While there are some admirable people appearing at the festival they come from a very narrow band of what New Zealand education is about, says Kelvin Smythe:
“There will be no dissonance at the festival only a sheen of commercialism and one side of education on smooth display.
“There will also be people there from naivety: gulled if they think this travesty is about education or a festival.
“I felt nauseated at the dishonesty of the programme and the purposes of the festival.
“Heading it, of course, is that academic tricky-dicky John Hattie.
“Cognition and Core are being positioned, as part of wider government policy, on contract, to take over many of the roles of the ministry.
“This positioning is being undertaken as part of the government’s cluster and executive principal policy.
“Cognition and Core are to move into the clusters with their own employees also with the expert teachers as part of their armoury.
“Those planning the policy are confident the razzle-dazzle from Cognition and Core will be too much for parents, boards of trustees, and principals to combat – anyway they won’t have any choice.
“Schools will be contracted to submit to Cognition and Core policies.
“A longer term aim is to have larger classes through highly computerised classrooms using programmes purchased through Pearson and other multi-national companies.
“This is your standardised, anti-democratic future – this is about the minds of the children of New Zealand being filched for ideological purposes.
“John Hattie has for long been connected with Cognition and, it seems, not averse to considering imposing policy on schools against their will (Inaugural speech).
“I am particularly disturbed at the use of children stage performing at such a dishonest happening; they are, in my eyes, being sullied.
“Also the arts.
“The whole thing has a decadence to it – a sense of the Gatsby.
“This is about business people seeking the main chance.
“It is not about education because education in a democracy should be about the free exchange of ideas.
“There is much to celebrate about New Zealand education but there is nothing to celebrate in this charade of excess.
“A charade brought you by two commercial companies and the ministry in venomous association.
“And now the ultimate: education money has gone into this festival obscenity – money that could have gone into helping children with special needs, more teachers to help children with their reading, more money to compensate at school for children’s home backgrounds – yet this money has gone into a mammoth propaganda exercise intended to put public schools more under the heel of those driven by imported education ideologies.
“They are dancing on the struggles of our wonderful public schools; celebrating their imminent demise with displays of reckless financial abandon – and smirking as Hekia did in parliament last week when talking of this terrible thing.
by Kelvin Smythe – for more of Kelvin’s thoughts, go here.