ACT calls for higher standards for our teachers

Sun, 16 Jan, 2022

“As schools prepare to return for the new year, the ACT Party is calling for higher standards for our teachers when renewing their practicing certificates,” says ACT’s Education spokesperson Chris Baillie.

“Across all of the standardised international measures, PISA, PIRLS, and TIMSS, New Zealand students are in a sustained decline. Students today are learning less than they were 10 years ago. We were once a top performer and are on our way to being a middling one.

“The Teaching Council requires teachers to renew their practicing certificate annually. It requires teachers to have completed ‘professional development’ but it doesn’t specify what that development is.

“The only separate requirement is for teachers to have continued to develop and practice te reo me ngā tikanga Māori.

“ACT believes maths, science and English are equally important and should also be singled out when teachers renew their practising certificates to teach our future generations. Many teachers have themselves said they don’t feel confident teaching maths.

“We would ensure that primary and intermediate teachers undertake professional development in maths, science and technology, and English, alongside te reo me ngā tikanga.

“These would include minimum standards, for example all teachers should work towards NCEA Level 2 maths at a minimum. It’s difficult to be inspired to excellence by someone who themselves failed Year 12.

“A good teacher is passionate and expert in the knowledge they teach to children. The impression from the current standards is that if everyone plays nicely and honours te tiriti then that’s enough.

“This policy is about raising standards in our schools and ensuring New Zealand children are being taught to the highest standard. We should be aspiring to have the top performing education system in the world. 

“High educational achievement has always been a priority for the ACT Party. That’s why we introduced Charter Schools, focussed on lifting the educational achievement of our most vulnerable kids.

“Jacinda Ardern and her Government are more worried about looking after their union mates than the outcomes of kids, even though education is what will set them up for a lifetime of achievement, better health outcomes and higher incomes.

“It’s time to put children back in the centre of education."