Latest education stuffup quickest U-turn ever

Written By: - Date published: 10:12 pm, September 13th, 2012 - 37 comments
Categories: national, schools - Tags: , ,

Hot on the heels of the chaotic back-down over class sizes, I think we’ve just witnessed the quickest U-turn in the history of politics. In early coverage:

Thirteen Christchurch schools set to close

The Government is set to close 13 Canterbury schools and merge another 18 in an overhaul of the education sector in the area.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee and Education Minister Hekia Parata this afternoon announced a $1 billion suite of changes to education in Christchurch, Selwyn and Waimakariri.

It includes a proposal to close 13 schools in the greater Christchurch area affected by the February 22 earthquake. Another 18 schools will be involved in mergers. Ms Parata said the closures and mergers were part of an effort to deliver better services to Canterbury students.

Later that afternoon accounts were updated:

A misleading announcement by the Ministry of Education over the future of Christchurch schools has caused widespread confusion and anger.

Plans were announced this afternoon to close 13 schools across Canterbury and merge a further 18 in a major overhaul of the region’s education sector.

The plans included merging Shirley Boys’ High School with Christchurch Boys’ High and Avonside Girls’ High School with Christchurch Girls’ High School.

But in a startling about-face, the ministry later reneged on these plans, releasing a statement saying there were “no firm proposals to merge or close Christchurch high schools”.

Blaming a “misleading announcement” from the Ministry? That’s so transparent I could build myself a conservatory. According to the first piece this announcement was made by Brownlee and Parata. Parata is quoted to the effect that “the closures and mergers were part of an effort to deliver better services to Canterbury students”. Clearly a rationale for closures that were expected to occur. And now they’re trying to pretend it was an accident and blame some hapless official?

Not buying it. This has “Typical Nat Stuffup” written all over it in neon letters. Quickest U-turn ever.

Update:  And this morning it seems that closures and mergers are back on again. “Principals in tears as ministry swings axe”. Does anyone know what is going on?

37 comments on “Latest education stuffup quickest U-turn ever”

  1. Dv 1

    Brownlie is a CHC resident he should know a little about chch schools.

    BUT SURELY some one in the ministry MUST have noticed and said Hey what about….

    bizzare

  2. mike 2

    This is a bit weird. At face value it looks like clear evidence that NAct ministers have no clue about their own policies. That they are just reading whatever piece of paper their media puts in front of them.

    Gotta love the irony of this gleefully dropped in by the 3news article: “In the initial release from the ministry, Mr Brownlee said it was important the Government “[takes] the time to get this right”.”

  3. Dv 3

    >> NAct ministers have no clue about their own policies.

    Parata does not have a handle on the education portfolio. Witness to continuous parroting of lines, especially in the class size turn uturn.

    And the other problem is Langstone has no nz background, seems does not listen to her staff.

    IThat two strikes now.

  4. McFlock 4

    The pre-quake growing christchurch enrollment has only dropped by 3 or 4 thousand students ( 61194 in 2010, 57528 in 2011). 13 schools + significant decreases in rolls in a further 18? 
          
    The devil will be in the june 2012 enrollment levels, but this sounds like an ill-considered or at the very least “back of the envelope” idea. And doesn’t bode well for the government’s hopes for a ChCh recovery (but then if the govt were attacked by awareness of its own ability, it wouldn’t have much hope for the rest of NZ, either).

  5. Blue 6

    I recall reading something about frustrated Nats wanting to lash out by causing trouble. And now, two fuckups by Gerry in as many days. Seems he might be a little discontented.

    Parata is just a moron.

    • Dr Terry 6.1

      Blue, the terrible thing is that Parata is actually highly educated but still acts like a moron!

      • bbfloyd 6.1.1

        So how many over educated morons does that make sitting on nationals front bench doctor? ……

        It’s starting to look like we are being herded along the path to the cliff behind a very well maintained, and coiffed mob of sheep…..the sheepdogs being the actual owners of our sovereignty…. Corporate head office…..

      • higherstandard 6.1.2

        Being highly educated is no guarantee that one is not a buffoon.

        • gareth 6.1.2.1

          You can’t teach that most valuable of attributes… Common Sense…

          • NickS 6.1.2.1.1

            Actually you can, it’s called “critical thinking” 😛

            It’s just something that has to be hammered into students to apply it to things outside of their subject area as well. Otherwise people just compartmentalise, and you end up with highly educated people who talk total shit about science etc

            (fun = biochemistry major who thinks evolution is wrongzors, despite being exposed to all the messy details of biology)

            • McFlock 6.1.2.1.1.1

              reminds me of a chap next to me in a law lecture once – the lecturer was talking about the history of law and how it essentially a social construct, and the chap next to me wrote on his notes in block caps, triple underlined “what about god?!?!”. 
                       

  6. Gruntie 7

    Is NAct trying to Create a crisis which they can then “fix” with more charter schools?

  7. higherstandard 8

    Two oxygen thieves.

    nuf said

  8. Parata was on tv3 this morning saying that these closures are being considered
    accross the country, so all are regions and small towns should be worried.

  9. marsman 10

    I heard that Bill English dictates the Education Portfolio policies, go figure. Tolley and Parata are merely moronic puppets.

  10. Carol 11

    Unbelievable. Just listening on RNZ Nine-to-Noon to a head of a school with little quake damage, now earmarked for closure. Her story of the handling of the announcements and how she was informed, points to monumental mismanagement and disrespect for the heads and their schools. Clumsy, lack of information…. Parata’s head should roll!

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/20120914

  11. Rodel 12

    Don’t worry. That nice knight Sir John Key assisted by Sir Gerry will ride in on their white horses and fix the mess created by those silly people in the Ministry of Education and ensure the undying gratitude of the people of Christchurch.

  12. Rob A 13

    My kids primary school is one of those due to close, along with the next closest.

    I can’t understand the thinking here, they are both undamaged from the quakes and my kids school roll has gone up because we are on the lucky side of town. And we have subdivisions going in nearby shortly. I suspect it’s all about the land they are sitting on and the dollars they are worth. I wonder if King Gerry is getting his cut from the developers

    • Carol 13.1

      On Nine-to-noon, a spokeswoman for the Ministry admitted they are taking the opportunity to restructure the whole of Christchurch schools, allegedly with an eye to the long term future.

    • NickS 13.2

      There’s one primary school I’m not sad to see closed though, and that’s Hammersley.

      Despite having the main special needs centre for that part of Christchurch, the school had and by all accounts still has a shit attitude towards bullying.

  13. Dv 14

    One of the factors about the earthquakes is how the school sector worked together to get through some very difficult times.
    AND this is their thanks.

    No consultation and just dumped upon.

    IT IS JUST DISGRACEFUL.

    I wonder if it will stick?

  14. mike 15

    WTF! What a mess. The video in the ‘Update’ link in worth a watch. Shirley Boy’s principal doesn’t hold back with his ‘get a clue’ message.

    • ianmac 15.1

      On Nine to Noon Mckintyre Principal Boys High was very relaxed about the plans. He is confident about his survival and dismisses any possibility with a merger with Shirley Boys. He seemed very smoothed about the whole program. Sounded very approving and supportive of Parata and Ministry.

  15. Robert M 17

    Clearly if you don’t go to Christs, St Andrews, Rangi Ruru or St Mags you count for nothing with the Nats. English and Finnalyson were allowed to get there cheap Catholic revenge on the Christchurch protestants. During the 2002 campaign, Bill English was quoted in Christchurch as saying Christchurch was Auckland for beginners.’
    One conclusion would be that the Ministry of Education hate Parata even more than Tolley. I can’t believe even Ann Tolley would have been stupid enough to deliver this load of shit.
    Mallards reorganisation of Timaru and Invercargill schools seemed effectively designed to destroy the best schools and effectively took Clark’s government out of office, on massive regional backlashes. More than ironically it was my old TBHS schoolmates , now headmasters that Mallard seemed most keen to destroy.
    Even Parata seemed to realise after five minutes that the whole project seemingly designed to destroy elite public education in mostly white Christchurch was indefensible. How could Brownlie keep a straight face and MC this hatchet job on the better face of Christchurch . Both my Nephews got scholarships at Shirely Boys and went on to firsts in half the usual time at the University of Canterbury and doctorates at ANU and Melbourne. Both of course were the sons of a teenage DPB.

    • prism 17.1

      robert m
      Good one. Especially the teenage DPB triumph. And NACTs seem to want to run down Christchurch and its amenities like education for all despite all the hoo-ha over business. The city is it’s people, empty buildings without people might as well be a movie lot. There are quite a few NACTs from that part of the country, are they thinking of setting Christchurch up as their city, as an alternative city to Wellington that is run to the requirements of local farmers and property speculators/investors?

      And I was remembering Mallard showing little concern for pupils during his restructuring. There were also cut school bus routes and force kids to ride bikes along busy highways. Doesn’t either of the main parties care about the people they are supposed to be serving?

  16. prism 18

    An education spokesperson Pippi Bluestocking said this morning it was all a misunderstanding and some things that were proposals only were taken as firm proposals and some things that were firm proposals shouldn’t be considered as that now until there was a technical report. Or words to that effect.

    Have to give her a handclap though for a cool explanation and equilibrium remained throughout the questioning. Is there a school for this sort of behaviour? Polly Benefit has been to it too.

    I guess all the ‘aspirational’ people in Christchurch didn’t like the idea of the ‘classes’ being muddied. And indeed if some of those big schools got amalgamated they would turn into factory style learning needing conveyer belts to pass the thousands of students between destinations. To those attending some might get lost in the mass of people. Less human interaction.

    • Rodel 18.1

      Prism asks:
      ‘Is there a school for this sort of behaviour?’
      Yes. Its called Frank Luntz..and his focus groups….an odious spin-man for the Republicans.Google him. His book, ‘Words that Work’ explains all.

    • millsy 18.2

      And the kids at the bottom would be quietly pushed into junk courses so the NCEA grades look good…

  17. millsy 19

    An unintended concequence of Tomorrow’s Schools. While more power was given to schools, they were left at the mercy of a centralised Wellington bearaucracy that could close or merge them at will. The Mallard Axe during the mid 2000’s is a chilling reminder of that, with dozens of schools in the terrible purgatory that is the Treaty Settlement landbank, falling apart with help from the criminal element. (Mallard should think about the schools that the ministry of education have sold off a a result of this before shooting off his mouth about asset sales).

    Mallard’s Labour predecessors in the education portfolio, Russell Marshall, and of course one David Russell Lange conspired to dismantle the elected regional education boards, which enabled decisions about education to be made close to the communities that were affected by them (and also facilitated the dirty words of ‘collaboration’ and ‘co-operation’). That was a move that even arch-decentralist Allan Peachey (RIP) lamented in his public education manifesto.

    It must also be said, that while Labour closed dozens of schools under Mallard, National closed dozens of schools in poorer areas during the 1990’s, though that was more a result of them earlier starving them of funds and expertise (through the aforementioned dismantling of the education boards and the old Department of Education’s support services), it was then able to label them as ‘dysfunctional’, and then close them down.

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    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago

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