teaching council is needed to uphold the teaching profession, protect the public interest and ensure quality teaching and learning for all children.
PPTA president Angela Roberts agrees.
“It’s clear from the bill that the intention isn’t so much to raise the status of teaching as to remove professional autonomy and bring teachers firmly under the control of politicians.”
PPTA members will be holding paid union meetings next month as preparation for making submissions on the bill.
Judith Nowotarski says public polling also shows an overwhelming number of teachers and the public want all children to have a qualified and registered teacher. But the new legislation also extends the status of people with limited authority to teach and exempts unqualified people acting as teachers in charter schools.
TEU is working closely with NZEI and PPTA to oppose the bill in select committee and is encouraging all members to make short submissions, calling for democratic, representative councils that have a space for staff voices.