Pay parity for teachers
Dr Sarah Alexander's article (NZ Herald, January 14) about early childhood teachers' pay parity will have many teachers sit up and take note. I would take this argument even further: I never understood why any teacher was paid a much different wage to his or her "colleague", regardless of the age of their classroom participants (pupils).
Even when you compare a teacher putting up with high-pitched screaming, wall-destructing 3-year olds to a maths teacher for 14-year old students, what is the difference? Assuming that both are living their dream, regarding their teaching skills as their passion and are good at it, what would be the difference justifying a different pay-packet?
A slightly longer training time may well justify a couple of dollars more per hour than if a teacher has finished a more basic teachers' qualification training programme, but otherwise, who decides why it is justified to treat the more physically demanding "lower-qualified" very young people's teachers as second-rate to someone with a doctorate title in front of their name?
Surely, teaching and being on alert-level 5 at all times must be worth a fair bit, when this teacher comes home more physically exhausted from continuous noise bombardment, compared to the maths teacher's one-man-show.
René Blezer, Taupo.
• Compulsory qualifications planned for home-based early childhood education and childcare
• Fair pay campaign in early childhood education launched by NZEI Te Riu Roa in Rotorua
• Call for tough action after 26 early childhood education services broke rules repeatedly
• A new 10-year early learning strategic plan aims to shake up New Zealand's early-learning sector
Dr Sarah Alexander (NZ Herald, January 14) is lobbying for pay parity for early childhood teachers with similar qualifications to other teachers.
Early childhood teachers argue the early years are crucial to a child's development. While this is true, research shows children learn through purposeful play rather than formal teaching.
Of the 201 secondary school teachers and principals leaving, 62 per cent said workload was one of their reasons. Secondary teachers can have as many as 120 students a day. Each lesson needs preparation, accommodating different learning styles and abilities since streaming has largely been abolished. There is pressure to prepare students for NCEA tests throughout the year and final exams. There are on-going changes to the curriculum, schemes of work to be written and updated, homework and exams to prepare and mark, and student reports to be written followed by parent interviews.
Teachers are alone in the classroom and expected to deal with troubled or difficult students in the first instance. A recent union survey shows half of high school teachers quit within five years, mainly due to burnout.
Many secondary teachers are involved with sport after school and weekends and refresher courses are held during the holidays.
Good luck to early childhood teachers if they can secure pay parity, but let's not pretend that all teaching jobs are the same.
Annette Perjanik, Mt Roskill.
I couldn't agree more with Pouroto Ngaropo's view (NZ Herald, January 14) on the imminent felling of exotic trees on the Auckland's maunga and Western Springs.
His eloquent and timely article inspires faith in sensible and rational debate as regards the possible desecration of the natural living landscape. What a hero.
Chris Blenkinsopp, Beach Haven.
Congratulations to Pouroto Ngaropo, chairman of Ngati Awa for his dignified and inclusive leadership on the Ōwairaka/Mt Albert dispute(NZ Herald, January 14).
As a Pakeha, I appreciated his insights into the history of the maunga and the efforts under way to restore the mauri of the mountain under the maunga authority's generally excellent plan.
I'm hopeful now of a reconciliation with the local environmental groups that allows for a controlled transition to native planting without a savage loss of amenity and natural values. And hopeful too this approach will apply to the other maunga of the Auckland isthmus.
Graham Taylor, Epsom.
Advocating the lowering of the voting age, V M Fergusson (NZ Herald, January 14) writes, "the best way to involve the young in politics… is to engage them early… before they leave school". As a teacher, Fergusson recalls 14-16-year-olds "keen to discuss the big questions that politics aims to address".
However, early engagement only begins the formation of political awareness. Young people are idealistic (good) and dogmatic (risky). It takes longer to see how exhilarating ideals interact with the nuances of reality and even longer to see the other side of every argument. They need to do better than, for example, Greta Thunberg's indignant "How dare you?!" before exercising the privilege/responsibility/power of voting. Greta has just turned 17.
Gavan O'Farrell, Lower Hutt.
As irritating as the constant stream of Trivago ads is (they obviously believe that any publicity is good publicity; it's not, definitely in this case), there are two Harvey Norman ads in each ad break as well.
I suppose they imagine that now there are no more excuses for shouting at us to announce sales celebrations, such as Christmas, Boxing Day and New Year, they have to constantly remind us they are still there. We know, only too well.
Please, both of you, give us a break.
Jeremy Coleman, Hillpark.
Thank-you for your article (NZ Herald, January 14) describing the tiny cave-dwelling swiftlet birds on Atiu Island.
During a tour of duty there we visited that cave, and marvelled at the many thousands of years of evolution that must have been needed to produce a bird that can automatically switch from vision to sonic radar when required. We could only just hear some high-tone sonic clicks, but were never hit by these fast-flying birds, even when guided into the complete blackness where they fly, deep inside the cave. It is well worth a visit.
Harold Coop, Remuera.
Would those deriding Donald Trump for taking out a state-sponsored terrorist and claiming Trump has brought the world to the brink of war please explain?
When Barrack Obama ordered a military operation on the soil of nuclear armed Pakistan, without notice or permission, to take out Osama Bin Laden, you all cheered. Yet by international law, that was a clear act of war against a nuclear armed nation.
Trump took out Soleimani while he was on Iraqi soil, where he had no right to be, and for whom the US is providing security. So it would seem to me that the actions by Obama not only took the world closer to war, it would have been a nuclear holocaust had it happened. Yet you all cheered and Trump is a dangerous loose cannon?
The hypocrisy is rank.
Kent Millar, Blockhouse Bay.
Important issues are being ignored, with so much attention given to student protests in Tehran for the tragic mistaken shoot-down of Ukraine's passenger plane. Iran has profusely apologised after it had time to assess the disaster, and welcomed international experts to help with the investigation. It happened at a time of high anxiety and heightened air security in Tehran with Iran expecting America would attempt to bomb Iran. America's assassination of Iran's revered military leader, General Qasem Soleimani in Iraq on January 3, was a unilateral act of war on Iran in violation of international law. In legitimate defence, Iran retaliated, bombing two US bases in Iraq on January 8, demonstrating that it can destroy US bases, and that US defence systems are unable to stop Iran's missiles. Iran could have killed many American soldiers if it had decided to do this. Iran showed great restraint and statesmanship by not killing many US soldiers. America could learn a lot from Iran, stop its wars and withdraw its soldiers from Iraq as it demands after America recently killed many of its soldiers and Iran's general.
Kay Weir, Wellington.
At the moment I am getting the impression that the Government and the Living Wage Organisation are fighting each other to see who can raise the minimum wage higher or faster than the other. My concern is how employers who have to increase their minimum wage treat their other employees when this occurs.
There are two traditional ways, the trade union method and the Cuban method.
The trade union method is to look at wage margins and if a low paid worker gets say a 5 per cent increase, every employee gets the same increase so protecting the margins between the lower paid, the supervisors, and the managers.
In the Cuban method only the lower paid get any increase so in due course over a period of time the high school dropout gets paid the same as the university graduate.
John Robertson, Papamoa Beach.
Letters: Political education, Iran, regional fuel tax and Trivago
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Letters: Air horror, fossil fuels, wage facts and 'God help Harry'
Your report "Mentally ill student told to leave" (NZ Herald, January 8) raises concerns about the management of the wellbeing of international students by host institutions.
Termination of studentship and then served with a deportation notice are nightmarish reality for any international students.
According to the student's Givealittle page, she has performed well academically. Despite the problems which started at a high school in New Zealand at the age of 15, "I have not failed one single paper until the most recent semester," she wrote.
This is how she explained her present predicament, "Misfortune struck again in October 2019 when I was raped at the mental health unit. … I struggled with the final exams in November 2019 and failed 2 out of 3 papers. I believe that this probably provided the perfect opportunity, if not excuse, for the university to cancel my enrolment."
The experience of "failure" is both devastating for the individual international student and certainly not good public relations for the University of Auckland.
According to your report, Immigration NZ has halted its deportation liability notice until "she has had the opportunity to seek advice on her immigration options".
As a former University of Auckland academic learning adviser, I urge the university to do the same in the spirit and intent of the International Student Wellbeing Strategy (2017) and reconsider its decision to terminate the enrolment of this student.
Dr David Pang, Flat Bush.
Short & sweet
If the Tupuna Maunga o Tamaki Makaurau Authority doesn't understand the powerful karere (message) by Pouroto Ngaropo about the provenance of the trees on Ōwairaka it has no heart or soul; if it doesn't accept his sage advice, it has no head. Terry Dunleavy, Hauraki.
What a refreshingly sensible and unusually objective commentary from Pouroto Ngaropo. If this attitude is to prevail more often then the corrosive ethnic conflicts that we continually observe could be largely put aside. Let's hope so. Graham Steenson, Whakatane.
On Flight 752
The Iranian military owned up to downing an Ukrainian airliner. However, ultimate responsibility must lie with the US President who triggered the whole escalation. Gehan Gunasekara, Remuera.
The only good thing about the ridiculous frequency of the TV adverts is that I am left in no doubt of the name to avoid. Judy Lawry, Golflands.
For weeks a power pole on the corner of Beach and Sharon Rds in Waiake, East Coast Bays, has been tied up with brightly coloured tape and number 8 wire - an accident waiting to happen. Judith Bouwman, Torbay.
Why not put cricket covers and tarpaulins over the centrecourt when it rains? Bruce Tubb, Belmont.
Why is the choice of direction in life called, again and again, a rebellion? D Hoekstra, Papakura.
Is it possible that Harry and Meghan - intelligent, savvy parents - are eschewing the UK and the US in favour of Canada as the best country to live in and raise their kids? Robert Myers, Auckland Central.
Let them have their freedom, minus their royal titles, privilege and public funding. Anonymity is surely the perfect answer to all of their woes. James Archibald, Birkenhead.