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Metiria Turei

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Feed The Kids Bill – please email j.key@ministers.govt.nz by 3rd Nov

feed the kidsLast week Metiria Turei of the Green Party took over the Feed the Kids Bill that Hone Harawira had introduced to Parliament. If passed, the Bill will provide government-funded breakfast and lunch in all decile 1 and 2 schools.

Metiria explains, “Hungry kids can’t learn and are left trapped in the poverty cycle when they grow up. Let’s break that cycle, lunchbox by lunch box. We can feed the country’s hungry kids, if we work together.

“My Bill is at a crucial stage of its progress – part way through its First Reading – and may be voted on as early as next Wednesday 5 November.

“The way the numbers stack up in the new Parliament the Bill will be voted down unless we can persuade the National Party to change its position and support it going to Select Committee. National have been talking a lot about child poverty since the election, and supporting my Bill is one way they can start to address it.

“You can help me persuade the Prime Minister to let the public have a say on this important issue by emailing John Key, asking that National support my Bill at least to Select Committee.

“We need to broaden and build the public debate on addressing child poverty, and submissions on this Bill to a Select Committee will help achieve this.

“Because of the potentially short time frame, you’ll need to send your emails as soon as possible and before Monday 3 November at the latest.”

Email John Key at  j.key@ministers.govt.nz 

Novopay’s end must not be bulk funding’s beginning – Metiria Turei

novopayThe end of the disastrous Novopay system must not serve as a stalking horse for the next big threat National poses to schools – the bulk funding of teacher salaries, the Green Party said today.

“Today’s announcement that the National Government will effectively nationalise Novopay, is an indictment on National’s blinkered ‘market knows best’ ideology and the entire teaching force are owed an apology,” Green Party Co leader Metiria Turei said.

“Teachers have been through hell for the last two years, while the Government has continued to deny there is even a real problem.

“Just a few weeks ago Finance Minister Bill English was blaming the principals’ collective agreements for Novopay’s problems, saying Novopay was as good as it can get and ‘it can be improved now only by making the underlying collective agreements less complicated than they are’.

“Now National is saying that Novopay is so dysfunctional it needs to nationalise the whole system – well which story is the one they want to stick to?

“It is well known that National wants to bulk fund teacher salaries and this is the obvious next threat on the horizon. With the Government in charge of teacher pay, National must not be allowed to use the Novopay fiasco to make this happen.

“Teachers have endured two years of hell, never knowing from one week to the next if they’ll get paid or what they’ll get paid and they need to be assured that the bulk funding nightmare is not set to follow that.

“Teachers are owed an apology and the promise of full and proper compensation for any losses. “It now looks like the people of New Zealand will be tens of millions out of pocket from this fiasco. Talent 2 must be made to pay the costs of any expenses the taxpayer or any individual teachers have incurred, any less is to let them off the hook.

‘The fact is there was a perfectly good payroll system operating before Novopay came along and National’s attempts to get a bargain basement deal are at the heart of this
whole fiasco. “Of course Novopay needs to be dealt with once and for all – teachers’ deserve nothing less – but they have been put through hell and I doubt they’ll ever forget that,” Mrs Turei said.

Kids at the Heart of Education – latest dates

 Kids-at-the-Heart-Title-only

Catherine Delahunty and Metiria Turei are on a speaking tour to explain and discuss the Green Party’s education policies.  They will discuss the Greens’ plans for more community involvement in schools, community hubs, nurses in school, and their plans for such things as National Standards and Charter schools, amongst other things.

It’s a great chance to hear from the horse’s mouth what alternatives there are to what is being implemented now, and to ask questions.  There are also some great guest speakers.

To keep up with new events/speakers, you might want to follow Catherine Delahunty’s page on Facebook.

I attended the Lower Hutt event, and it was hugely interesting to not only hear from Catherine but also to hear from people working at local schools, undertaking innovative and hugely successful projects that encompass the whole community.  It was informative and very inspiring, and I can’t recommend the talks enough.

 

These are the latest conformed dates:

 

Auckland – 30 April, 6-7.30pm 

Catherine Delahunty

17 Mercury Lane, Newton Auckland

Join or follow this event on Facebook

 

Gisborne – 6 May, 7.30pm

Metiria Turei and Catherine Delahunty

Ilminster Intermediate School Library, De Latour Road

Guest speaker: Peter Ferris, Principal of Illminster Intermediate.

 

Tauranga – 12 May, 5.30pm

Metiria Turei and Catherine Delahunty

Gate Pa School Staffroom, 900 Cameron Road

Guest speaker: Jan Tinetti, Principal of Merivale School.

 

Thames – 13 May, 7.00pm (NOTE THIS IS A CHANGED VENUE & TIME)

Metiria Turei and Catherine Delahunty

Grahamstown Community Hall.768 Pollen St, Thames

 

Whakatane – 14 May, 7.30pm

Metiria Turei and Catherine Delahunty

Knox Presbyterian Church, 83 Domain Road

 

Whangarei – 19 May, 7pm

Metiria Turei and Catherine Delahunty

Old Library, 7 Rust Avenue

 

Rotorua – 22 May, 6pm

Catherine Delahunty

Haupapa Room, Rotorua District Library, 1127 Haupapa Street

 

Auckland – 22 May, 7.30pm

Metiria Turei

Te Atatu South Community Centre, 247 Edmonton Road, Te Atatu South

 

Hamilton – 16 June, 6pm

Metiria Turei and Catherine Delahunty

Stack Space, Hamilton Library, 9 Garden Place

Guest speaker: Martin Thrupp, Waikato University Institute of Educational Research

 

New Plymouth – 18 June, 7pm

Metiria Turei and Catherine Delahunty

Beach Street Hall, 40 Beach Street

 

Auckland – 26 June, 7.30pm

Metiria Turei and Catherine Delahunty

Mangere East Community Centre, 372 Massey Road, Mangere East (Behind the Library)

 

Whanganui – 23 July, 7.30pm

Catherine Delahunty and Dave Clendon

Alexander Research and Heritage Library (Venue now confirmed)

 

Palmerston North – 25 July, 7.30pm

Catherine Delahunty

Palmerston North City Library, 4 The Square

Guest speaker: Professor John O’Neill, Massey University Institute of Education.

 

If National, Labour or any other party plan a similar tour, I will share that as well, but as yet only the Greens are fronting up.  Do let me know if you spot any talks (from any party) that I don’t seem to know about.  Thank you.

 

Government error hides true size of child poverty

PovertyThe Government is continuing to fail our kids who are in poverty by not even
measuring the size of the problem correctly, the Green Party said today.

The Government has today admitted that it got its calculations wrong when
measuring child poverty and inequality. The new figures show that there are
285,000 children living in poverty, not 265,000 as previously claimed, and
that the GINI inequality index is not improving.

“There is no reason that 285,000 children should be living in poverty in
New Zealand. This Government has failed to even measure the problem
correctly, let alone do anything to fix it,” Green Party Co-leader Metiria
Turei said today.

“National has been trumpeting its supposed progress on child poverty but it
turns out that was all due to the Government doing its sums wrong. It’s not
the first time that National’s numbers have turned out to be dodgy, and it
makes you wonder what else they’ve got wrong.

“It’s past time for National to wake up to the tragedy of child poverty
that is playing out in homes all across our country. Child poverty has gotten
worse under National, rising from 240,000 in 2007 to 285,000 in 2012.

“There is no excuse for 285,000 kids to be living in poverty in a modern,
wealthy country like New Zealand. Those 285,000 kids are victims of the
choices that governments make – like National’s decision to borrow for
tax cuts for the rich at the same time as cutting Working for Families
payments.

“The Greens will do better for our kids. We will extend Working for
Families, we will invest in nurses in schools, we will set standards for
warm, healthy housing, and we will raise the minimum wage towards a living
wage for all workers,” said Mrs Turei.

The Greens’ education policy aims to hit child poverty head on

The Green Party have unveiled their education proposals, and they clearly aim to address head on the issues facing those students living in poverty.

child poverty has many parentsMetiria Turei stressed that “10 per cent of New Zealand children were living in poverty, poorer kids had three times the rate of hospital admissions from preventable illnesses and were up to 50 per cent more likely to become a poor adult and perpetuate the poverty cycle” and that this needs to be addressed in order for children to have the best chance of success.

This view is upheld by the OECD, and the latest PISA study made clear that equality, health care and safety were the hugest factors in a child’s chance of future success.  Having good quality teachers a big factor in the classroom, but is not the greatest factor overall.

John Key fudged that point in his speech last week. He acknowledged that quality teachers a big factor in the classroom (but without any stress on “in the classroom” so that it was read by many to mean that teachers have the biggest influence on success full stop), and he then went on to say that we don’t have increasing poverty and inequality in NZ, refusing to accept that there is any link between poverty and lower educational success.

This is rubbish, and he knows it.  There is a mountain of research and analysis that shows the link very clearly. *

It’s good to know that the Greens acknowledge the link and intend to do something concrete to address it.  This is the Greens’ plan, as reported at Stuff:

The Greens have unveiled a new policy which would see schools in lower income areas turned into hubs which would meet all the health, social and welfare needs of poor families.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei announced the policy in a speech to party faithful at Waitangi Park in Wellington this afternoon, saying inequality was increasing in New Zealand and the best way for people to escape the poverty trap was through education.

“Education remains the most effective route out of poverty. But school only works for children if they are in a position to be able to learn,” the party’s policy statement reads.

“Many kids come with a complicated mix of social, health and family issues, often related to low income, that need to be addressed before they can get the most out of school.” Read more here.

And this is the NZEI’s response to the proposals:

Green Party education proposals will make a big difference for children

NZEI Te Riu Roa says it welcomes the Green Party’s proposals to tackle the impact of growing inequality on children’s education.

National President, Judith Nowotarski says the proposal to develop health, welfare and support service hubs in lower decile schools goes right to the heart of tackling the biggest problem we face in our education system – poverty and inequity.

“International evidence clearly shows that poverty and inequality are by far the biggest obstacles that children face in education.

“This proposal directly targets these real issues and, if adopted, would make a big difference to the education outcome of thousands of children in this country.

“Policies such as this would ensure that many more children in this country get the opportunity for a good education – something that teachers and school support staff have been calling for, for a long time.”

However, Ms Nowotarski says inequality and poverty are now much more spread throughout the community so NZEI wants to see policies that target children from financially disadvantaged backgrounds at all schools – not just lower decile schools.

She says the education sector looks forward to working with the Greens in further design and implementation of the policy.

Which of the these plans do you think would have the most positive impact on tamariki’s chance of education success, and on mental and physical wellbeing, and will give them a better chance overall?
~ Dianne
The link between poverty and lower education success – further reading:
http://www.education.auckland.ac.nz/webdav/site/education/shared/about/news-and-events/docs/tekuaka/TeKuaka01-2013.pdf
http://dianeravitch.net/2013/12/05/daniel-wydo-disaggregates-pisa-scores-by-income/
http://www.weac.org/News_and_Publications/13-12-03/PISA_test_results_reflect_effects_of_poverty_in_U_S_Van_Roekel_says.aspx

Cross Party Resistance to Charter Schools

“Is this change good for education?”  

That’s the question Chris Hipkins tells us to ask ourselves of the proposed charter schools.  And after trawling through mountains of evidence over the past year, I have to say the answer is no.

Like Chris, I believe we should be focused on making sure every student in New Zealand can achieve their potential, in all schools.  We should be raising the bar, focusing on those not achieving their potential, and supporting all of our schools to innovate within and share good practice so that the whole system s brought up and improved further.

Charter schools are not the answer.  They are not about education.  They are not about improving our system.  They do not aim to make things better for all students – not even for all  Maori or Pasifika students.  They are not about collaboration and the sharing of best practice.

They are about privatising schools, pure and simple.

Chris points out that all evidence is clear that teacher quality is a huge factor in the success of a student, and yet this Bill lowers the bar rather than raising it.  Last year the government were saying all teachers needed a Masters Degree – now, apparently, a teacher can be anyone, with no training whatsoever.  Why the change?  It’s simple – the government will say anything to attack teachers, but suddenly change tack when it comes to “private, profit-making institutions”.

Chris’s speech in full is here and raises many issues with charter schools that people (including many teachers)  may not be aware of.  It’s really worth watching.

Catherine Delahunty put it bluntly but correctly, yesterday, when she said “this Bill is ridiculous and it is also quite sick”, going on to point out that it allows for children to be used in an experiment that evidence shows to work very poorly for minority groups.

Catherine pointed out the obvious that when parents in poor families are working very long hours to bring in a pitiful wage, there isn’t a whole lot of time left to help with a child’s education.  Little time to give a hand with homework.  Not much spare to buy computers so kids can work at home.  Nothing left for school donations.

Poverty is a key factor in poor education achievement, as recognised by the OECD, and yet nothing has been done to address that important issue.  While families are facing inequality on the level New Zealand sees, there will always be inequality in education, too.

Why does government not tackle poverty? … Maybe because it doesn’t make businesses any money?

What this Bill is really about is privatisation for the benefit of businesses and corporates, some of whom are not even Maori, Pasifika or Kiwi.  If it were about helping all kids succeed, then ALL schools would be given the same freedoms.

Metiria Turei challenged National and ACT politicians to send their children to a charter school.

They probably would, to be honest.  Not yet, but in the long run.  Because once the pretence of charters being for the poor kids, the brown kids, the lower achieving kids,  is over, the truth is we will see charters appearing for wealthy kids, essentially providing publicly-funded private schools with no accountability.

Be very clear: This is not about the ‘long tail of underachievement’- it is a sneaky and underhand way of bringing in private schools that public money pays for, and in the end those schools will be for wealthy kids.

Tracey Martin gave an outstanding speech, too, outlining why this Bill makes a mockery of the submissions process and democracy  Many on the panel choose to ignore expert and popular opinion, instead listening with deaf ears and closed minds, following an ideology that they were predetermined to accept no matter what.

This is New Zealand under this government – they forge ahead in favour of only themselves and businesses.

Tracey pointed out that Maoridom is not in favour of charter schools.  Submissions from Maori were overwhelmingly against.

She pleads and I plead with Maori and Pasifika people to contact their MPs and tell them how you feel.

Even if you do want charters, make sure you tell them what boundaries you expect, what support, what oversight.

If you do not want them, speak up now, because time is running out, and the Maori Party is about to sell you down the river.

Sue Moroney hit the nail on the head when she said “Our kids are being used as guinea pigs,” saying that it wouldn’t be so bad if we didn’t already know from the evidence that charter schools do not work.  She asked why the select committee ignored the concerns of Nga Tahu, who do not want charter schools.  She asked why the children of Christchurch are being used in this experiment when they are already in the middle of upheaval and stress.

Why indeed.

Nanaia Mahuta acknowledged the thousands of parents, teachers and others who took the time to make submissions to the select committee.

With over 2000 submissions, just over 70 were for charters, about 30 had no opinion, and the rest were against.  Just read that again:  The Rest Were Against.  And those against came from all quarters, from professors and parents, from teachers and students, and from iwi.

Hone Harawira, Leader of MANA, said charters “represent a direct attack on kura kaupapa Māori, and on public education generally,” pointing out that  “successive governments have starved kura kaupapa of funding from the get-go, [yet] they remain one of the most successful educational initiatives for Maori by Māori, in the last 100 years.”   Like many observers, he is aghast at the Maori Party for supporting charter school proposals, saying “The Maori Party should be ashamed for turning their backs on everything that kura kaupapa Maori stands for.”  Source.

So let me close by asking you this.

Who does support charter schools?  And why?

Ask yourself that, and really think about it.  Not on political party lines, but as a Kiwi.

Ask yourself what the motivation for charter schools really is.

Ask “Is this change good for education?”  

~Dianne Khan

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