Hekia Parata has been forced to make an embarrassing u-turn; Stuff reports:
In a major u-turn, Education Minister Hekia Parata says staff pupil ratios will not change.The move comes in the face of a backlash from teachers and parents after Budget moves to increase class sizes.Sources this morning confirmed the policy was not "set in stone" and the Government was open to other ways to achieve its goal of lifting the quality of teaching, after a signal from Prime Minister John Key that it was prepared to listen to alternatives.Speaking to Radio New Zealand from London, Key said: "My view is that we want to achieve the outcome that we stated. And that is to improve the quality of teaching and teacher quality in general and that's the purpose of the policy."Asked if there was another way to achieve that he said: "Other people will suggest that. That's one of the reasons why the minister is talking to the unions. She is talking to the sector. I'm sure she will continue to do that."It is understood feedback to the Government, especially to electorate MPs, has been highly critical of the plan.
The Government's handling of this issue has been poor. Hekia Parata has done a very bad job articulating what was not in itself a bad policy, and gave the teacher unions and sector groups the leeway to set the agenda. She has been totally exposed on this issue.
The level of opposition was such that John Key has been left with little option but to instruct Ms Parata from afar to back away. It takes the heat out of the issue of teacher-pupil ratios for now.