The PM & Transport Minister are portraying critiques of our school maths education as a right-wing beat-up. Nothing is further from the truth: the PM is personally responsible for the appalling maths scores of Kiwi children. Here's why: it's not the National Party that is most concerned about maths education, it's the Royal Society Te Apārangi. Aside from wanting at least an hour a day of maths teaching in schools, the Society's expert panel want market "incentives" to ensure NZ can hire teachers to actually teach those extra hours of maths:
The Panel recommends "developing specific named career pathways, with associated remuneration for teachers who pursue further study & qualifications in maths education .. Such a move will recognize & value teachers who develop their curriculum expertise .. recruitment of maths teachers remains a challenge internationally, but other nations are incentivizing better. For example, the base salary of a secondary teacher with 15 years’ experience in Australia is nearly 30% more than an equivalent NZ teacher - a significant gap. Together with additional benefits offered in Australia, this deliberate recruitment strategy for hard-to-fill disciplines is an additional challenge for us".
Although this report was done in 2021, when PM Hipkins was education minister, he has not implemented these recommendations. Why? Since the Teacher's Union does not want maths teacher's pay decoupled from other teacher's pay to reflect the high demand and low supply of such teachers. And since the PM doesn't want to pick a fight with the Union, he has not acted. Is this my view? No, it is the view of one of our most eminent mathematicians. I also know a member of the Royal Society Panel, so am not commenting as an outsider.
Below is a graph of our school children's awful performance in maths compared to other countries, as included in the Royal Society Report - the PM personally oversaw the sinking of Kiwi mathematics achievement at ages 13 to 14 to its lowest level in quarter of a century whilst he was Education Minister - I suppose the hunger for power and being on good terms with the unions doesn't necessarily align with what is best for the nation's children.