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SCHOOL COMMITTEES AND THEIR PRIVILEGES.

Judging by the recent action of the school committees in this educational district, one would suppose that the privilege they prize most highly is that of finding fault with the Education Board. The Kaikorai Committee, by their struggle with the Board, acquired notoriety at no small expense to their members, and brought ruin on the unfortunate teacher. Now the Outram Committee have assumed the r6le of champion of the “rights and privileges ” of the committees, and issued a circular rousing the committees in this district to do battle with the Board. The casus belli on this occasion are the resolutions passed by the Board in March last, laying down certain rules on the subject of the appointment of teachers. These rules are as follows:

(1) Preparatory to the appointment of a teacher the Board shall make a selection of not more than three from the candidates for such appointment, (2) TheßoardshallconsulttheSchoolCommittce by forwarding to them for consideration the names of the caudidatesselected, together with copies of all certificates and testimonials submitted by the candidates, and by inviting the Committee to recommend one of the said candidates for the appointment. (3) No communication with regard to the appointment of a teacher shall be held between the officers of the Board and any candidate, teacher, school committee, member of committee, or other party, except by letter, and all such letters shall be deemed to be official letters and registered accordingly. (4) No candidate for an appointment shall communicate, directly or indirectly, with a member of the Board regarding an appointment, except on the invitation of such member.

At last meeting of the Board Mr M'Kenzie, forgetting apparently that he had voted in favor of the new regulations, gave notice of motion to rescind them, and the Outram circular calls upon the committees “to strengthen Mr M'Kenzie’s hands ” in the sacred cause. What prompted Mr M'Kenzie to take this action we do not know, but the Outram Committee are very sweeping in their condemnation. They have declared, and call upon the other committees to declare, that “ the limiting the names of can- “ didates forwarded to three is an “undue interference with the rights “and privileges of committees, and “ believe it has been and will continue “to be, if persisted in, the cause of “grave injustice to teachers and com“mittees; and that any resolution “ limiting the names of eligible candi- “ dates to be forwarded is liable to the “same objection, and recommends “that the names of all candidates “ possessing the requisite qualifications “be sent to committees.” Well done, Outram ! But you have not gone quite far enough. You should have completed your noble work by calling upon the Board to resign, and offering to t-ke their places. “ The rights and privileges of committees” is a fine-sounding phrase, but we should have been glad to have had an authoritative explanation from this sapient Committee of the meaning and scope of the phrase. Since the Oracle has not condescended to enlighten us on this point, we must content ourselves with referring to the Act of Parliament which created this wonderful prodigy and endowed it with such precious “ rights and privileges.” And we would suggest to other committees that they should repair to the same source of enlightenment. We find that the Act provides that “ the Board of each district shall be entitled to appoint “ teachers for every school in the dis- “ trict under its control, but no “ appointment shall be made until the “ Committee have been first consulted.” Apparently, the Outram Committee construe this to mean “the Board “shall be entitled to receive applica- “ tions for appointments, and shall “ have the privilege of forwarding the “ same to the committees and of regis- “ tering appointments made by the “committees.” This construction of the provisions of the Act may seem a little strained; but it is not much to be wondered at if committees have come to read the law' in that way, for the Board have encouraged them to do so by themselves adopting and for years acting on a practice consistent only with some such interpretation of the Act.

Prior to the adoption of the new regulations the Board seem to have done little more than send on the names of candidates to committees, and register the mandate of the committees as to which of the candidates should be appointed. We learn from the proceedings of the Board at a recent meeting that formerly the certificates and testimonials of candidates were sent direct to the committees, and that the members of the Board never saw them at all. How the members of the Board squared such a practice with their statutory duty in this important particular it is difficult to conceive; and how any member of the Board can propose the restoration of such a practice it is still more difficult to understand. If the committees are anxious to magnify their office and be zealous in thfc defence of their “rights and privileges,” it cannot be said that the Board have been zealous in the discharge of the duty imposed upon them by the Act, and we consider the Board to be much more culpable than the committees, The Board have for years shirked one of their most important duties, and allowed it to devolve on the committees; and now when the Board have wakened up to a sense of their duty they find that the committees claim what should be, and is, the duty

of the Board as the right and prh ih-go of the committees. We consider the committees are in the wrong, hut thou offence is venial compared with that oi the Board. If a majority of the members ot the Board, to save themselves trouble, decide to restore the former practice, it will be clear proof that the time has come when they should make way for men who will undertake to devote the necessary time and trouble to the proper and complete discharge of the duties cast upon the Board by the Act. How those members of the Board who m-o in favor of the old system, which shifted the whole trouble and responsibility on to the committees, and left the Board to merely carry out the behests of committees, can justify their attitude in so important a matter we cannot guess. Nothing could more clearly show how undignified was the position the Board had got into than the well-known fact that some members ■were in the habit of button-holing members of committees in favor of particularcandiclates in whom they seemed to take very considerable interest.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18890614.2.2

Bibliographic details

SCHOOL COMMITTEES AND THEIR PRIVILEGES., Evening Star, Issue 7933, 14 June 1889

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SCHOOL COMMITTEES AND THEIR PRIVILEGES. Evening Star, Issue 7933, 14 June 1889

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