Hekia Parata is demonstrating to the utmost the limitations of rote learning, and the way political lines endlessly repeated can go horribly wrong if you have nothing else to say. Her Polly Parrot repetitions are wrongly-based, and the longer she and Key go on about how cutting teachers and increasing class sizes is going to improve the quality of teaching and produce better learning outcomes for students the worse it its going to get for National.
Arguing that teacher numbers have increased ahead of student numbers is in itself a vindication of past policy aimed at improving the quality of teaching. Teachers have more time to prepare and more time to give individual attention to students – better learning – and better teaching – is the result.
Parata calling the government’s initial backdown good news was extraordinary. However she has galvanised and united the education sector, principals, trustees, unions and parents. More backdowns are likely, both in policy and politics.