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Kate Hawkesby: Why would anyone bother becoming a principal?

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Thursday, 27 June 2019, 9:33AM
Some teachers would have been paid better than principals, writes Kate. (Photo / NZ Herald)

So the teachers said yes, the principals said no.

I guess a predictable outcome when teacher pay gets bumped up, yet there's a glaring inequality for principals.

As soon as we heard from some smaller schools that this new deal would see principals earning less than deputy principals and some senior teachers, we should've known that wasn't going to fly.

Why would you take on all that responsibility and extra work for less pay than the person in the position below you? It makes no sense and I'm not sure how Education Minister Chris Hipkins managed to come up with it. Surely he did those numbers?

How did he think he was incentivising people to become principals when some teachers will earn more than them? So not surprisingly we now have a bunch of disgruntled principals who've said 'no thanks' to the deal.

For many of those principals they'll be looking to their urban counterparts and weighing up whether they're better off taking a teaching job at a city school and earning more money.

That's if it's about the money though. Which the unions have said it isn't - but this rejection by the principals would suggest it may well be.

So where to from here? Well Hipkins came out yesterday and said sorry, that's it, there's no more in the kitty. But wait, where have we heard that before?

Given he's buckled once before, having said no no no, and then done a U-turn and said actually yes here is some more money, the principals might rightly think he's not a man of his word. They may be thinking his claim that that's it, is disingenuous.

But they find themselves in a bind - arguably public support and sympathy is waning, the teachers have said yes so they've lost that momentum. And the minister says that's it, no more money.

So where to from here? Strikes? How would they work? And actually, would they make a scrap of difference? Would they have the same impact as a teacher strike? 
I doubt it.

Hipkins says they'll get back around the table, not to offer more money, but for yet more talks.

That's a lot of talking, on the back of already exhaustive talking, so I'm not sure how much more talk is going to change anything.

But the minister says there's goodwill - I hope that's true. Because you'd need a lot of goodwill to get back on track, given how drawn out this whole thing's already been

 

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