Unofficial Blacklisting of Teachers?

I believe this is occurring. Teachers are being bullied out of their jobs on a daily basis and because of the way the education system works if you can’t get a reference from your last school you can’t find another job.  Teachers are afraid to speak out or support their colleagues for fear of being the next victim. And all this happens in publicly funded schools. Teacher’s who take their grievances to Mediation or the Employment relations authority (ERA) find they are only negotiating the loss of their job not the loss of their careers and forced into non discloser and secrecy agreements that only seem to control them and leave them fully exposed when they find out the full extent of the problem, sometimes months later.  DON’T SIGN A SECRECY OR NON DISCLOSER AGREEMENT covering anything beyond the level of settlement and DON’T SIGN A FULL AND FINAL SETTLEMENT THAT INCLUDES ANYTHING NOT KNOWN AT THE TIME OF SIGNING detail what is settled. Since starting this blog a few months ago I have received emails from over 100 teachers and the story is nearly always the same “I was bullied, They Lied. I can’t get another job they are still lying, but I can’t defend myself because of the secrecy clause in my settlement”.  The changes proposed by the Prime Minister John Key to the employment relations laws will not help this situation just provide another tool for the expansive box bullies already have.

 The Report “Understanding Stress and Bullying in New Zealand Workplaces”  Produced by Professor Tim Bentley’s team raises some very serious issues for Education institutions and other organisations in NZ.  I for one believe that Bullying and abuse in the workplace is not an “employment related matter” it is and should be prosecuted as a criminal matter and this would be far better legislation for the government to address. I would support any call for a Royal Commission of Enquiry into the corruption of our education system and believe this should feed into a larger enquiry over abuse in the workplace. I believe the government should be offering us this as a review of their proposed changes. If you are interested in following up on this contact me and I will add you to the off blog correspondence list where you can contribute.  

 I must admit I have trouble identifying the role of the Ministry of Education as their sole response to my enquiries has been to avoid and close the correspondence. Compliance with the Ministries guidelines NAGS and NEGS seems to be voluntary as does adherence to the relevant Acts.  Complaints relating to this and dishonesty are not investigated and the standard reply is that the BOT “has complete discretion to control the management of the school as it thinks fit” the do have some options under section 7a of the Education Act. But as they lack the will to investigate so this is rarely used. I could trim the fat out of this organisation and save us all a fortune.



4 Responses to “Unofficial Blacklisting of Teachers?”

  1. As a Professional Keynote Speaker and trainer on workplace conflict and bullying, I continue to see a widespread reluctance to accept that we have a major problem here in NZ with workplace bullying. And it’s interesting to find out how this is further played out in the Education Sector.

    What you need is for some schools where, from the Board down, they want to address workplace bullying (also so that they can stand tall and address schoolyard bullying) and this needs to happen via awareness of what workplace bullying is, the forms it takes, and how to effectively address the issue. Policies and procedures alone will not deal with this problem. Since workplace bullying occurs mostly from a person in a position of power, any effective response to bullying needs to come from the top down. But when you have an organisation or school that is committed to stamping down out problem, then that is when you see results.

    Imagine the good publicity a school would get, if it took this issue seriously and made some radical changes. It would clearly filter down to the playground and we would be teaching the next generations, how to use respect, trust and support to get what we want.

    Linda Guirey, The ‘Marbles’ Expert
    http://www.lindaguirey.co.nz

    Reply

  2. Great thoughts Linda unfortunately it wouldn’t work in education. Effectively the boards work hand in hand with the bullying Principals who are also Board Member’s and the BOT’s Chief advisor and the professional leader in the school. Unfortunately for the most part these people have no management qualifications at all, but Billions of dollars of public money is trusted to them. Issues of conflict of interest are impossible to examine as the schools involved in these behaviours hide behind the secrecy they are allowed by the Minister and the Ministry of Education. I naively thought nearly 2 years ago that all I would have to do was point out the problem and they would fix it in house. But no they wanted a formal complaint which they ignore on “legal” advice and then put the bullies in charge of sorting it. The BOT just disappeared and the Bullies claimed delegated Authority. Education is in Total Crisis and a public enquiry is the only way to free it up. The secrecy agreements the victims were forced to sign would be put aside under oath and we can finally see the bullying and incompetence exposed. We are talking hundreds of victims here Bullied not just from their jobs but also their careers. Teachers pay a fortune for their Qualifications but Government policy can rob it all from them. The competency procedures invoked are a farce because they assume the credibility of the accusers. In all cases teacher competency should be assessed independently not by the accusers. I know of no other professional organisation where a professional can loose their job based on subjective (prejudiced) opinion. And I hold successive governments directly responsible. I frightens me how many Labour Party officers have been involved in these procedures. It seems both National and Labour have their heads in the sand on education. It is broke, Fix it! Stop playing around the edges and blaming teachers. Look to yourselves and make a difference.

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    • Re: Feds, Federal, National. I see the point, but I don’t think we have a National government, etheir. It’s more like a coalition of petty fiefdoms which co-operate only in order to pillage the serfs in a orderly fashion.Re: Cigarettes. Of course, and don’t forget allowing them to play games where a score is kept, or there is the slightest possibility of injury.

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  3. Sadly what is said above is true, the school I worked in implemented rafts of new strategies mainly to suit a particular race. The teaching staff not off that race were immediately disadvantaged and the students were told it was not their fault they were failing: it was the fault of the teachers. This was taken on board by the parents and amplified over the years, where parents, pupils were in collusion with BOT members. Prejudice against teachers was anything which was against the culture of a small community eg being single, gay or just the way you dress. There was a tremendous abuse of authority where competency clauses were raised over and over again due to mere innuendo and anecdotal evidence. In my case I was forced to agree to leave and now in huge financial hardship. I cannot ask anyone at the school for a reference at all and I am blatantly dismissed out of hand by every school I apply for a new position.
    The BOT and Principal are often in collusion along with “Yes” people of the senior leadership team and leaders of learning. Something seriously needs to be done and this does bring the whole of the education system into serious disrepute.

    Reply

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