Following the mega-strike: PPTA announced rolling strikes for the foreseeable future, NZEI has yet to announce its next move (but slammed the new wellbeing budget) and Hipkins has invited all parties to new talks scheduled for Thursday.
One teacher told School News that post-strike, they felt frustrated with the lack of change but determined to continue. There has been an overwhelming amount of public support for the striking profession, with the ‘I Back the Teachers’ Facebook group now boasting more than 11,000 members.
Still, for now the Ministry is holding on to its ‘no more money’ offer.
“I have invited the leaderships of the NZEI and PPTA unions to meet with me and the Ministry of Education next week,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said on Saturday.
“The issues being raised by teachers are many, varied and complex. The Government is committed to taking action to address those concerns progressively over time.
“These talks, set down for Thursday 6 June, will focus on how we can do this. We will make no further comment until after the parties have met.”
Wellbeing budget “should’ve been braver”
NZEI Te Riu Roa President Lynda Stuart said the budget has failed to address the chronic under-funding of education we’ve seen over the last decade.
“$150 per student for decile 1-7 schools that stop collecting donations is a very welcome step and will relieve some pressure on families and schools budgets. But outside of that, school operations grants and early childhood education are simply seeing increases that keep up with inflation and population growth. This isn’t the transformational change we need to address the crisis in education.”
“Our members had a clear set of priorities they wanted to see addressed in this budget. They wanted to see a pay jolt for teachers, increased funding for early childhood education, more support for children with additional learning needs, a more substantial increase in school operational funding, and smaller class sizes.”
“The Education Minister has been telling us to expect to be disappointed – and he wasn’t wrong. This goes beyond the current situation with primary teachers and principals – this budget largely disappoints across the board for education,” she says.
“A society’s wellbeing depends on a well-funded education system. We understand the government has numerous competing problems to solve and we welcome the increased investment in social spending, but we need to see increased investment in our education system too.”
PPTA president Jack Boyle said: “While we support the focus on well-being and mental health and the funding to replace school donations, we wish the government had been braver. Education, health and housing are the bedrock of our society. We have to get it right.”
“Teacher shortages are dragging our education system down and there is nothing concrete in this budget to address them.”
“If it chose to the government could easily resource a highly skilled teacher workforce. We wonder why they don’t realise how important it is.”
“We recognise that the social deficits in health, education and welfare are the consequences of a long period of neglect before this government took power. By not addressing them, the government fails to be a transformative government. A government with no plan offers no hope,” Jack Boyle says.
“We want to bring out the best in every young person and that’s getting harder and harder. It’s passionate, expert teachers who lay the groundwork for a strong society, and at the moment we simply can’t attract enough people willing and able to take on this role.”
“Teachers believe the government had an opportunity today to invest much, much more into our public services. Putting artificial fiscal constraints on this spending is a false economy. A well-resourced education system is vital to the nation.”
“I sincerely hope we’re not saying the same things next year when we see this government’s third budget.”