Who really knows about education?
Principals, teachers and schools up and down the country
voiced their outrage, shock and disappointment at the cuts
announced in the budget on Thursday 24th May.
The Government decision to cut specialist teacher funding
throughout the intermediate school has been labelled numerous
things. Ross Leach principal of Dunedin North Intermediate
referred to the changes as a "savage attack".
Whilst Andrew Hunter of Balmacewen Intermediate School
described the cuts as "devastating" to intermediate schools
and all students involved.
Hekia Parata the Minister of Education initially defended the
cuts saying that that on average schools would lose or gain
one teacher each. On Friday she stated that, "It is the
school's themselves that decide how they are going to use
that money to deliver the curriculum and raise student
However by Monday both Parata and Key were back tracking.
John Key conceded that some schools would lose too many
teachers under the plan.
He admitted changes buried in the Budget that will see
specialist funding for the likes of woodwork, metalwork and
cooking teachers axed go too far.
On Tuesday afternoon Parata released a press statement saying
no school will lose more than two full-time teachers as a
result of the policy changes in Budget 2012.
So the question is who really knows about education?
Who's advising our government to make such uninformed and
potentially damaging changes to our educational system? And
how could have they possibly gotten it so wrong?
Parata states that, "We are opting for quality, not quantity,
better teaching, not more teachers."
With the current goal of raising student achievement, the
last we need is to axe specialist teachers' funding. Surely
what we really need is both quality and quantity. Not one or
In the press release Parata also stated that, "It is also not
the intention of the policy to undermine the specialist
technology provision at Levels 7 and 8."
However I spoke with Mary Brady, Head of the Technology Team
at Balmacewen Intermediate School.
"Whether it was the intention of the policy to undermine the
specialist technology provision or not, the fact remains this
is indeed the outcome.
"How can we not be undermined when half of our team will be
cut? We are skilled passionate teachers who make a difference
to the education of our children."
Maybe the people who know education best, are the ones who
work there every day.
In order for us to keep growing in education in New Zealand,
both the teachers and the government need to work together.
Surely they both want the same thing; the best for our kids.
- Savannah Brady, Year 13, Logan Park High School