Education to a new low: skewed survey

It is one thing to have the National government playing tricks on primary teachers; it is another entirely for primary teachers to have tricks played on them by their own organisation.

As discussed in earlier postings, in practice, the cluster proposal headed by an executive principal will be like having a statutory manager continually on site: the deadening hand of an unsympathetic centralised bureaucracy extended relentlessly into the day-to-day functioning of schools. It is an alien idea, from a very different culture and from a government of dictatorship, now planned to be imposed on a democracy with an education history of the holistic. In our country it is intended to be part of a plan to make public education fail (through the imposition of policies bound to fail and a crimping of funding) or portrayed as failing, as a step to privatisation and ideological absorption by, and inculcation of, children.

It is a chilling prospect.

What is it in present National government policies that has engendered the confidence in the NZPF to lay the future of New Zealand primary teachers and children so abjectly at a National government’s disposal?

In doing so, NZPF has turned on its own policies.

The NZPF, for instance, should go to its members to rescind its policy opposition to national standards, to PaCT.

This is a Tomorrow’s Schools endgame.

It has turned on its own cultural heritage.

Where in the scheme of things is the place for the holistic – the leadership and structures to allow it, let alone support it?

It is a sad reflection on successive leadership of NZPF that members are being asked, in election year, to consider, discuss, and vote on government policies. Not a hint of any consideration, discussion, and reaffirmation of policies of their own. What manner of organisation is this?

Where are NZPF policies? What have successive presidents and executive members been doing? Too many overseas trips, too many conferences, too many clubby cups of coffee in offices of the powerful?

The present leader talks much about leadership but all he seems to do is attach himself to current government policies. Where are NZPF policies voted on at successive conferences, there to be shaped, made into a coherent whole? His is followship not leadership, craven followship.


In this policy madness, where are the executive members? Where is the vice-president? They were voted in by their members and then Phat! They disappear into the Wellington maw. Where is principled action on personal declaration of intent?

The government justifies charter schools and their lavish funding on the basis of being able to trust charter schools: this is a government set on undermining public schools, presenting them as untrustworthy; a government that wants public schools inert, craven, so it can shape education in its own ideological image.

It is a case of battered teacher organisation syndrome: drawn to the government by its own weakness; reconstructing the reality of education to be able to respond in all conscience to the oh so comforting siren call of government bureaucrat – so understanding, so sincere, so comforting, so different from their members who do nothing but jostle and complain.

NZPF is sans thoughts; sans vision; sans teeth.


And now to the skewed survey. Rather than doing the analysis myself, I went to Martin Thrupp.

He says:

 I suppose my general comment is that Phil may well be trying to canvas views though the survey but a survey on any important issue needs to be carefully constructed and needs significant expertise in questionnaire construction as even a small difference in how questions are asked can make a big difference in responses.’

 ‘ … the main problem is that q4 doesn’t offer some of the most important objections and while it is all very well to have an ‘other’ category, I think it could have expected to canvass such issues as increased control of schools, and so on.’

‘I also think the last section is somewhat leading – there is a heading ‘other ways of using this resource’. This heading is just prior to the preamble “If it is indeed possible for the sector groups to shape and influence this package, are there other ideas that you would support as an alternative? “‘

“Is this heading telling us or asking us how to think about the announcement?’

‘The same goes for q5 “Would you support the establishment of a school of leadership which included a management advisory service as an alternative way to provide professional learning and development assistance to all school leaders.”‘

‘Also’ points out Martin Thrupp, ‘[the president’s] idea of a school leadership is not without problems so long as it remains controlled by government rather than by the profession it still opens up the prospect of micromanaging the day to day work of school leaders.’


The cluster proposal should go back to the executive never to surface again; then NZPF should drop its new best organisational friends in secondary teachers and principals – and get together with NZEI.

Perhaps votes of no confidence should be in the air.


I left formal education 25 years ago to alert people to the con that was Tomorrow’s Schools; to the wolf in sheep’s clothing; to the shredding of the curriculum; to the underlying ideology; to the astounding reconstructions of education reality and subsequent betrayals – and here we have it being repeated.

Perhaps, you can imagine my despair.


The president seems to have imbibed the juice of Oberon and fallen for what we see as a Bottom’s donkey but he sees as an education vision of transcendental wonder. Would someone bring him back into some semblance of the real world?

One can sense a near obsession by the president with the policy. It needs to be cold turkey from any more meetings with his new friends – or cold duck for his prospects.


I think I have to absent myself again to be with a family member. All best.

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