My feeling is that charter schools will be a defining issue for New Zealanders just like the tour was in the 1980s (now where was that nice Johnny Key on the issue – that’s right, he can’t remember …) and the bulk funding disputes of the 1990s.The sides are lining up and the side of the angels is clearly the opposing one. Even the Teachers’ Council has bravely (bravely because it is a crown entity) put out a release saying the introduction of American charter schools needs to be treated with some circumspection. And then there was this wonderful piece from the Wellington Wairarapa School Trustees Association (WSTA) calling on the government to put “the public” back into public education.
I am a New Zealand trained teacher who was lured over the Tasman by the need to live in a country that respects and values education.
Throughout Australia, various levels of government are injecting over $16 Billion into schools in a program called the Building Education Revolution. We have new halls, gyms and state of the art classrooms in our public schools.
The Digital Education Revolution (valued at over $2 Billion) is delivering laptops, broadband and essential ICT services to schools – often resulting in a ratio of 1 computer to one student.
As a teacher in Australia I feel empowered by salaries that can surpass $80,000 per year (although this is still inadequate) and the security of ongoing professional development from a well-organised State Government.
One day I would love to return to my homeland of New Zealand, and see my family live the Kiwi childhoods that my wife and I enjoyed whilst growing up.
There really is no place like New Zealand – believe me.
But the idea of returning to teach in New Zealand is laughable.
I am not prepared to sacrifice my career and all that I have worked for to live as an undervalued, overworked educator living on a pauper’s wage.
Don’t give in to the insulting and belittling rhetoric of John Key and Anne Tolley. It is time for the teachers of New Zealand to stand up for what is fair.
So from one former member of PPTA to those who have done the right thing and continue to believe in the New Zealand educational system, I have one request. Please don’t back down.
Keep fighting for the pay and conditions that our profession requires to thrive.
Compared are 2000 at top of basic scale $50300 with 2010 top of basic scale $68980
Salary for 2010:
2000 - 2010 CPI adjusted is $65,000 2000 - 2010 Wage increases adjusted is $70,750 2000 - 2010 Food price increases adjusted is $69,000 2000 - 2010 Housing price increase adjusted is $105,000
Averaging these out is $77,000
Salaries have kept pace with food but that is it. In real terms secondary school teachers' salaries are barely keeping up with inflation. In terms of food and housing someone teaching in 2000 would need to be earning $87,000 in 2010 just to keep pace with inflation.
Actually no New Zealand Government has given secondary teachers a decent pay increase in the last decade. So far it has been a catch up for inflation. Increases in productivity (NCEA workload etc ) have NOT been rewarded.