Performance Pay Misses the Point

Press Release – New Zealand Principals’ Federation

‘The suggestion that performance pay would prompt higher quality teaching in primary schools misses the point,’ said Paul Drummond, President of the New Zealand Principals’ Federation.26 March 2012

Performance Pay Misses the Point

‘The suggestion that performance pay would prompt higher quality teaching in primary schools misses the point,’ said Paul Drummond, President of the New Zealand Principals’ Federation.

‘We would agree with the Minister of Education that in school the key to making a difference to children’s achievement is to have a high quality teaching force, but performance pay would be counter-productive to that,’ said Drummond, ‘because it would create a culture of unhealthy competition,’ he said.

‘In primary schools team teaching and collaboration are common practice,’ said Drummond. ‘It would be impossible to try and calculate each teacher’s individual input to any particular child’s achievements,’ he said.

‘What counts can’t always be measured,’ says Drummond. ‘Who would get the credit for the achievement of the eight-year-old boy who has suddenly switched on to reading? The new entrant teacher who instilled the basic knowledge of books, or the Kapa Haka teacher who instilled a sense of identity and a reason to come to school?’ said Drummond. ‘When does a teacher’s influence start and end?’ he said.

A recent visitor to New Zealand from Melbourne, Professor Margaret Wu says that studies in the USA show that measures of teacher effectiveness are notoriously inaccurate because they are necessarily narrow in focus.

‘The culture of our teaching profession in New Zealand is one of sharing ideas, resources and expertise. There is little hope of the current Government injecting further funds into the education system, so we are now more dependent on that culture than ever before. Performance pay would negatively impact on a culture of open sharing,’ he said.

‘If we are looking to increase success for our Maori and Pasifika and other children who are not sharing the same success as their peers, then performance pay is not the answer. said Drummond. ‘It is our broad, rich curriculum and increased cultural understandings that are key to engaging those children and that requires investment in all teachers, in all schools,’ he said.

For more information visit www.nzpf.ac.nz

ENDS

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