There’s More than One Way to Skin a Cat

If we were in any doubt that the education system is a powerful force in national politics and cultural values, the Education Council is obliterating that. New Zealanders (when given the chance) have repeatedly expressed no appetite for constitutional reform, co-goverance, compulsory te reo, or a new flag, so now the activists are taking matters into their own hands to entrench their power over our minds.

In something reminiscent of both Mao’s devastating Cultural Revolution in China and South Africa’s justification of its apartheid regime, the Council has published a draft revision of the rules governing teacher conduct. This Code of Professional Responsibility and Standards for the Teaching Profession supplants the current, five-page Practising Teacher Criteria and will replace the Graduating Teacher Standards.  Significant in itself is the leap in size to a pervasive and alarming 44 pages of bilingual, professional belittling, ideological instruction.

Throughout it, teachers are told of “our profession’s obligation to recognising Aotearoa New Zealand as a bicultural nation and honouring te Tiriti o Waitangi/the Treaty of Waitangi [the revisionists’ interpretation, obviously] by recognising it as a founding constitutional document”. They are instructed to “demonstrate and model their commitment to tangata whenuatanga and a bicultural partnership and practice” and “affirm Maori learners as tangata whenua”.

The Council will consider teachers breaching the Code if they fail to “practice (sic) and develop the use of te reo Maori me nga tikanga” or “design and plan approaches which reflect the bicultural partnership in Aotearoa New Zealand and the local community”.

You teach Maths, Science or IT? It makes no difference. The Education Council registers every single teacher in New Zealand. These Standards apply to anyone holding a Practising Teacher Certificate – whether they are “working in Maori or English medium, early childhood, primary, secondary or teaching students in tertiary institutions. They are applicable regardless of role – full-time, temporary, relieving, specialist (e.g. music or Resource Teacher: Learning and Behaviour) or professional leader (e.g. centre manager, principal or senior dean)”.

So the Council has incredible power over the education system, our young people’s minds and the way our country will develop.

In a chilling tone, the Council stresses that teachers “have a responsibility ….. to ensure we all understand these expectations and make the right decision each and every day” and to “speak out if the behaviour of a colleague may be in breach of the Code”. This policing would be crucial should a teacher be having sexual relations with a student, playing around on the internet, or not be maintaining their skill set. But how far could Big Brother go?

Just imagine if you didn’t religiously demonstrate the Code’s demands to:

(1.3) “affirm Maori colleagues as tangata whenua, respecting their heritage, language, identity and culture”, or

(1.4 and 2.4) “practise and support others to learn, use and affirm te reo Maori and tikanga Maori; demonstrate respect for Maori beliefs, language, culture and customary protocols (tikanga Maori), histories, heritages; actively build relationships with their parents, whanau, hapu, iwi and the wider community (follow appropriate protocols, greet them in their language and encourage others to do the same; foster an understanding of te Titiri o Waitangi/the Treaty of Waitangi and its implications in the learning environment; promote a learning environment which values bicultural partnership and enables Maori achievement”.

You teach Mandarin or accounting? Tough, because the Code specifies that “refusing or deliberately failing to engage in professional development opportunities to build Maori competency” or “refusing to learn how to pronounce their names correctly (including the important names that they whakapapa to such as their whanau, hapu, iwi, tupuna, marae, waka or maunga)” are examples of behaviour that suggests a lack of the aforementioned commitment.

And if your educated and enlightened world view leads you to classify taniwha as mythology, you could be had up for “dismissing or belittling their cultural or spiritual beliefs, or making derogatory comments about te ao Maori (Maori world view)”. Then you could really be getting into Mao’s cultural revolutionary mode with having to “engage in critical inquiry to evaluate the effectiveness of (your) teaching”.

The Code is somewhat contradictory. Section 2.2 specifies that “showing preferential treatment to learners without a legitimate reason” is a breach of the Code – except that those claiming to be “Maori” are entitled to special treatment, attention and status. Section 2.6 says teachers must “help learners to think critically about issues”, except not, of course, where it might apply to a “Maori world view”.

I recently made mention of the propaganda in our schools during a social occasion. One friend snapped: “What’s wrong with a few songs?”, while a secondary teacher laughed the new Code off as not affecting her private school. And so the new world order can creep in and conquer. Independent and astute teachers leave or are forced out, our education standards plummet, and the third world beckons.

Submissions have closed and this Code is to be enacted from 1st July 2017.

By Fiona MacKenzie

First published at the New Zealand Centre for Political Research on May 7, 2017.

Notes and references:

  1. The Education Council is an independent statutory body comprising a Governing Council, organisation and advisory groups. Our council comprises nine members appointed by the Minister of Education. Our Council is supported by various committees and disciplinary bodies.
  2. Our Code, Our Standards: Code of Professional Responsibility and Standards for the Teaching Profession:
  3. Practising Teacher Criteria (until 1/7/17)