5 April 2011
The report yesterday that the Teachers Council Complaints Assessment Committee will take no further action against a teacher for stridently criticising the Minister of Education, was made with a focus on professional standards set by the Teachers’ Council. The media statement recognised that the comments were intemperate, but that teachers ”must also be entitled to express their views on political issues in an appropriate manner and context.”
State school teachers, as employees of a Crown entity, are State servants. They are subject to the direction in the Cabinet Manual (Ch 3.50 ) that… “Employees in the state sector must act with a spirit of service to the community and meet high standards of integrity and conduct in everything they do. In particular, employees must be fair, impartial, responsible, and trustworthy.” Impartiality refers to political neutrality. Public criticism of a Minister is not impartial behaviour.