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ECE Pay – What Next?
Firstly, thank you to those who have read and commented on my paper.
I am not a Facebook person, but I understand that there has been some dialogue on Facebook. Essentially people are asking what to do next and how do we actually achieve change? The notes below try to address this, so please could someone who uses Facebook make this available to the Facebook community?
Change can only occur if two things are achieved:
1. There is political recognition of the problem, and
2. Government allocates funding, hopefully in the 2020 budget.
But first, a word on collegiality. Some of you may resent the fact that kindergarten teachers are paid more than identically qualified teachers elsewhere, but it is in everyone’s interests to help them retain pay parity. If they have parity that provides a concrete example of injustice and unfairness, one that can be used to argue for improvements for all of ECE. If they lose parity then moving everyone else towards pay parity becomes much harder. Please, be collegial and support the kindergarten paper’s recommendations, it is in your best interests. Political Recognition:
Have a look at the full paper and you will see that it has gone to a wide list of people, all of whom are in a position to influence getting actions put into some government servants’ work programmes. The paper also contains a list of specific recommendations and the actions that each addressee is asked to take.
The paper was focussed on correcting legislative anomalies. Political recognition requires MPs of all parties to recognise that ECE is a funding priority and an important investment in the nation’s future. Remember that the children and their whānau are the important people here. Fixing ECE pay and conditions is only one step in a bigger picture. Last year I submitted a paper to ‘The Education Conversation’ advocating for ECE to be the priority above all other education sectors. I am happy to provide a copy of that paper to anyone who is interested, but you have to promise to send it plus the kindergarten status paper to your local MP. If you ask them to support the recommendations in the kindergarten paper and to lobby their education/ECE spokesperson to make ECE their party’s top education priority then we may attract some attention. This requires lots of people to contact lots of different MPs, so please don’t be shy. If you have said ‘what’s next?’ or ‘about time!’ then the next action rests with you, each and every one of you. Let’s make this a discussion point in the corridors of parliament. MPs talking about something is much more powerful than having a noisy demonstration. By talking about it amongst themselves they will get to see it as their problem and will be motivated to find a solution. Let’s engage them not alienate them.
We also need to get other lobbying organisations on side. On Facebook some have talked about NZEI supporting pay equity. PAY EQUITY IS NOT THE SAME AS PAY PARITY. You want, and deserve, pay parity. Pay equity is much less. Aged care workers have campaigned for pay equity because they felt they were paid less than men would be for the same work. You are professionally qualified people. You go through the same registration and certification processes as other teachers, but you are paid less, not because they are men and you are women, but because politicians do not yet value ECE. Many, probably most, people see ECE as just glorified child minding. They need to be informed about ECE’s significant long-term value to the nation and to the economy. It seems that NZEI may fall into this camp. Those of you who are NZEI members, and those who might become members if NZEI pressed for pay parity, should contact them. NZEI need to be told that ECE teachers deserve pay parity with other teachers and that you are fed up being treated as second class citizens. If they want you to join then they need policies that would attract you to join and that means advocating for pay parity NOT pay equity. If you look at the full kindergarten paper you will see that I ask NZEI to: “actively advocate for pay parity for all qualified ECE teachers and disavow your current policy of only seeking pay equity for them.” Getting Money in the 2020 Budget:
We need to change thinking before government departments begin their work on the 2020 budget. It’s much easier to get in at the beginning than getting something changed later on. We have just had the 2019 budget, so you might think that planning for the 2020 budget is some time off. Not so. Government departments start work on budget matters in September, that’s LESS THAN THREE MONTHS AWAY.
Please get your emails off to your local MPs as soon as you can because we only have about ten weeks to convince them of ECE’s importance and to change budget priorities.
• Support the recommendations in the kindergarten paper, and
• Lobby their education/ECE spokesperson to make ECE their party’s top education priority.
Not emailing your MPs now is a vote to keep the status quo.
Kia ora David,
It is the second rate attitude that ECE is a charity that we have to change. We, ECE are as essential as Primary and Secondary we are expected to have 98% participation rate. Primary and secondary have long ago lost their charitable label. I have said that ECE owner should be able to be like “Integrated Schools” and have funding from Government and owners look after buildings and property. How can we get over that view of the Ministry that because ECE are private business that they can’t tell owners to pay teachers fairly. If you are doing the major funding you would expect to be able to put conditions on that funding.
Thanks for the interesting run down on the Education Act details. Laws are totally confusing when they cross reference all the time.
Hugo van Stratum
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