This tag is associated with 8 posts

Beanbags: An Alternative Statement of Intent Possibly from the Minister of Education (or perhaps not)

hekia_parata_maniacleKia ora, Hekia here.  I have a feeling I’ve not been coming over too well in the live education forums so I thought I’d write to you all to outline my fabulous vision for NZ education Inc (USA).

You know, this Government is committed to raising achievement for five out of five students.

Unless they have special education needs or live in Labour supporting areas of Christchurch, because, you know, the embedded goal for all students is of the utmost importance to this government, but, well, oh look over there, some ultra fast fibre computery stuff.

We want to create a shift that places children and young people at the centre of the education system, because, you know, those horrid teachers don’t do that at the moment.

In fact I have it on excellent authority from some people who would like to run a few charter schools that the average Kiwi teacher actually eats children live with classic Kiwi dip.

It’s true.  A friend told me she got an email about it from a very reliable source with an unverifiable IP address.

So, you know, standards, targets, improvement, better things, strengthen the system, renewal, and stuff….

The performance of the education system for priority students – Māori students, Pasifika students, students with special education needs and students from low socio-economic areas – needs to improve rapidly.

But we can’t do anything radical like look at the teensy mountain of evidence that indicates that factors outside of school account for around 80% of a student’s chances of success.

beanbags 2 Because, you know, we can’t measure poverty.  Largely because we don’t want to.  Oooh, look over there, a 21st Century Learning Hub with beanbags!

We continue to work towards our Better Public Services targets of 98% of new entrants knowing where to put an apostrophe.  This will serve them far better than social skills or food. Or shoes.  Or heating. Or any of that other fluffy rubbish.

My main priorities continue to be delivering on the Better Public Services education targets so that I can use the data to put performance pay in place.  I know it’s proven to be unreliable and even lower student achievement, but who could pass up a chance to toy with those nasty teachers?

Did I mention the beanbags?

I am also forging ahead with my plans for the Greater Christchurch Education Renewal Programme.

This largely means shutting down schools in Loony Leftie areas and ignoring the people who live there, because, you know, they are, well, just not on side and seem to think schools are some sort of social focus for the community or something, which is just plain ridiculous.

I am so focused on ensuring the passage of the Education Amendment Bill, undertaking the review of the New Zealand Teachers Council and supporting my Ministerial Cross-Sector Forum that I am fair giddy with excitement.

Of course, I am consulting with all relevant stakeholders so that I can use their submissions as kindling in the wood fire at my wee bach in Titahi Bay. Saves a fortune on paying for it at New World, and Nikki and I have such a giggle reading them beforehand.  Consultation, listening, no pre-conceived ideas, and other exciting words.

We are aiming for a greater use of public data and information, because we’ve heard there’s gong to be a good market for all of that as soon as the TPPA paperwork is signed, sealed and delivered to my good friends in charge of creating costly testing regimes that earn them lots of money.  It’s all for your own good, because I say so.

Our response to the recommendations from the Select Committee Inquiry into 21st Century Learning Environments and Digital Literacy was the same as it is to all such select committees, insomuch as we will listen then forge ahead with whatever we planned to do in the first place.

Our Government is committed to supporting the profession through a range of initiatives such as criticising them continuously, refusing to listen to their feedback via select committees, taking away their right to elect a representative or two to their own professional body, and of course, mocking them whenever possible. It’s good for them. Creates backbone.

Greater choice for parents, families and whānau is super really very, like mega, important.  Not actual choice, just using the words “greater choice”.  That’s the important bit – to keep saying it, so that people think they are actually getting it.  People are so very easily lead along, just ask my friend Judith.  Greater Choice.  See.  Very important.

beanbags 1Over the next 10 years, we are investing up to $1,000 million to toy with the education system across greater Christchurch. We will support new and innovative teaching, and buy beanbags and primary-coloured desks and stuff.  Ooh and lots of open plan.

No new funding for the kids themselves, though.  But hey, beanbags, what’s not to like?

The priorities set out in this Statement of Intent represent my wish to fulfil my own potential by hanging onto my job long enough to get something overseas, maybe ambassador or something, so that I am nowhere near when it all hits the fan.

Because, lord above, the last thing this government wants is any of the “accountability’ silliness.

Ministerial Statement of Responsibility

I am satisfied that I will get away with it.  After all, it seems like John’s got his hands full at the moment.


Hekia P.

Political heavyweights go head to head on children’s issues

Key political figures will debate the rights and interests of children at a forum to be held at Ponsonby Primary in Auckland next week.

The event promises to be a lively one with Education Minister Hekia Parata facing off against a full complement of party spokespeople and candidates.

Those taking part alongside Hekia Parata include:

  • Jacinda Ardern (Labour)
  • Denise Roche (Greens)
  • Miriam Pierard (Internet Mana)
  • Tracey Martin (New Zealand First Deputy)
  • John Thompson (ACT President)

The event is being run under the banner of ‘Tick for Kids’; a collective that seeks to put the interests of children at the centre.

Spokesperson Anton Blank says, “We want New Zealanders to engage with politicians about issues for our children. These local events provide platforms for everyone to articulate these concerns to political candidates directly.”

With so many important politicians involved the debate is bound to be vigorous and wide-ranging, covering education, health, housing and child poverty.

“We know that the New Zealand public is concerned about increasing rates of child poverty,” says Anton Blank.

He states that the ‘Tick for Kids’ movement, which is less than a year old, is becoming an important non-partisan force in New Zealand and the engagement of politicians in ‘Tick for Kids’ events is proof of that.

When: Wednesday August 6th

Where: Ponsonby Primary School, 44 Curran Street, Herne Bay, Auckland

See event information.



For more information:


Join the Dots: What government is doing to NZ education

This explains what government policies are doing to public education in Aotearoa.  It outlines the huge and fundamental shifts being put in place and what the oppositions are. It is a must-watch.

What is going on?

Our public school system is being set up for privatisation and a hugely competitive model.  This push is being made via many measures, such as the proposed new lead teacher roles, charter schools, National Standards, performance pay, value-added models for funding, getting rid of the Teachers’ Council and replacing it with EDUCANZ, and so on.

Any suggestion that there is to be consultation with the education sector is misdirection.  The parameters are set, people on panels and committees are hand-picked to push them through, and teachers and parents have little to no voice at all.

Who should watch this video?

It’s a must-watch for all teachers, principals, and support staff.

If you missed your Paid Union Meeting (PUM) or left it unclear or confused, then this is essential viewing.

Anyone still out there that thinks there is not much going on in education at the moment, you owe it to yourself to watch, probably more than once.

You might also want to show it at school in a staff or union meeting, for discussion.

Parents, you may want to watch to help you formulate a list of questions to ask.



Moving towards businesses and profits as the motivator

Be clear that the shifts being put in place are huge and fundamentally change our education system, especially for primary school students.  No more the holistic approach – all that matters are standards, benchmarks and tests. And for many, profit.

If you are unclear just how drastic this is, look to the USA and England just as two examples of what is happening.  You owe it to our children and yourself to understand what is going on and to start asking questions.


Below are some links to get you going:

The Guardian – Education (England)

TeacherRoar Blog and TeacherRoar on Facebook (England)

The Anti-Academies Alliance on Facebook (England)

EduShyster – Keeping an eye on the corporate education reform agenda (USA)

The Network for Public Education (NPE) (USA)

Save Our Schools NZ on Facebook (NZ)

Stand Up For Kids – Protect Our Schools on Facebook (NZ)

There are thousands more.  Just Google ‘global education reform’ or ‘GERM’ or ‘privatisation of public schools’ and read away.

the joy of learning.


Boonman’s education pop quiz 2013

quizI do love a good quiz, and Mr Boon has some excellent questions for us:

“As the curtain comes down on 2013 I have just a few questions:

  1. If it took a new school in Wellington a year to set up (principal and teachers working behind the scenes for 12 months before a student set foot in the place – heard them speak at a conference), how can the 5 new charter schools the government issued licences to just a few months back be ready for the 2014 school year with a school that will successfully deliver education to kiwi learners?
  2. Why won’t the government accept that the under-achieving 20% tail they keep talking about is actually the same 20% of kiwi kids living in poverty (according to the report by the Children’s Commissioner that figure is now 25%)?
  3. How can the government reconcile its continued calls for improved teacher quality with the regulation allowing charter schools to hire unregistered, unqualified staff to teach in their classrooms?
  4. Will the New Zealand public drop their love-affair with the bafoonering of John Key and vote in a Labour/Green government this time next year?”

What are your answers?  Boonman’s are pretttty good… Here are Boonman’s answers.


noI need help here.  I need experts.

Parents Opting Out

As a mother, I want to opt my child out of National Standards testing.  I am not the only one.

I also intend want to refuse to have any data on my child entered into the PaCT system where it will be held by government and stored in the cloud.  Given the government’s record on IT systems, I have no faith it would be safe.  I also have no faith it would not be shared with agencies I disapprove of.

do not keep calmLegally?

So, experts, where do parents stand legally on those two issues?

I would not want to put my child’s teacher in a difficult position, nor the school, so need to know exactly what my rights are.

If you can help or advise me, please comment below.

Charter school rhetoric and scaremongering

fearThere was a comment on the blog this morning that covers many of the criticisms myself and others arguing against charter schools face.  The message from Grant says:

“Of course trained teachers would NEVER accept payment should they fail to achieve the results expected of them.

Isn’t it interesting that the Government still leaves children in the care of untrained teachers between the hours of 3pm and 9 am and during school holidays (their parents) and somehow these bumbling fools manage to educate their offspring.

There is a lot of rhetoric and scaremongering going on from a sector of society who I think fears that their monopoly situation being undermined might expose them for what they are.

Let’s review this blog in 5 years time and see if the predictions are realised, or whether your unspoken fears are really what is at stake there. (Maybe you should honestly own up to what you really fear).”

This is my reply:


My concerns are not unspoken – they are spoken loudly and with conviction, and are based on a lot of very detailed research.

change is a good thing chopI do not fear change; I fear ill-thought-out change.

This particular change is for political gain not for children.  I am very happy to keep reviewing the situation, indeed that is just what I do every day – I wouldn’t be much of an educator if I didn’t!  So far, with every passing day there is just more evidence that we should be concerned.


To address your assumptions that I support a monopoly in education I will point out (yet again) that I support Steiner, Montessori, state integrated, kura kaupapa, private schools, special schools,  and so on.   Oh yes, and I do support parents who wish to teach their children themselves.   In fact one of the SOSNZ admins is a home schooler.  Go figure.

Poor Learning Results

What I do not support is public funds being spent on an ideological experiment that does not provide a better education for students.

I would advise you to read through the CREDO research, which is part states that there is a “wide variation in the effect of charter schools upon pupils’ achievement.  At the national level, 17 percent of the charter schools examined, “provide[d] superior education opportunities for their students,” 46 percent produced results that were not statistically different from local schools and 37 percent provided learning results that were worse than their pupils would have achieved if they had stayed in regular state schools.”

This is hardly a compelling improvement, is it?

The Big Question

In the end, it seems some charters perform well, some perform okay, and some perform poorly – just like any other system in fact.

So my big question is this: why throw money at charters instead of improving the schools we have?   Better teacher training, better professional development, more support for children struggling or with special needs, keeping the programmes that have shown to work with Maori and Pasifika, and so on?  All of these things are being cut back.  How does that help improve teaching and learning?

Your Evidence, Please

If you have good quality research and information (not funded by the charters themselves) that shows charters working well for poorer and minority groups and if you have any information whatsoever about what charters in New Zealand are to offer that is so miraculous, then I would ask you to share it so I can review and consider it.

I leave you with this thought:  Given the outrageously negative way you and others speak about Kiwi public schools and teachers, is it not the pro-charter school lobby that are scaremongering, rather than those opposing them?


Geez, there is just no school choice in NZ.

you have no choiceI mean for goodness sake, if I want to send the Banshee to my choice of school I only have these piddly few options below.

Bloody madness!

Types of schools

Here are the main types of schools available in NZ.

  • An area school accepts students from years 1 to 13. Area schools are often located in rural areas.
  • composite school (like an area school) provides both primary and secondary education, but depending on its classification may not provide the full range of year levels to year 13.
  • At a bilingual school teachers and children teach and learn in both English and another language for up to 20-hours a week (most often English and Māori).
  • The Correspondence School provides distance learning for students who live a long way from their nearest school. Students may also study with The Correspondence School if they have a medical condition, have special education needs, or meet the gifted and talented criteria for enrolment. You can use the enrolment eligibility wizard to find out if your child is eligible to enrol at The Correspondence School.
  • Designated character school is a state school that teaches the New Zealand Curriculum but has developed their own sets of aims, purposes and objectives to reflect their own particular values. For example religious beliefs or culture.
  • Independent (or private) schools charge fees, but also receive some funding from the government. They are governed by their own independent boards and must meet certain standards to be registered with the Ministry of Education. They don’t have to follow the New Zealand Curriculum but must follow a learning programme of at least the same quality.
  • Intermediate schools provide education for year 7 and 8 students.
  • Te kura kaupapa Māori are state schools where the teaching is in te reo Māori and is based on Māori culture and values. These schools follow the curriculum for Māori-medium teaching, learning and assessment, Te Marautanga o Aotearoa.A key goal of kura kaupapa is to produce students who are equally skilled in communicating in both Māori and English. Kura kaupapa generally provide education for students from years 1 to 8 or years 1 to 13.
    Wharekura are schools that cater for students above year 8. Some wharekura cater for years 1 to 10, some are years 1 to 13 and some are years 9 to 13.
  • Middle schools accept students from years 7-10.
  • Primary schools generally cater for students aged between 0-8 (full primary) although some only go up to year 6 (contributing schools).
  • Regional health schools are for students with significant health difficulties who can’t attend their local school because they are in hospital, recovering at home, or gradually returning to school. Teachers work with students both in hospital and at home.New Zealand’s three regional health schools jointly cover the whole country and are based out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. More information about regional health schools, including entry criteria, is available from the Ministry of Education.
  • Secondary schools. Although most secondary schools accept students from year 9-13, some cater for years 7-13.
  • State schools. Most New Zealand schools are state schools which receive government funding. State schools can be primary, intermediate, middle, secondary or area/composite. Generally they accept both boys and girls at primary and intermediate levels (years 0-8), although some secondary schools offer single-sex education. Lessons are based on the New Zealand Curriculum.
  • State-integrated schools used to be private and have now become part of the state system. They teach the New Zealand Curriculum but keep their own special character (usually a philosophical or religious belief) as part of their school programme. State-integrated schools receive the same government funding for each student as other state schools but their buildings and land are privately owned, so they usually charge compulsory fees called “attendance dues” to meet property costs.
  • Special schools provide education for children with particular needs, arising from special talents, learning or behavioural issues. They use the New Zealand Curriculum.
  • Teen parent units are attached to some secondary schools and cater for students who are pregnant or raising a child and who cannot practically attend a mainstream school.


Jeepers!  Is that IT!!!!!!

Best add in another type of school because, man, I need to start a nice profitable business I need more choice!


Feed the kids – Break the cycle – Help them Learn

We’ve got to feed these kids.

Give them food so they can learn and know that they live in a society that care.

Break the cycle.

Kia kaha.

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