Community action planning
Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini. • Our strength is not that of a single warrior but that of many.
Success is up to all of us
This campaign will not be won by the bargaining team. It will be won by many teachers and principals joining with their communities and showing the strength of support for the issues.
Kua Tae Te Wa will be as successful as we make it - the more you do, the more we will win. For too long education has been neglected. You and your students have born the brunt of that neglect.
This can change. We have public support, and for the first time in a long time, we have a Government that is listening. We know Governments act on public concern. The louder the concern the more politicians will act.
You know your school community. They are voters and potential allies for the campaign. What can you do right now to get support in your school community?
Why get in behind the campaign?
New Zealand has a problem. Enrolments in teacher training have dropped 40% between 2010 and 2016 while there are growing school rolls.
Since the early 2000s teacher salaries have dropped significantly relative to the median NZ salary from 1.8 times the median (for experienced teachers on the top of the pay scale) to just over 1.5. In effect, this means jobs that used to earn less than teachers now earn more.
What is the Government saying?
The Finance Minister Grant Robertson hinted that the Government would make provision for a salary increase for teachers in the upcoming Budget in May. And the Education Minister Chris Hipkins has said there is a chronic teacher shortage:
It’s a shocking failure of planning by the previous National Government that has left an immediate shortage of teachers, but more worryingly, a ticking time bomb for schools as baby boomer teachers retire and too few incoming teachers coming through to take over.
Teacher-led community actions
Here are two current examples from the campaign:
In Howick, Robyn wanted to do something simple that would get her school colleagues activated and at the same time target decision makers. She wrote a letter explaining the issues schools are facing in her community and calling for support.
The letter could equally be sent to the local MPs, the Minister, or the Secretary of Education.
“It was my letter, but I asked all of my colleagues to sign it too,” says Robyn. “That led to lots of signatures, but also plenty of conversations around our issues.”
Most signed, but some were motivated to write their own versions based on Robyn’s template.
In South Auckland, Tracey and her colleagues are keen to inform families about the campaign and bring them on board.
As a first step the team are designing a survey that will ask parents to identify what they value and expect from their children’s schooling experience.
As a follow-up a hui for families is planned. There the survey results will be shared and discussed over food and linked to the Kua Tae te Wā campaign.
“It was my letter, but I asked all of my colleagues to sign it too. That led to lots of signatures, but also plenty of conversations around our issues.”
Community mapping is a technique you can use to identify who in your community could be a part of this campaign.
Think about anyone—people, groups, social media pages, clubs, or local media—with influence in the community.
- Which ones have a connection to the school or an interest in kids' wellbeing?
- Why would they support us?
- What upcoming events may be useful?
- Who has an existing relationship with them?
- Or who can offer me support/help?
- What could we ask them to do to show support?
Actions that raise visibility of the campaign and/ or build community support and/or get members involved in campaign activities will help us to win. Some ideas include:
- Posting on your community Facebook page
- Getting all your colleagues involved in planning activities to promote the campaign
- Writing a letter to the editor
- Talking to local media and inviting them to come and see how the issues are impacting your school (eg. split classes because of a lack of relievers)
- Sharing Facebook material from NZEI
- Speaking to your Board of Trustees
- Organising an event at your school to promote the campaign
- Sharing information in your school newsletter about the campaign and how the issues relate to your school
- Lobbying your local MP to talk about the campaign issues and how they can be addressed
- Having a stall at local markets to share campaign information
- Telling stories about issues (and solutions) at relevant public meetings and events
- Talking with friends and family members about the campaign
- Setting up a staff notice board with campaign information and updates (showing local activities)
- Setting up displays in your school to share information about the campaign
The actions you'll take
Make a note of each action you'll take, and the help and resources you'll need.
- One thing I/we will do to build community support for Kua Tae Te Wā is...
- I/we will do this by this date:
- In order to make this happen, we need...
- Who I can ask for help:
Grab the handout
Download this kit as a printable handout and use it to help plan out your actions.