Have been visiting a few schools over the past week. Last Tuesday morning I walked into the staffroom of one school to an open Dominion with the page 3 headline ‘Teachers out of touch with reality – PM’. Wow. Gave me the perfect introduction, but I was surprised at the audacity of the PM in criticising such an amazing group of professionals.
There are just 2 things I wish to say re Key’s comment:
1. as far as I am concerned, teachers are more in touch with reality than almost any other profession. Especially in the lower decile schools where they do far more than simply ‘teach’.
2. The govt’s strategy / plan / goal (whatever) is to catch up with Australia re wages and salaries. Inflation is running at 3% this year, up to 5.9% next year, and the govt wants to give teachers 1%. Hmmm. That’s no way to catch the Aussies. Teachers don’t earn million dollar salaries (but most deserve them). They are, however, the guardians of the future: if they excel, so do our communities; if they fail, so do our children. Quite a responsibility.
Mr Key’s comment was insulting. A man worth $60m calls teachers out of touch with reality for wanting a pay rise that at least keeps pace with inflation. A man who has just spent over a billion in tax payers money to bail out investors who pumped significant money into SCF knowing all investments were risk-free, and yet he can’t find more than 1% for our teachers.
Perceptions of reality differ substantially between Mr Key and a whole lot of people.
PS – definition of reality in the staffroom: a whole lot of pissed off primary school teachers at the way national standards has been rolled out.