Written By: - Date published: 10:00 am, May 16th, 2013 - 20 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, hone harawira, mana, Maori Issues, maori party, Public Private Partnerships, same old national, schools - Tags:
Yesterday, in the General Debate in a brilliant speech, Hone Harawira challenged the Maori Party for its support of the Education Amendment Bill currently before the House, that will enable the establishment of charter schools.
In a Press Release a couple of days ago, Harawira delivered the same criticisms of the charter schools being,
direct attack on kura kaupapa Māori, and on public education generally.
Harawira argues that, while past governments have “starved kura kaupapa of funding“, they have been extremely successful. Yet the Maori Party are supporting NActUF in giving, “massive amounts of money on charter schools while kura get bugger all.” Harawira cites some of the damning evidence exposing the charter school right wing scam:
Massey University Professor of Education, John O’Neill, said that early indications are that charter schools will cost the taxpayer more than twice as much as state schools.
“It’s one thing for the rich white boys to give their mates all the lollies while laughing at the poor little Maori kids getting by on scraps … it’s another thing entirely when their Maori buddy is cheering them on.”
“The Maori Party should be ashamed for turning their backs on everything that kura kaupapa Maori stands for.” “Maori fought long and hard to get kohanga and then kura kaupapa because we knew that a commitment to the language, a commitment to whanau, and a commitment to kaupapa Maori were key elements in educational achievement for Maori students, and kura kaupapa have proven that to be the case time and time again.”
“Charter schools will have no accountability to whanau, no commitment to Maori language, no requirement for kaupapa Maori, no commitment to the Maori or NZ curriculum, no commitment to put registered teachers in front of kids, no accountability or transparency under the Official Information Act or the Ombudsmen Act – and they’re going to get more money than kura kaupapa ever got!”
“And without the oversight of the Auditor-General’s Office, they’re a scam waiting to happen” said Harawira, whose claims were backed up by Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu’s submission on the Education Amendment Bill which said that charter schools were highly susceptible to fraud, waste and abuse.
Other submissions raised the fact that the charter schools model has failed overseas, including that of Dr Bronwyn Hayward, political scientist and senior lecturer at the University of Canterbury. Dr Hayward said that the charter school model was “naive and reckless” and that “our children deserve better.” “Our kids all deserve the very best in education, not failed experiments from overseas.”
A couple of recent blog posts also expose the foreground the evidence against the government’s charter school policy:
Allan Alach, on the Daily Blog, in a post criticising the government’s key standardised test (STAR), ‘Sacrificing the most vulnerable children in our education system to a corporate cover-up?’, says this on the debate in the House on charter schools:
It didn’t take too long for National MPs to pull out this McKinsey & Co. report that I discussed in a previous blog. Bingo. There it is, out in the open, the proof that the education strings of this puppet government are being pulled from overseas.
The contrast between the National and ACT ideologues (noting that the Maori Party who hold the deciding votes, did not speak), and the well researched, well expressed speeches from the opposition parties was extreme. Dianne Khan outlines this very well in her blog ‘Cross party resistance to charter schools.’
Harawira’s above press release ends with this challenge to the Maori Party in anticipation of today’s Budget:
If the Budget does not show at least a 25% increase in funding for kura kaupapa, an extension of the Kotahitanga programme, and a reinstatement of the Manaaki Tauira programme to assist Maori students in tertiary education, then the Maori Party will have failed. And if they have, Peter Sharples should resign as Associate Minister of Education with responsibility for Maori Medium Education for his failure to grow or even protect the success of kura kaupapa Maori while supporting the failed charter school model.”
Harawira’s speech in the General Debate yesterday was a riveting piece of oratory, with the re-iterated theme “That’s what the fuss is all about”: recommended viewing.