PPTA President

Image Angela Roberts PPTA president 2013-2014

News and views from PPTA president Angela Roberts.

Includes the PPTA News viewpoint and his responses to various education issues raised in the media.

(Angela began her presidency mid January 2013)



Somebody is thinking of the children

PPTA president Angela Roberts on the bulk funding threat "the lack of facts speak for themselves".

“It's so easy for propaganda to work, and dissent to be mocked” - Harold Pinter

It is a little tiresome to see the usual knee-jerk reactions to the news we are bringing the funding review debate to our members. As we prepare to show leadership and bring cabinet’s funding proposals, warts and all, to our communities the habitual retorts roll out – “The unions are full of propaganda and ideology! The unions are only interested in protecting the status quo! And won’t someone think about the children?”

Ministry funding review roadshow short on detail

In recent weeks the Ministry of Education has taken a funding review roadshow around the country that presented not one potential risk or disadvantage. In fact, there was a surprising lack of detail in any of their proposals and the presenters struggled to answer the questions that came from the floor. Did they intentionally avoid giving details so that people couldn’t clearly see how the models will (or won’t) work? Surely not? Was it simply that they don’t really understand how schools function and have been unable to flesh out the details nor anticipate the unintended consequences of their plans?

 A bunch of meetings, pretty slides with a few bullet points, is not consultation

Much more likely. It doesn’t really matter which it is, the result is the same. In the absence of evidence, detailed design proposals or any modelling we are all left to interpret these ‘proposals’ for ourselves. The facts, or more importantly, the lack of facts, speak for themselves – a bunch of meetings showing some pretty slides with a few bullet points and the consultation is done. Unfortunately, when we fill in the gaps we are accused of ‘misrepresenting the facts’. And when we take the time to work through the possible consequences for our teachers, our schools and our students we are accused of cranking up some vast propaganda machine. The minister conveniently gets caught up with semantics rather than listening to the sector’s concerns. How lazy.

Teaching profession should be at the heart of policy design and implementation

The other accusation trotted out whenever we object to a daft idea is that we have a history of being prepared to go to any lengths to protect the status quo. If that were the case, why have we seen our members leading the development and implementation of curricula and a qualifications system that are envied around the world? And why have we engaged in rolling out resources to support collaboration between teachers and schools? While we continue to push back against the significant issues that have arisen from these world-leading initiatives we also continue to engage. This shows that the profession, through our union, is and should remain at the heart of any policy design and implementation.

Working towards a better education system able to respond to all our students

Our commitment to working towards a better education system that is most able to respond to the needs of all our students is a matter of public record – rest assured, someone is thinking of the children.

Wouldn’t it be great if testing a proposal with the profession wasn’t about being seen to be ticking the consultation box, but instead understood to be the sensible thing to do. That any dissent is taken seriously as a valid, evidenceinformed, argument rather than an ideological reaction.