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Parata must be giving thanks for Dotcom

Written By: - Date published: 11:53 am, October 4th, 2012 - 29 comments
Categories: education, Hekia parata - Tags:

If it weren’t for the fact that the Prime Minister is a) covering up for a corrupt, lying minister because he heads a support party and is, therefore, above accountability on Planet Key and b) being exposed as an inept and asleep at the wheel in his oversight of the nation’s spies, then Hekia Parata would be clinging on to her political career by her fingernails right now. Still, plenty of time for that.

It’s been a dramatic fall for Parata. After a close loss (against a very weak candidate) in a Labour safe seat, people started talking her up. She was Key’s favourite. They even backed her to win Mana in the general election and she was handed the priority Energy and Resources portfolio to relieve Brownlee when he became King of Christchurch Minister for Earthquake Recovery. The warning signs should have been evident in some of her atrocious performances in the House in that portfolio.

Instead, she was promoted to Education. Anne Tolley had, by introducing National Standards in the honeymoon phase, then doing virtually nothing for three years, avoided large-scale controversy in a difficult portfolio. Parata, as seems to be her style, ploughed in and expected all the details to be handled by underlings without her involvement. She single-handedly made the 2012 Budget into a disaster for National by not doing her homework on her scheme to fire lots of teachers and increase class sizes (yes, I know, I know, technically she was only going to fire a few teachers and just not employ lots more – but she fucked it up so badly the narrative is entirely written by her opponents).

Now, she’s done doubled-down on her last fuck up by screwing up both the Christchurch school closures and the national standards data release at the same time. Both the national standards data and the data used to justify closing Christchurch schools has proven to be incredibly shoddy.

Far from being the intended conversation about school quality – as a jumping board for performance pay and charter schools – the debate on the national standards has been around just how crappy and unreliable the data is (about the only good thing for Parata out of the national standards fuck up is that John Hartevelt has staked his professional reputation on the validity of using national standards data to assess schools – and so will never write anything critical of them).

And the Christchurch school closures is a complete fiasco. She didn’t do her homework, she didn’t think about the politics, and she didn’t work out she had it wrong and back down when she had the chance. She is arrogantly pushing ahead even as the case for the closures breaks up beneath her.

So, what’s she gone and done now? Attacked teachers for not pronouncing kids’ names correctly and re-raised performance pay.

The first shows complete political tone-deafness: the teachers are in the ascendency and you go and give them a very personal kick in the balls? On an issue that every individual teacher knows that they try to their best on? You’re a moron.

The second, performance pay, shows that Parata has no understanding of political capital. If everything else had gone smoothly, Parata would have the political capital, the goodwill with the public and media, to push through performance pay. But she has made a complete cock-up of everything she has touched, pissed off parents with the class sizes and pissed off a whole city over school closures. She doesn’t have the political capital to get away with farting in public at the moment, let alone to get away with successfully taking on the country’s most powerful unions with a policy custom designed to break those unions.

Look at the strength of the teachers’ reaction to Parata’s speech. That tells you where the power lies in education now. she cant’ put a foot wrong without the teachers eating her alive in the media.

And there would be a hell of a lot more media if it weren’t for Dotcom. The opinion pieces would be devoted to critiquing her performance and coming to the conclusion that she isn’t up to the job and, worse, is a political liability for Key. The pressure on her to be stood down would be ramping up day by day.

But, like they say, politics is a long game and there will be plenty of time for Parata’s incompetence to drag herself and National down. And the opposition know it.

Perhaps it will come when someone takes a closer look at Parata’s dealings with the Taeaomanino Trust.

29 comments on “Parata must be giving thanks for Dotcom”

  1. ianmac 1

    If so-called good teachers receive Performance Pay, in what way would that change the performance of those who are not”good” teachers? Would they all suddenly be good so that they would collect the bonus? Assuming that being a good teacher is known, and it is not. Bill Gates is putting up about $300 million to try and find out, so it is not known yet.
    As for Mz Parata what is her real agenda?

    • Dr Terry 1.1

      ianmac. Perhaps her real agenda right now is to revert to being “Lady Gardiner”, it just might win a tiny bit of respect where all else has failed.

  2. Frida 2

    What is happening in ChCh is New Orleans and disaster capitalism all over again. Parata is being played for a fool by her Friedman-loving fellow Nats and she has no clue. I said to myself at the time of the earthquakes Joyce, Key etc must be rubbing their hands in glee at the ‘blank slate’ it provided them with and so it is coming to pass.

  3. Tony P 3

    Two days earlier Parata addressed the NZEI conference. Seems she was as combative there also but this hasn’t been reported. Here’s a report from someone who was there.

    She started off by thanking us for doing a great job because NZ is up there in the world rankings. Then she spanked us. Told us that teachers didn’t have scientific knowledge and confidence to teach science. Told us that too many teachers don’t know how to teach reading. Told us off for teaching numeracy and literacy in isolation and not integrating the curriculum. Told us off for not being innovative.Well Minister, why did your govt sack all the science advisors that helped schools and teacher have a science programme? Oh that’s right, you were creating a more contestable advisory service. That worked, not.

    Well Minister, why did your govt dump the Literacy Project that was improving the teaching of reading and writing?
    Oh that’s right, you lot began National Standards and diverted the funds.
    Well Minister, with the focus on National Standards, I guess many schools have gone down the road of literacy and numeracy in isolation to meet the standards. After all, your lot told us that we had to focus on literacy and numeracy and the rest of our world leading curriculum didn’t matter so much, because your lot gave us that stupid National Standards document (not so world leading) instead. 
    Personally I haven’t and I know lots of teachers who also are resisting this…. but when your senior staff direct…..
    And every school that I have seen that has tried to be innovative (think Moerewa for example), the MOE and you have slapped down Minister.
    I could poke more holes in her speech, but I have a dinner to go to. But Frances Nelson said it well when she asked us if we felt like going to stand in the corner facing away from all others!!!
    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      She started off by thanking us for doing a great job because NZ is up there in the world rankings. Then she spanked us.

      LOL

      She must have recently re-read How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.

    • Georgecom 3.2

      If this report of what Parata said is accurate then all we can do is put our heads in our hands and groan.

      ‘Don’t have knowledge and confidence to teach science’. As stated, science advisors scrapped. Professiona Development money diverted into trying to sell National Standards.

      ‘Don’t know how to teach reading’. Again, as stated, literacy professional development sidelined in favour of National Standards focused seminars etc.

      ‘Isolated teaching of literacy and numeracy rather than an integrated curriculum’. I wonder exactly what Tolley and Parata have been doing over the past 4 years. Time and again the issue of a narrowing of the curriculum has been raised. Have the 2 Ministers not been listening? The teaching profession would absolutely like to teach an integrated curriculum. The new curriculum, introduced 2-3 years back, encouraged exactly that. Rather than focus on bedding it in, however, Tolley luanched National Standards and put all the focus and all the funding on that.

      If Paratas comments have been reported accurately (and I have no reason to doubt it) then the woman hasn’t bothered to spend much time understanding the education sector.

  4. higherstandard 4

    She is demonstrably a buffoon.

  5. Dv 5

    Also the teachers getting the names wrong just doesn’t ring true. (I am sure there are some problems. I believe some politicians have problems with their pronunciation)

    “It starts with pronouncing names correctly. It’s one of the most common things I hear [from] focus groups with Maori and Pacifica kids.”
    AND
    “That is what I get from kids telling me that they don’t see themselves as being valued because of just the basic courtesy of being able to learn how to pronounce their names. I’m just reporting that back,” she said.

    “focus groups” and “kids telling me that they don’t see themselves as being valued” are NOT the same.

    I would be surprised if kids did that without prompting and the terminology of ‘not being valued’ is a construct and not what the kids would say.
    In an earlier report it was said ‘young’ children said this. Probably then not secondary kids.

    AND
    How does Paratas comment to NZEI and PPTA show she values the teachers!!!!

  6. crashcart 6

    And the golden nugget was when she failed to pronounce “pronounce” correctly. Not the word in that sentance she wanted to stumble over.

  7. Tiger Mountain 7

    Lady Gardiner is a shocker alright. The ‘ministry of magic’ is light on decent people these days, the talent there has deserted in droves, and ex Hogwarts ring-in Lesley Longstone as Secretary? Good grief.

    Fortunately against the odds teachers have maintained a high level of unionisation and in a strange old way the 80s reforms of involving the community via BOTs despite principals enduring distrust of them, has seen front foot rather than rear guard reactions to some of the Natz destruction.

    Hectoring Hekia will get hers.

  8. captain hook 8

    only in NZ can a collection of idiots totally unfitted for the job get control of the education system.
    I know.
    We can get Warner Brothers to make a movie about it?

  9. CeeHad 9

    I dont believe a word Hekia says about maori and pacifica kids being concerned about their names being said incorrectly. Rubbish! That was something that happened back in the 70s, and if Campbell Live could be bothered doing a survey about it, again her facts would be proven wrong. I do not want the Minister of Ed speaking on behalf of any of my whanau particularly my mokopuna. Her remark is obnoxious and ignorant and in fact could damage a relationship that has taken years to build. Stupid woman!

    • Reagan Cline 9.1

      The deputy head of music at St Cuthberts’s showed difficulty in pronouncing a child’s maori first name and humiliated the child thereby in front of other children and parents.

      I have heard other people deliberately mis-pronouncing maori words as an act of defiance.

      I struggle to respect such people.

      • CeeHad 9.1.1

        I hope the deputy head was reprimanded. I hope the child was encouraged and reassured about his or her name and that the problem is really with those who have difficulty with pronunciation, especially of another language or culture (eg hip-hop names). Majority of people do try to get it right – the tv hosts are a good role model. Does Parata really care about the education of our kids? I dont think so – judging by her performance and behaviour to date. Hopeless. What a laughing stock to National.

      • framu 9.1.2

        While im not surprised at all that certain people at an independant school in epsom pronounce maori words incorrectly in an act of defiance. I would hazard a guess that its the exception rather than the rule (even within St Cuth’s) and says vastly more about the culture of the school and its location than the teaching profession as a whole

        Yes, I struggle to respect such people as well – but im going to keep the finger pointed at st cuth’s on that one

    • North 9.2

      A stupid potato (brown on the outside [when it suits] white on the inside) person who thinks the world starts and ends with her fabulously rich idol Slimey Johnny Key.

      No wonder that in Moerewa they whisper mockingly “Ha…….Heki Pirau” – means rotten egg.

  10. captain hook 10

    Heka Parati is more than a fool.
    if she continues down the path she has taken then she will open a pandoras box that will never be closed.
    the fact of the matter is that Maori had no history till the Europeans arrived.
    They had no written language so how could they?
    Furthermore the mythology that many have espoused was invented for them by educated Europeans.
    If Paratai insists on going down this path then she is trying to put the case that of all the neolithic survivors in the world that Maori are the only ones that have managed to do what no other group of humans has ever managed before.
    This is not to denigrate Maori but to inform Ms Paratai that most to the time she hasn’t got a frigging clue about any of the claims that she mouths so freely and that while what happened in history is of more interest to nationalistic boosters the main import of history is to enable the historian and the layman to compare and contrast the full panoply of human endeavour.

    • Te Reo Putake 10.1

      “the fact of the matter is that Maori had no history till the Europeans arrived. They had no written language so how could they?”
       
      Should you really be commenting on a post about education?

      • Tiger Mountain 10.1.1

        Arrrgh! the Cap’n be hooked by his own soft bait.

      • karol 10.1.2

        A standard definition of history, is that its the record of societies that have developed writing.  The record of societies before writing developed is usually called pre-history – but I guess there’s a European bias to those definitions.

        • Jokerman 10.1.2.1

          consider the Pentateuch / Torah; Mishnah

          was into giving a little oral myself, but i digress…..

  11. Jokerman 11

    Piranha- the smiling assassin

  12. captain hook 12

    trp
    should I be commenting on a post about edjamacation.
    I dunno?
    shud eye?

  13. millsy 14

    When a National Party maori woman minister of education starts going on about pronunciation and NZ history in our schools, you know its time for the left to stop its obsession with identity politics.

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