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)



Doing more with less makes us all mad

PPTA president Angela Roberts considers the notion of "doing more with less".

Doing more with less makes us all mad

Doing more with less has become the favourite catch-cry in the top echelons of the public service as they engage in a ritualised polishing of political egos by pretending that they really are delivering “Better Public Services” (BPS) despite the savage cuts they’ve been operating under for some years now.

National library reducing service to schools

As an example, consider the National Library which, at the instigation of minister of internal affairs Peter Dunne, has dumped the service that allowed teachers to get curated, subject resources for their students. (See the story on page 8 of this issue of PPTA News.)*

No assessment was made of the impact this would have on schools, because the National Library doesn’t have to care about inequality between schools and has no responsibility for the disadvantage that will fall unfairly on particular students, especially those in rural and low decile schools. The important thing is they’re spending less, as required, and if teachers and schools are doing more, so be it.

Legislation to allow police to charge for services - including vetting for teacher registration

Then there’s the particular kind of public craziness that is the Policing (Cost Recovery) Amendment Bill, currently tracking through the House. The government has cut the police budget by almost $100 million. Policing is one of those public services that can’t really conceal cuts so they’ve taken a different approach. No, they’re not crowd sourcing crime scene investigations (but I suppose it could come to that) instead they’re going to charge for some services, include police vetting for teacher registration.

So in a strange money merry-go-round the government, which cut the budget in the first place, is now using its legislative powers to authorise the police to take money from teachers to make up the shortfall.

And not just teachers - at the same time, via the vulnerable children legislation, it has expanded the number and range of people who’ll now need police vets; basically anyone who comes within cooee of a young person will now need a vet regardless of whether they’re paid employees or volunteers.

Budget cuts become service cuts that directly impact on - and shift costs to - schools

This will be a direct charge on schools’ operations grants but if schools try and do what the police are doing, recoup some of their expenses by charging parents, two other public agencies ERO and the Office of the Auditor General are waiting to pounce on them.


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