Recruit, Reward, Retain: the new 3Rs of New Zealand education
Teacher quality is claimed to have the greatest in-school effect on student achievement. This claim has caught the attention of politicians and policy-makers. Accordingly, the recruitment, retention and reward of effective classroom teachers has moved to the forefront of educational policy. In New Zealand this policy direction appears to have been encapsulated in the ‘Quality Teaching Agenda’, a package of interconnected initiatives designed to lift the quality of teaching and strengthen the teaching profession. This thesis seeks to understand the issues surrounding the recruitment, retention and reward of effective classroom teachers and to undertake a critical investigation into the forces and influences that have led to the ‘Quality Teaching Agenda’ becoming policy under the Fifth National Government.
The methodology adopted is an archeologically and genealogically grounded critical policy analysis with consideration given to critical discourse analysis. This methodology is informed by the philosophy of Foucault, the critical policy analysis methods of Ball, amongst others and the critical discourse analysis methods of Fairclough. In undertaking this approach it is accepted that policy formulation is not created in a vacuum and that the nature of social, political, technological and economic forces need to be considered. This thesis also subscribes to the theory that national education policies are influenced by Transnational Agency Networks that are founded in neo-liberal socio-economic ideologies.
This thesis does not attempt to purport that one specific policy or another is superior in the attainment of the goal to recruit and retain quality teachers. This thesis will however argue that policies that achieve the end of recruiting and retaining quality teachers will be of benefit to educational outcomes. This thesis will also consider the contradictory nature of some simultaneously adopted policies and suggest a framework to optimise the achievement of the objective to recruit, retain and reward quality teachers.