Why I am standing for EDUCANZ (anyway)


Let's get a few things straight first.

Of course I am disappointed that we are losing a democratic means of voting on at least some of the council.

Of course I am disappointed that we are moving from a Code of Ethics to a Code of Conduct.

In fact I campaigned against these very things here and here.

And whilst I understand that PPTA's ballot is a matter of principle and was voted on, I simply do not understand how it will change anything.

Whether PPTA and members choose to "not accept nomination or appointment to the EDUCANZ council nor participate in the body’s consultation processes" or not does not change the fact that it will go ahead...regardless. 

PPTA have made a stand (fair enough, I respect that) but they have also ensured that there will be fewer left leaning and incredibly important voices missing in the establishment of EDUCANZ and throughout the code of conduct process. This is a crying shame.

I am also disappointed that in choosing to stand for EDUCANZ anyway it means I am forced to step down from the PPTA. I am a person who has deeply and passionately supported the PPTA as a member and as a part of the PPTA ICT Advisory Group. But I respect PPTA has made a decision, so I will leave, for now at least.

In terms of why I want to stand for EDUCANZ, here is some of my thinking.

I believe I could bring an articulate and positive secondary voice to EDUCANZ. I am passionate and well informed about educational issues and constantly seek ways to support and challenge NZ educators to be future-focused, open and reflective, as well as being recognised as the hardworking professionals they are.

I am very eager to be part of this establishment phase of EDUCANZ and would relish the opportunity to be involved in developing a vision for professional learning and ways we may lift the status of the teaching profession and publicly recognise the role quality teaching and educational leadership plays in raising student achievement. I also hope to be actively involved in the consultation process for developing the Code of Conduct. If it is going to happen, I want to do what I can to ensure it is the best it can be. 

As well as this, I believe I could bring a future-focused lens that will be important when reviewing or further developing the existing Graduating Teacher Standards and Registered Teacher Criteria - remember there is much more to EDUCANZ than non-democratic selection processes and a Code of Conduct. 

If we care about the future of our sector, well I reckon we need to be willing to be "at the table" talking about all of the issues.

To close, I want to come back to the statement made by PPTA “Members of EDUCANZ must understand that they will serve the minister and the government of the day ‒ not the teaching profession.”

I simply don't agree.

Handpicking aside, this council will be an independent statutory body which means it will not serve the minster anywhere near as directly as it does now. 

And I do I see myself as serving the teaching profession...in everything I do. At present I am a member of the NZTC (as secondary representative), the NetSafe board, N4L reference board, AUT Ed Futures team, NZQA brainstorming group and a member of Minister Kaye’s 21st Century Education Reference Group as well as being a Deputy Principal at a new secondary school where we make it our business to share our practice as widely as possibly. Aside from my main job I get paid nothing for any other roles. I do it because I am driven by a deep seated belief that we must change education to better serve the young people of New Zealand. I don't pretend to ever speak for the teaching profession, but I do serve it. Proudly. 

Of course I may not succeed in getting on EDUCANZ. At least I will (in my mind at least) have done the right thing.

At least I know I will have tried.


  1. Have you been to an education select committee? Where many voices as wise and passionate as yours speak articulately to the panel and are resoundingly ignored because the government have made their decision beforehand and are just going through the motions...? That's what EDUCANZ is going to be like, and being part of a panel that has pre-planned moves and where you will be completely ignored isn't going to help anything sadly. On this one, I'm with PPTA - EDUCANZ should be boycotted, not just the selection but the whole kit and caboodle.

    1. Hi Dianne,

      Yes I have several times...and I have been on a council. Once you are on a council it is nothing like being in front of a select committee. They will be able to make decisions and if I can be at that table, influencing those decisions, I want to be. I hear you about the issues, I guess I just disagree about where to next.

  2. I can't say I'm particularly surprised to read this, to be entirely honest. Having read your previous posts about EDUCANZ, I suspected you'd leave the PPTA tent for the EDUCANZ one. Even though you've chosen to leave, our door is always open - and you're welcome back at any time. PPTA is a broad church. The PPTA is 90% of all secondary school teachers in New Zealand, and we recognise that dissent is a core part of any democracy.

    I must say though that having read your blog for several years now, you've never struck me as naive - until reading this particular post. I honestly can't see how you'll be able to make any difference to EDUCANZ, given that it's a creature established by an ideology that's hostile to public education.

    Good luck though. You'll most certainly need it.

  3. I do worry about your categorising PPTA as something that is 'other'. Over 90% of secondary teachers in New Zealand are members. The EDUCANZ ballot returned 95% in favour of the boycott. When you say 'PPTA have made a stand', what you are really saying is that secondary teachers have made a stand.

    Of course you can disagree, and, as you have, resign. Allowing for non members, 14.5% of secondary teachers possibly agree with you. But it's solidarity that makes a union.

    1. Fair enough Melanie. And for breaking solidarity I genuinely do apologise.

    2. You oughtn't apologise for something that you have obviously thought through so thoroughly. It's your choice.

    3. There is a word for people who break solidarity and cross the line.

    4. Crumble - maybe being called a name is enough to cause you to set aside your values, but strong women leaders are quite used to being called names for speaking up for what we believe.

      I personally have been called a bossy, bitch, naive, idealistic, arrogant, pushy, difficult, insubordinate, disrespectful, a ladder-climber, and yes even a c*nt. [ I recommend the book "Lean In" by Sheryl Sandberg if you want a wider view of what woman face in leadership].

      While yes there is a word for people who break solidarity and cross the line, there is also a word for a person who would contravene their values in order to maintain popularity. There is also a word for a person who resorts to name calling as a means of influence when failed by more intellectual and reasonable means.

      While I will remain a PPTA member and will comply with the boycott - I will defend Claire's right to act in accordance with her values without persecution.

      Comments like yours Crumble do as much damage to the PPTA than any government policy. Your comment gives justification for the wider public to accept attacks on unions. If your statement was a common feeling amongst our membership I would quit the PPTA in a heartbeat.

      Good on you for standing your ground Claire - and if your detractors are correct then I look forward to the positive press teachers will get when you dramatically step down from EDUCANZ after having given it a fair go and uncovering it as a political sham. You go girl!

    5. Thank you. Your words are genuinely appreciated.

      Cheers Claire

    6. Fridayphiles, don't make this about staunch women doing it for themselves. I'm pretty sure Crumble would've posted his comment even if Claire had a penis.

      This isn't a gender issue - this is about one person not wanting to be bound by collectivism and solidarity (as is their right).

    7. I am surprised by this interpretation of my comment. I apologise if I entangled the two aspects in a confusing way. Please let me clarify:

      The most effective way to change an intelligent person’s mind is through a thoughtful, respectful debate - not by intimidation or name calling.

      This is true when dealing with people regardless of gender. However, it is particularly ineffective for strong woman in leadership roles because we are quite used to being called unsavoury names.

      I do not think Crumble’s inappropriate comment was spurred in anyway by a gender bias. However, It might be possible that we have uncovered a bias in the comments you and I have added. Interesting.

  4. I understand why you have chosen to be a nomination for a place on EDUCANZ because you want to be a voice for secondary teachers. I understand why the PPTA have taken their position. The situation created by the new legislation is not ideal at all and has forced both positions.
    As an active NZEI member I've expressed dismay at the "light" reaction to EDUCANZ becoming a reality. I ideally would have liked to see all the teaching and principal bodies come together with one voice....but, yeah.
    However, I also see why NZEI has chosen to collect nominations from the membership to put towards EDUCANZ. I live in hope that the Minister will choose the quality people NZEI will put forward, and that the Minister will choose yourself.
    But I am pragmatic about this and this is where I do disagree with you.
    I don't trust the Minister to choose our NZEI nominees or yourself. I believe she will choose lackies. I believe these lackies will be chosen because they will be able to do what the Minister wants.
    I do not believe for a moment that EDUCANZ will be an autonomous body while all the members are appointed by this Minister or any other National MP as the Minister. They can not help but interfere and bully to get their agenda fulfilled.

    1. Fair enough. I hear your position completely. I guess only time will tell re: appointments. Cheers Claire

  5. I had a lot of respect for you as a colleague for the work that you have done for the profession. That is gone now.

  6. Claire is an outstanding member of the profession who speaks loudly and proudly. Not only does she serve the needs of both students and teachers alike, but she also shows immense respect for the work of all educators and stands up for them staunchly.

    Despite your opinions on Claire's decision, I think we should all take a second to think about who Claire is and why she has made this choice. Please respect this choice, move on and remember that she continues to work on behalf of us all.

    Despite my own personal views on Claire's decision, the fact that she is prepared to take this risk and say something different makes her more valuable and only increases my respect for her.

    Crumble - If your respect for people can be won and lost so quickly, I wonder how worthy it is in the first place? Perhaps you should consider the person and not the decision? Isn't this the way teachers should deal with behaviour that they disapprove of?

    Claire - The public way you declared the dilemma and your decision so honestly and openly is fantastic. I wish you every success on your nomination as I have absolute trust in your integrity. I also know that you will be as honest and open about your interaction with Educanz, especially if you find that it to be focussed on on anything other than improving the profession and education in general.

    Stay strong!

  7. 90% of all secondary, intermediate, and area school teachers in New Zealand are PPTA members. Of those, 95% voted to boycott EDUCANZ. Nobody is disrespecting Claire's choice to go against the position of the incredibly overwhelming majority of post-primary teachers.

    I absolutely fully respect Claire's choice, and her right to have made that choice.


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