Response from New Zealand Post Primary Teachers' Association / Te Wehengarua (PPTA) president Robin Duff to the Editor of the Listener regarding "Teachers in glass houses" by Joanne Black.
Politicians can work together to enhance student learning - Finnish politicians do
If Joanne Black is so certain that it is impossible for politicians to abandon inane point scoring in favour of working on an agreed plan to enhance student learning, how is it that Finland has been able to do exactly that for more than thirty years? Are Finnish politicians smarter and more public spirited than ours?
Long-term strategy for education requires that we look for the best ideas
It seems that Black is now so entrenched in the political machines that run this country she can't distinguish cynical vote-buying platforms from "philosophical ideas". PPTA does not expect that a public commitment to a long-term strategy for education would necessarily align with PPTA policy - though we are reasonably confident that if the debate was shorn of self-interested politicking and the best ideas were allowed to come through, we would not find a lot to disagree with.
Our children's education deserves a high level of open-minded debate
Obviously, such a debate would require high levels of open-mindedness and self-awareness not just from politicians but also from the media. For example, Black would need to test her belief that all parents share her prejudice against PPTA. Our recent polling of parents doesn't indicate that and also shows strong support for the view that kids' education deserves better than to be treated like a game of ping pong.